Stockton-Hales-Journey Log 3 Section 41, specialization: the ranger

Habit of mind being used: Responsibility

Apparently we all have a dark side; that's mainly why we are so attracted to horror movies and monster stories. After reading "Monsters and the Moral Imagination," and discussing monsters in class, I found that monsters can stand for our own fears and sense of morality. It never really occurred to me why I enjoy scary movies so much. I love being scared; it makes my adrenaline pump and it identifies with my vulnerabilities. For instance, the ones that terrify me the most are the ones that I know could actually happen such as movies about natural disasters or serial killers. I found it very intriguing to talk about why we actually crave horror.

Over the years we've created thousands of monster such as Frankenstein, Dracula, Gremlins, dragons, poltergeist, serial killers, and many more, but why did we create them? According to a writer, Patricia Donovan, we create monsters because they help us cope with what we dread most in life (Donovan, 2011). We touched briefly on this in class when discussing “Monsters and the Moral Imagination.” It was said that we put faces on our monsters so that we know how to fight them off. We don’t want to face a fear that we do not think we can beat. In researching reasons we create monsters, all of the articles said something about creating them to mask our own fears or creating them because they represent the darkest parts of humanity. According to Paul Trout, he suggests that we create monsters as sort of scapegoats for our own actions (Trout, 2011). This appeals to the habit of mind responsibility because it implies that we use monsters as a way to redirect our own dark side rather than facing the “bad” parts within us. We don’t want to believe that, as humans, we are capable of doing bad things. So instead of being responsible for our own actions and beliefs, we give all the darkness to monsters that we put into movies. We fail to recognize that we are the ones who are the monsters. In Stephen King’s “Why We Create Monsters,” he says that all of us are capable of doing terrible things (being monsters) and being mentally ill, but some of us are just better at hiding it than others. If we project our fears, vulnerabilities, and darkness onto monsters aren’t we just running away from who we really are? I suppose that that is better than giving into those things though. So we use monsters as a coping mechanism for our own lives. Is it reasonable to say that without creating monsters, we would succumb to our own dark side? Who knows what a world without the fictional monsters we create would look like. I’d like to think that the monsters we create scare us from becoming those monsters.

Another concept that we talked about in class was how popular songs are, more often than not, extremely vague in order to appeal to a bigger audience. I’ve always kind of known that I guess, but never really thought about it. When Shawn Mendes is saying he could treat me better than “he” can… who is he? He could be my ex, or your ex, or my friend’s ex. It applies to everyone. It’s crazy how fast the songs sell, but it makes sense. I’m not going to lie, I like them. Ever since class all I can ever think about is “wow, this song is so vague” or “damn, this is exactly what Chris was talking about.” I heard a country song in the car the other day and it reminded me of the Bo Burnham parody. One thing that goes a long with popular love songs is the overwhelming ideas about the “perfect” body image for girls. According to Jena Ardell, popular songs talk about having a “big booty” and a small waist, being curvy and also skinny, but all that they are doing is giving young females a negative view of themselves (Ardell, 2014). I think that as a society we are failing to encourage people and instead all we are doing is creating this concept of a “perfect” human because that is what sells. In an article by Anup Shah, it says that we have created a message everywhere of unrealistic expectations and if we do not meet them then there is something wrong with us (Shah, 2012). It’s easy to say that there is a problem with the perfect body image concept, but the problem is how are we going to fix it. It makes me wonder, how in the world did we get to a point where one type of body is what is the most beautiful. This doesn’t just apply to females either; males have come around to a certain body image being the acceptable and most attractive. As impressionable as the young mind is, I think that we have to start there. All body types are beautiful in their own ways, why isn’t that enough for us. We discussed that media and music portrays vague language about people because it appeals to a larger audience, but why is the opposite true when it comes to body image? Instead of broadening the scope for body image, we have narrowed it down to a specific “perfect” image of how everyone should look. Researching into body image concepts and popular music was actually kind of saddening. Everything that is popular pretty much talks around one message that we as people need to fit under a certain category in order to be normal. But we’re all made differently, so why are we all forced to be restricted by the same definitions?

Work Cited

Ardell, Jena. “Top 8 Skinny Shaming Songs.” OC News Weekly. Ocweekly.com. 28 October 2014. Found at http://www.ocweekly.com/music/top-8-skinny-shaming-songs-6598747

Donovan, Patricia. “Why We Create Monsters.” The University of Buffalo. Buffalo.edu. 27 October 2011. Found at http://www.buffalo.edu/ubreporter/archive/2011_10_27/monster_culture.html

Shah, Anup. “Media and Advertising.” Globalissues.org. 04 March 2012. Found at http://www.globalissues.org/article/160/media-and-advertising

Trout, Paul. “Why We Invented Monsters.” Salon Media Group Inc. salon.com. 03 December 2011. Found at http://www.salon.com/2011/12/03/the_evolution_of_monsters/

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