Of Monsters and Men

After a long steady cultural trend toward pretending monsters don’t exist, or if they do they’re just like us and it’s totally cool to be a monster, resistance is forming.

There is a new appreciation for the old fables and fairy tales about monstrous creatures and the dangers they pose to society.

This is a necessary re-centering, but it’s also coming on a bit fast and furious and carries with it the seeds of evil deeds.

Witch hunts, inquisitions, and even genocide are the unbridled versions of monster-awareness. From these, no one is safe. Even the least monstrous can be otherized into monsters in the minds of those mad with monster-hunting mania.

The solution is not to call the ugly beautiful, act as if dark forests pose no danger, or pretend the fringe is the center. The solution is to be firmly and clearly aware of the danger of monsters out there and aware of the monstrous forms lurking in your own heart.

The monster in you thirsts for blood and violence. It takes delight in harsh and brutal punishment. It begins with just enough to make you think it’s justice, but its appetite for vengeance only grows and the objects of its rage expand until no one is safe.

The monster in you uses the hunt for external monsters as its bait, to lure you into a never-ending hate-filled hunt for weirdos, which quickly becomes anyone not just like you.

After seeing several light-hearted Tweets about how monstrous various people were, and how the old days of facing off against monsters might be needed, I felt something sinister slowly at work. The good thread in here – re-recognition of the real danger of monsters – was interwoven with a monster in disguise. Like Dracula donned the cloak of the townspeople and led the charge against what they thought was him but was really one of his vitcims.

I summed up my sentiment in a Tweet:

This is a trend very much worth keeping an eye on. I have to temper myself often when my hackles get raised over encounters (almost never firsthand, but mediated through biased filters via screens) with monsters.

I do not deny the threat of monsters. But I am attempting to start by recognizing the biggest threat is within. Tame that one, avoid the rest, redeem when possible, only fight when absolutely necessary.

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