Suppose if I told you there was a box that you could put all your most harmful and scary feelings into, and every time you felt like the weight of these feelings were too much to bear. The box is where you put all these dark emotions that would scare strangers, even people you love enough that they’d be concerned. But every time you put these feelings into the box, you gently put it away where it cannot hurt anyone, not in any meaningful way where they’d drive you insane enough to murder somebody with a chainsaw like Leatherface or with a machete like Jason.
And when you need the box again, you empty your most terrifying feelings into it, putting it away again where nobody can be harmed by it, and each time you do, all thoughts of slaughtering your mean boss or even your family that doesn’t understand the pain you’re going through such as a dismal depression simply fade away into the box, and they’re not inside you anymore. Because you put them away. Where they belong.
That is why we enjoy the horror genre. It is the box where our darkest, scariest emotions, our worst fears and disturbed hates get put into, and we put it away because we don’t need to feel these awful things twenty four hours a day. It is in the box such feelings belong, and it is why people who don’t keep their scary, dark feelings in the box are regarded as madmen.
There are times when you’re searching for clips from The Big Lebowski or something to respond to something online… they’re easy enough to find even though YouTube takes down clips from The Simpsons and such due to copyright infringement.
But whether it’s through hamfisted application of copyright law or just plain obscurity, sometimes there are no clips. How can one express how they feel a rarely discussed emotion like “Krusty the Clown Jewish Entertainer Sigh” if there’s no clips of that on YouTube to express the inexpressible, as My Dinner With Andre tried to.
Or you’re looking for a character clip from an anime you like, but nobody likes the same moment that touched your soul as to how it says exactly how you feel… either by copyright crook or just being overlooked? For this reason I’ll never be able to explain why Kaorin’s first encounter with Sakaki in Azumanga Daioh expresses perfectly how I feel when trying to befriend or date cool people. Sigh.
Sometimes, the emotion is so linked to how some cult movie explained it in twenty seconds better than you could have in six thousand words… but nobody will ever know of your pain because there are no clips to express how you feel to a world unfamiliar with the emotions that Top 40 radio pop songs have yet to discuss, and yet there’s a dearth of original radio hits about how your love for a now destroyed nostalgic site in time is like the ending of Cannibal Holocaust where the people who did bad stuff had it end badly for them in real life.
There’s just no clips, sometimes, for the emotions that are either too obscure for people to notice or are suppressed by an MPAA or RIAA who would stamp out the entire spectrum of thoughts and feelings to own the last American Dollar left in existence, not allowing us to feel how we really feel and leaving us to settle for worn out cliche feelings that are nothing like our real experiences at all in our media.
There’s no clips for how we feel sometimes, but there should be.
Many a day looms in the early hours of the morning when I ask myself, “How do I justify MY thug, Jay-Z?” - but more often comes the doubt that I am nothing more than an emotional wreck whose thoughts are filled with rage, death and hatred.
Hatred of politicians who barely represent their people, hatred of corporations who want to sell their customers something while hating them with the intensity that Batman hates rock and roll with. This is hardly a healthy outlook to see the world with.
I sat down with my sad brain and had a serious chat. We had much to discuss.
ME: Why are you sad all the time? It puts the happy on the mind or it gets the hose again!
BRAIN: Screw you, rest of me. You don’t know what it feels like to be a constantly depressed brain. You probably didn’t even notice I was in agony, it’s like that frog in a boiling water pot story. If the frog is dropped in hot water it jumps out, but if it doesn’t notice the water is boiling around it it just sits there, not knowing death and pain awaits it.
ME: Why do you say that?
BRAIN: You’ve been assaulting me with horrendous imagery from the day you graduated high school. After you saw that artist perv dude’s dildo shoes in Photomedia class nothing seemed to shock you ever again, but you had to make me see Cannibal Holocaust more than twice, once while eating raw noodles and peanut butter on it as an “angst sandwich” as you called it - you had to subject me to the worst excesses of New Wave Surrealism because after Oancitizen reviewed this stuff on Brows Held High… well, it was only a matter of time, wasn’t it?
Worst of all, I’m so sad most of the time because you don’t point me in the direction of other human brains with your body which is situated around bodies that contain brains if not like me, then very similar in biological structure.
You have forgotten to be happy because you assumed there was no happiness to be found. You’re a dick to me, rest of my biological self. You’re a dick to me because you feel nobody loves you and you’re confusing your love of the things you actually like with hatred of your political enemies, who by the way seem to fail at their evil schemes to ruin the internet because of obsessive, relentless haters such as yourself.
But you were never a hater, Me. You simply confused your intense passionate love of the things that kept you sane with the intense hatred of humanity’s worst world leaders you thought you had because you couldn’t get laid so you tried to save the world from politicians who have done nothing to deserve such scorn from your very existence, and corporations who admittedly deserve every ounce of cynicism you have, given what little you actually can produce naturally.
ME: Verily, you have described my emotional complex to the letter. Perhaps I will delight you with some hilarious Kate Beaton comics as payment for this bold diagnosis.
BRAIN: I’d be delighted, I’m sure. You’re not even misanthropic, Me. You couldn’t be if you tried. You simply forgot that your potential for happiness was even there, because you didn’t sleep for five years, knocked your body clock out of whack, and let’s not even begin to discuss your hikikomori phase again, we’d be here all night with my grievances.
ME: A more accurate, if biting portrait of myself couldn’t have been written up by a greater master craftsman. How do you know me so well?
BRAIN: I am you, in a sense. Of course Descartes would argue differently, depending on how one reads his brain. I know all your thoughts for I am where all your thoughts end up. And I’m not pleased about the heinous black miasma you’ve been sending me lately. It makes me want to wretch.
ME: Oh Brain, you’re the best cerebellum ever. Let’s never fight again.
BRAIN: Of course we’ll fight again. What the bloody hell do you think Free Will even is?
There’s this movie you’ve probably heard of, even if you never saw it, called Ichi The Killer. It’s directed by Takashi Miike, but if you haven’t seen it, essentially Ichi cries mythic tears before he slaughters his enemies in battle.
For this reason I have wanted to suggest that sadness and sorrow should not be measured in tears but in depth of feeling. Tears are not a decent measure of grief felt over a dead celebrity if our good friend Ichi mentioned above uses tears as a precursor to hateful vengeance.
But more practically, an autistic like me cannot be expected to produce the amount of tears society requires as a signal of mourning, as we autistics feel within ourselves the mourning of a loss compared to neurotypicals more able to express their tears on the outside.
The celebrity death has turned into a public crying contest versus the personal, spiritual event it once was. Moebius died today, and while this is sad I feel that though I loved the one comic book of his I read, The Incal, I feel unqualified to weep over his demise rather than Dio’s death from stomach cancer or Osamu Tezuka’s death from the same disease.
I think it is perfectly okay for a man or woman to be sad somebody died even if they were an artist they only knew from on great work or great song they loved very much. I never listened to Whitney Houston my whole life but because I heard I Will Always Love You lots while growing up and liked it, my empathy for her regardless of her death’s scandal is human enough to count.
It is just like how teens get ragged on for wearing T-Shirts of old rock bands they like because the original fan base think they are insincere and bought their lifestyle at Hot Topic. I rather think that if society expects me to weep insincere bawlings over a celebrity I literally knew nothing about, hell hasn’t earned my tears.
Those kids wearing Sex Pistols shirts they bought at Hot Topic because Hot Topic are the only place they can buy Sex Pistols shirts may be young and naive about punk’s DIY ethos, but the sincerity of teenagers about stuff cannot be denied if it is truly there.
I once bought a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles T-shirt at a Jay Jays mall shop because nowhere else sold a TMNT shirt with the original comics creators designs on it, Eastman and Laird’s names proudly emblazoned there. I don’t feel like a sham who buys his lifestyle over the counter when I wear it.
I feel instead very aware of who Eastman and Laird are despite me not being part of their original target audience when I wear this shirt, and when asked who they are when seen wearing it I happily explain without pretension. I doubt the kids who buy retro things over the counter just do it to look cool, a lot of the time I’m convinced they’re just as into old school Star Wars art as George Lucas was and don’t feel they’re buying a lifestyle so much as supporting pop cultural art they enjoy and want to see continue into the future.
And my love of Ronnie James Dio came from a legitimate place, even if it was only from a well used The Very Beast Of Dio CD the emotional connection I had to the songs on there made me more devvo that he died than my classmates could understand - or would ever know.
That’s why I think young people who legitimately feel bummed an artist they love dies have every right to Tweet their loss, and that people who didn’t know who the deceased person was and feels weird that all these people know more grief over this than they brought to the table are allowed to share genuine empathy for their fanboy/girl bereaved friends instead of feeling they have to fake it to fit in.
People like Dio and Moebius and Whitney don’t need the wrong people crying over ‘em out of perceived obligation - and I have no doubt Dio’s never hurting for millions of fans still alive who miss him, Moebius and Whitney and Michael Jackson will never want for the love of the living who hope they’re okay out there.
Even the Stones had Sympathy For The Devil, no matter who ends up dead, never worry that not enough people cry when even one lost soul missing you is enough.