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Real Horror: Also At the Movies

Discussion in 'Open Chat' started by RonPrice, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. RonPrice

    RonPrice Mr. RonPrice

    Oct 17, 2008
    George Town Tasmania Australia

    The full implementation of the Plan began in 1937....The first stage of that enterprise, which had been held in abeyance for well nigh twenty years, while the administrative institutions were taking shape and were being perfected.-In the Introduction to the Tablets of the Divine Plan, USA, 1977, p.xi.

    In the first twenty-five years in which the Tablets of the Divine Plan were being implemented(1919-1944) the soil of human existence was indeed, as ‘Abd’ul-Baha said, quoting the Qur’an, “black and dried”. The world saw a slaughter of human life, from 1914 to 1944, that far exceeded anything it had ever known. It was on this soil that “heavenly outpourings” descended and “the radiant effulgences” appeared.-Ron Price with quotations from the first tablet in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, written in March 1916, several months before the great battles of the Somme, Verdun and Flanders that killed many millions in WWI.

    When the International Teaching Plan
    got going Stalin was mowing them
    down by the millions, and Hitler was
    getting ready to do the same amidst
    utopian promises, vicious, unimaginable
    horrors from Sakhalin to Sheffield and a
    bath of blood and bones, an insanity of
    undreamt proportions. The Administrative
    Order was taking its first shaping, unobtrusively,
    over two decades of political maneuvering,
    temple building and the taking of theory into
    fact. The spiritual conquest of the Western
    hemisphere proceeded surrounded by an
    orgy of violence as the first century closed.1

    Ron Price
    17 October 1997

    1 the first century of Baha’i history: 1844-1944.
  2. RonPrice

    RonPrice Mr. RonPrice

    Oct 17, 2008
    George Town Tasmania Australia
  3. RonPrice

    RonPrice Mr. RonPrice

    Oct 17, 2008
    George Town Tasmania Australia
    Another type of horror......

    Vicarious Solutions to Social Problems

    Section 1:

    Between 1983 and 1985 serial murder became one of the most intensely debated issues in the US media, both in serious news outlets and in popular culture. The result was a general panic in the USA in relation to serial killers. At the time I was living in a remote backwater of Australia, in the small town of Katherine, 3 hours by car south of Darwin, about as far as possible from this American social panic and still be on the surface of the Earth.

    Part of the essence of serial crime was, and still is, that the offender has a cooling-off period between acts, a chance to stop and think, and yet returns to commit evil once again. Augmenting the horror of the individual crimes are the attributes of delay, repeated premeditation, and compulsivity. Though the killer cools down between crimes, he never really has the option of desisting. I use the pronoun he intentionally because in addition to the fact of repetition, the serial concept also contains a whole demographic profile for both offenders and victims, a package of ideas that could back then ultimately be traced to the FBI's Behavioural Science Unit, the BSU.

    As a student and then a teacher of behavioural studies from the 1960s to the 2000s I came to take an interest in this subject after I retired from a 40 year working life in 1999. But in the early 1980s, I was working some 60 to 70 hours a week as an adult educator. I was a father of three and a husband in addition to having many community responsibilities as the secretary of the local Baha’i community. I did not keep abreast of the events in the media at the time. I knew nothing about serial killers, although I could have told you a little about the famous Jack-the-Ripper. These killers were viewed as predators, metaphorically as wolves, preying on weaker human beings. These victims were the "silent lambs" commemorated in Thomas Harris' celebrated book, and the even more influential 1991 film: Hannibal Lector.

    Section 2:

    The popular magazine Psychology Today asserted that "in an increasingly large number of stranger homicides, the killer seems driven to murder not by some rational reason but by a serious psychological disorder.” A whole new officially-inspired mythology of the serial murder came to emphasize that the monstrous behavior was distinctive to a time and place, that it had never really occurred before the late 1970s, and that it was extremely rare outside the United States.

    In reality, though, multiple homicides have been the prerogative of no particular society; serial murder has always existed in the United States, and has often been the subject of extensive writing and debate. It is also a highly infrequent phenomenon, accounting for only one or two per cent of all homicides—nothing like a quarter as the popular mythology was telling the media when I was living in the Australian outback.

    From the late 1970s moralist campaigns emphasized threats to children and women. They were presented as the victims of lascivious hedonistic males who pursued an anything goes hedonism to an unacceptable logical conclusion. Hedonistic America had become a society of wolves and lambs: such was the popular view. By about 1984, American media and popular culture were more dominated by scare stories about lethal dangerous outsiders than perhaps at any other time in the nation's history. Serial killers joined drug-lords, molesters and Satanists in the popular demonology.

    Section 3:

    By the first decade of the third millennium I had retired from the world of jobs. I have watched many a who-dun-it in the years 2000 to 2012; serial killers have been all the rage. For an extended analysis of the compulsive and addictive, obsessional and driven, irrational and rootless, lustful and violent, individual, sexual, and repetitive aspects of serial killers go to Philip Jenkins, “Catch Me Before I Kill More: Seriality as Modern Monstrosity,” Cultural Analysis, Volume 3, 2002.

    The opposite of serial killing is control
    in self and society. The more luridly &
    improbably we portray serial murder,
    rape, or molestation, the more we are
    exalting the need for control, restraint,
    and authority. Packages of ideas about
    serial killings are deeply conservative, &
    we are given lots of law-order messages.

    A serial killer is a monster, a word that
    in its origins suggests not just something
    that is threatening, but a something to put
    on display; & observers are meant to draw
    negative messages---that the times are evil
    and that we suffer from supernatural forces
    or, in secular terms, something has gone very
    wrong with our society. A monster warns us
    that we must set things right and the exact
    nature of the monstrosity is a lesson in how
    we must rectify behaviour, and our society.

    We must be what the monster is not, and if
    monters exemplify a seriality we must exercise
    choice & control. We must respect those forces
    when they are imposed upon us. Concern for
    serial killers peaked between 1983 and 1994.

    Since then scholars have paid less attention to
    this phenomenon, the uniquely perverse culture
    of celebrity..But outside the scholarly work
    devoted to this issue, some of the shrewdest
    comments are to be found in Oliver Stone's
    1994 film Natural Born Killers----in which
    serial murder becomes a symbol of a moral
    pollution. Stone gave us his fictional pair of
    killers: Micky and Mallory and our fascination
    indicated the extent to which a vulgar popular
    culture had saturated American life-----at once
    shaping the deeds of those violently perverted,
    while also simultaneously preventing masses of
    the population from viewing these acts only as a
    form of entertainment for an evening of escape.

    And media irresponsibility produced memorable
    images of young aficionados comparing the current
    superstars with the demigods from yesteryear. Only
    Charles Manson, it seems, had anything like any of
    the charisma of Micky and Mallory who were "way
    cooler." In this context, we recall the claim made by
    investigator Robert Ressler who said that he coined
    the term serial murder about 1976 on the analogy of
    the movie "serials" he had enjoyed as a child, dramatic
    stories of crime and pursuit. I believe that his claim is
    incorrect, since the term does appear before his time,
    but his idea is fascinating because it locates the origin
    of a serial murder for us who are students of the genre.

    The irony of all this is that the popular construction of
    serial murder has involved the characteristics that are
    identified as building blocks of the mythology of this
    seriality itself. As we see the constant creation and the
    recycling of media accounts, the proliferation of texts
    and images, above all the endless repetition of claims,
    it is difficult not to describe this process as compulsive,
    irresistible, obsessive, and lacking any natural ending.

    To be repeated again on another who-dun-it for the
    prurient interest and entertainment of the masses who
    vicariously solve the problems of society on television.

    Stereotypically, seriality in its worst sense, no matter how
    parlous the offenses described, is always presented in terms
    of prurient sexuality, of the vulnerability of lovely victims.

    Ron Price
    29/5/’12 to 30/9/'13.

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