Phi Beta Cons

Horror as Stimulant

A recent newspaper article discusses recent scholarship on horror films, how they have grown more graphic, and what is their appeal to audiences. A new peer-reviewed journal, Horror Studies, started last year.

One theory not mentioned, because it wouldn’t suit left-liberal insistence that much of America teeters on poverty, desperation, and despair, is that life has actually grown too comfortable in our country, up and down the social ladder. Challenges are few, and people have a lot of time on their hands. They seek increasing levels of horror, violence, profanity, obscenity, and other kinds of extremism in entertainment in order to feel alive. Another aspect is that political correctness has drained daily life of much of its excitement. I don’t necessarily mean with regard to enforced attitudes toward minorities and women, although that is part of it. But even more, modern relativism means strong views and opinions have to be suppressed, because they are seen as coercive to those who don’t have them. Everything must be shrugged off as “no problem,” and each person’s views must be given equal weight and polite deference. Lively conversation and real debate is squelched. Some of it is permitted on television, but even there, it has to be conducted within certain perimeters, often with “both sides” given equal weight, and things are seldom really wrestled to the nub in a satisfying way. The idea that there is no truth, only points of view, has to be enforced at every turn.

This is deadening, and so people seek to feel life in other ways, grotesque entertainment being one of them.  

Most Popular

Elections

Trump’s Disgraceful Gambit

The Rudy Giuliani–led press conference at the RNC yesterday was the most outlandish and irresponsible performance ever by a group of lawyers representing a president of the United States. If Giuliani’s charge of a “national conspiracy” to produce fraudulent votes in Democratic cities around the country ... Read More
Elections

Trump’s Disgraceful Gambit

The Rudy Giuliani–led press conference at the RNC yesterday was the most outlandish and irresponsible performance ever by a group of lawyers representing a president of the United States. If Giuliani’s charge of a “national conspiracy” to produce fraudulent votes in Democratic cities around the country ... Read More
Elections

Election 2020’s Endgame

Today on the menu: States are certifying their votes, and Trump's legal team is in turmoil. The 2020 Election Starts to Wind Down Michigan and Pennsylvania are set to certify their election results today, and Nevada is scheduled to do the same tomorrow. Saturday night, U.S. district judge Matthew W. ... Read More
Elections

Election 2020’s Endgame

Today on the menu: States are certifying their votes, and Trump's legal team is in turmoil. The 2020 Election Starts to Wind Down Michigan and Pennsylvania are set to certify their election results today, and Nevada is scheduled to do the same tomorrow. Saturday night, U.S. district judge Matthew W. ... Read More
Elections

System over Policy, Nation over Faction

One of the more insidious things about President Trump is the way he acts as a kind of gravitational distortion in our political-moral space. His combination of self-serving unscrupulousness and weaponized charisma adds ethical weight to the decisions of more ordinary politicians and pundits. Political ... Read More
Elections

System over Policy, Nation over Faction

One of the more insidious things about President Trump is the way he acts as a kind of gravitational distortion in our political-moral space. His combination of self-serving unscrupulousness and weaponized charisma adds ethical weight to the decisions of more ordinary politicians and pundits. Political ... Read More
Politics & Policy

‘The Dumbest Coup’

Noah Rothman’s excellent piece in Commentary, “The Dumbest of Coups,” deserves to be widely read. I’ve been writing about conspiracy theories for a while now — QAnon, the Flat-Earth gang, etc. — and one of the things you quickly learn about conspiracy theories is that every conspiracy theory is, ... Read More
Politics & Policy

‘The Dumbest Coup’

Noah Rothman’s excellent piece in Commentary, “The Dumbest of Coups,” deserves to be widely read. I’ve been writing about conspiracy theories for a while now — QAnon, the Flat-Earth gang, etc. — and one of the things you quickly learn about conspiracy theories is that every conspiracy theory is, ... Read More