The Monster Mash
Not only do I love this post, I especially love that your pet peeve/righteous anger about dinosaurs aka dragons is so obviously very real!
The smile was much appreciated, because unfortunately the answer to this is a resounding yes:
"Don’t you feel it?
The sudden and energetic sharpening of blades? Two battle lines hardening into steel, and the rapidly fading hope of surviving in between them?"
Hi Mark! You know what weirds me out? When it occurs to me I haven't heard anything from this stack in a long time and I go and check to see if I've missed something, and no, still quiet. Then the very next day you deliver a nice long letter. Happened that way last time, too.
1) Nina Paley's art: I cannot look at it, don't know why, but MUST scroll it out of view asap. Weird, because lots of people love her stuff.
2) My husband is a scientist, I am an artist (the painting kind). We get along fine. Theory too broad. BUT he thinks my love of Jesus and Bible reading is a little off. God will bring him around but he's hanging on to his materialism for dear life.
3) check out Job 41: description of Leviathan. Doesn't that sound very dragon like? And the last verse: "he is king over all the children of pride". Just like a dragon, as Satan is called in Revelation.
4) my dad used to say "think too much about demons, attract demons". Fortunately, I have been given the Holy Spirit (praise God!), but I really don't enjoy them lurking about and trying to get at me. Something about Paley's art brings his caution to mind every time I see it. As does any AI generated art, as does the work of Cesar Santos who is ridiculously talented, got bored, and is (I suspect) now caught by the machine/powers/principalities. Check him out on IG and see if his things creep you out.
5) Yes, almost everyone is uneasy at this point. Isn't it interesting we were born to live in this time? There are no accidents with God. He knows the plan. Hang on! (And for anyone who reads this comment: if you don't know Jesus, find Him now! You might not have the time you think you do!)
6) glad you and family have weathered your difficulty! Don't forget to be praying. It's our most potent weapon against monsters!!
I've spent a silly amount of time thinking about orcs, and what makes them such good foot soldiers for Sauron. If they're just green-skinned dudes with a taste for meat, then they're no more evil than lions - dangerous, but not monstrous.
It seems to me that for orcs to be monsters, they have to have been perverted away from their original forms, to such an extent that their inherent vision of the Divine is blocked out. That's what makes them monstrous - they're the end result of a blasphemous process, and this is why they're cruel and maniacal.
And this makes me think, because I'm reading "Methland" by Nick Reding, of meth addicts: Their Satanic hallucinations, their wild energy, their descent into ugliness, their penchant for murder and child abuse, the way the drug literally burns out their brains. I could reasonably say, meth makes orcs.
And while I wouldn't describe fentanyl addicts as monstrous, it's clear when I see video of the streets of San Francisco that something monstrous is afoot. Or consider the maniacal insistence on sex change operations for kids: what is the source of this? There are those who stand to profit, yes, but where does the -fury- come from?
You surely have noticed that generative AI (well at least the free versions -- I'm unwilling to pay for this service) cannot draw human hands. They always look gnarly, chirally misplaced, or otherwise malformed. The resulting figures trigger the uncanny valley response and consequently seem monstrous.
I am reminded of how demons are, by lore, prohibited from taking on a fully, exactly human form. They must always display some deviation that has the potential of revealing their true nature.
There is a lesson somewhere in the juxtaposition of these two observations.
I've been really looking forward to the continuation of this series; it was one of the first things I found on this site, and definitely one of my biggest inspirations to start writing myself (even though my topics are considerably more mundane). Hopefully things continue to improve in your personal life, as well.
That being said, I feel like a lot of what's considered "sacrosanct" science can always be rebuffed with a simple phrase - "But what if it wasn't?" Or some permutation of them.
"Dragons weren't real." = "But what if they were?"
"That can't exist." = "But what if it could?"
"That's impossible!" = "But what if it was?"
I find that truly scientific minded people rarely, or at least hesitantly, speak in absolutes, but those guys are usually so far removed from the public eye or just amateurs in their field that most people aren't exposed to them. The most vocal members of the scientific community are always the mid-wits who are too self-unaware to understand that absolutes are just... well, silly, frankly. The best professor I ever had was of astrology, and he was always quick to remind the students that everything he was teaching was strictly theory and nothing was set in stone or impossible. This is all to say... yes, it's pretty foolish to claim that dragons were not and can never be real. Or that there can't be some sort of force that totally warps logic and bends the laws of reality in some way that could make "impossible" things very possible.
So, can horror and comedy be two sides of the same coin? Much of what you wrote sounds like it could be Monty Python. John Cleese once said that absurdity is a key to their humor. Absurdity is key to the horror that you describe, too.
Clowns seem to fit the bill as well.
> The causes of the rapid extinction of the Dinosaur remain mysterious; the species had
evolved and grown throughout the Triassic and the Jurassic, and for 150 million years
the Dinosaur had been the undisputed master of the continents. Perhaps the species was
unable to adapt to the great changes of climate and vegetation which took place in the
Cretaceous period. By its end all the Dinosaurs were dead.
> All except me, — Qfvfq corrected, — because, for a certain period, I was also a
Dinosaur: about fifty million years, I'd say, and I don't regret it; if you were a Dinosaur in
those days, you were sure you were in the right, and you made everyone look up to you.
> Since then I had leamed many things, and above all the way in which Dinosaurs
conquer. First I had believed that disappearing had been, for my brothers, the
magnanimous acceptance of a defeat; now I knew that the more the Dinosaurs disappear,
the more they extend their dominion, and over forests far more vast than those that cover
the continents: in the labyrinth of the survivors' thoughts. From the semidarkness of fears
and doubts of now ignorant generations, the Dinosaurs continued to extend their necks, to
raise their taloned hoofs, and when the last shadow of their image had been erased, their
name went on, superimposed on all meanings, perpetuating their presence in relations
among living beings. Now, when the name too had been erased, they would become one
thing with the mute and anonymous molds of thought, through which thoughts take on
form and substance: by the New Ones, and by those who would come after the New
Ones, and those who would come even after them.
Full (approximately 10-page) story here:
Welcome back! Are you aware of Michael Levin's work? He is creating monsters and chimeras in his lab https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XheAMrS8Q1c
I kept checking in to see if I missed anything new. After awhile, I decided it there was nothing posted or no explanation after two months, I would cancel my paid subscription.
But then....two months passed and I did not.....
Glad to see you back.
God bless you. welcome back to this messy fight for truth and knowledge
Great read and prayers for you and your family. I hope the future is better! And my answer is also yes. I feel it every day now.
Wow. Knocked it out of the (jurassic) park, Mark. Can't wait for pt.2. You inspire me to imagine what AI would do with a 3D printer loaded with GoF DNA and an instruction set for 'monster' in the manner of Dr Moreau and non-binary trans humanoid with lethal capability.
At the ripe age of 7, I saw something in the very new, suburban backyard of our home in Perth, Western Australia that I've never forgotten. I was with a neighbor friend and we were doing whatever 7-year old kids did back in the 1960's.
At one point, I saw something black-ish laying on the top horizontal fence support that ran the length of the backyard. (Corrugated asbestos!) When I got close, I could see whatever it was had folded wings and appeared to be sleeping in the noon light. I was about to poke it with a stick (note: even at 7 years, one learns to poke things in the wild bushlands of Western Australia with a STICK or one doesn't live long enough to learn) when the thing woke up and wow, hovered there in the air just in front of me.
All I can remember of its features were that it was a VERY deep black - inky black, like that of some bats. This creature however, was not a bat and its wings beat very quickly. About the size of a bird, it had a small, snake-like sloped head and a forked tongue shot out from its mouth. It made an audible HISS as it faced off with me. When my neighbor friend who was standing to my left moved, it rotated in place for a moment to face him, then turned back to face me and took off, flying over the fence and downward.
We both climbed the fence to look for it, but the voice of my Dad calling me to stop froze me in place.
I explained what I'd seen to him and all I remember him saying was that it must have been a hallucination. Now, young kids do have daytime hallucinations, but I've never heard of healthy kids having midday hallucinations, much less two kids having the same hallucination at the same time.
I've mentioned this in the distant past, and was told I'd come across a frilled-neck lizard. Nope, while there are some similarities with what I remember, notably the neck area, this thing was pitch black and had wings that it used to hover about 18 inches from my face in midair.
Someday, when I go before God, I think I'm going to ask Him just WHAT did I see. Until then, I'll just say that's what I saw and leave it at that.
You know damn well that I feel it, I have felt it, and I will fight the fucking fuckers until they return to entropy, a frozen state of nothingness. ("Back to your falling, Lucifer, you've got a long way to go into the abyss that you machinated.")
Glad you are back!
Bravo, as always good sir.