Archive for the Literature Category

I Need to Remind Everyone that Gothic Fiction is Badass

Posted in Literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

Man, I sure haven’t been keeping my promise to update once weekly, but, as anyone who has ever called themselves my significant other knows all too well, I take my own promises about as seriously as I do Insane Clown Posse– that is to say, not very seriously at all. I break my solemn word like Crash Bandicoot broke crates, or like e.e. cummings broke from conventions regarding the composition of poetry. Nevertheless, I continue to update OMGABAT sufficiently frequently that the last time I did so might be said to have been ‘a week ago’ for convenience in a colloquial context, so I’m content. Purport that I’m rationalizing my irresponsibility if you so wish, but I’m content.

In this post, I’d like to address a disconcerting tendency I’ve perceived in individuals of an age roughly equal to my own, namely a liability to believe that Gothic Fiction is ‘lame’, ‘shit’, ‘lame shit’, or of some other, similar nature that renders the genre unworthy of attention. What misguided individual originated this at once horrifying and laughable idea I cannot guess, though I suspect Chuck Palahniuk on the grounds that the besmirchment of quality literature and the advancement of its opposite is in his interest, that information is irrelevant, for this mysterious propagandist and his disciples have no evidence in which to ground their slander, whereas I am prepared to weave a virtually impregnable defense of overwrought Victorian melodramas.     

If you’re a regular reader of OMGABAT, or have happened to notice that more of my posts fall into the category titled ‘Dracula’ than do into that titled ‘Music’, you may be anticipating the mention of a certain work of Bram Stoker’s, but indeed in this you are mistaken, as the tirade into which I am about to boldly forge concerns an entirely different macabre tale of ancient, decaying edifices and dead who yet tread the earth, one which, unlike the forementioned vampire yarn, never spawned a decent movie– Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. 

I hear you scoff even as I write this, youth of today. “Have you finally forfeited every iota of reason you once possessed?” You’d ask, perhaps not so eloquently, “surely this 19th century romance cannot contend with the work of edgy Gen X scribes and their terse musings on such provocative subjects as booze, drugs, and whores?” In response to this challenge, I turn your attention to Chapter 13 of the book in question, constituted by Isabella’s letter to Nelly Dean imploring to be rescued from the tyranny of marriage to Heathcliff. An exchange between Isabella and Heathcliff’s adoptive brother Hindley, in which the latter articulates his desire to see Heathcliff killed, proceeds as follows:

‘Look here!’ he replied, pulling from his waistcoat a curiously- constructed pistol, having a double-edged spring knife attached to the barrel.

This book features a handgun with a knife on top of the barrel. This isn’t a musket or any sort of firearm for which a bayonet might be an appropriate accoutrement, it’s a pistol, secured to which is a knife that I imagine is at least as large as it is itself. A knife-gun, or a gun-knife if you prefer. Can a mortal intelligence conceive of a more badass machine?  “I know what you’re thinking, punk. Did I fire six shots, or only five? Doesn’t fucking matter, I’m going to cut your throat open!” Though her imagination was tempered by the level of technology extant during her lifetime, Bronte prefigured this: 

Moreover, while I doubt Mr. Palahniuk could hold his own in a Fight Club, Emily Bronte, having lived during a turbulent age in an area frequently beset by riots, was a fucking sharpshooter, and was more than capable, should the need arise, of knifegunning a foe into oblivion. My befuddlement as to why I can’t find a hard-boiled gunslinging poetess with whom to settle down is a diatribe for another day.

Perhaps I’ll fortify my argument with examples drawn from other staples of the Gothic genre at a later date, but, in the meanwhile, I challenge all who remain unconvinced of Wuthering Heights’ hardcore nature to produce a piece of prose which more effectively elicits from its reader the interjection ‘oh shit, you’re so fucked’ than does the inquiry posed by the young Linton as he travels to meet his father for the first time: “Is Wuthering Heights as pleasant a place as Thrushcross Grange?” The poor little shit has no idea what he’s getting himself into, they’ve got knifeguns up there.

— Gothicus Maximus

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Moby’s Prejudice

Posted in Literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

As a special treat for its devoted readers, OMG A BAT has secured exclusive rights to the dissemination of a literary work which I believe, beyond doubt, will be remembered as one of the seminal prose masterpieces of the 21st century. Promising young author Dana M. McGovern weaves an opus that engages in compelling conversation with two of English’s most well-regarded novels, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Melville’s Moby-Dick. Though I generally maintain that my talking about a given thing substantially improves that thing, in this case I feel I must allow the composition to make its own case, and so, without further ado, a special OMG A BAT presentation of Moby’s Prejudice.

***

AUTHOR’S NOTE: 

This story is not about lolcats, which would be surpsing if you know me. Hi. Im dana macguyver macgovern. I kno, 2 Mcs in a row is really lame lol, my parents were on crack lol. No not really. They just really liked that show w/ Richard dean Anderson Macgovern haha. All my life i have loved herman Melville. I just want to hug him and tell him its all going to be okay. I want to have his babies. One day I was thinkng about how romantic it would be and I realized that another romantic thing is pride and prejudice! That’s how I got the idea to combine pride and prejudice w/ hermy’s best novel, Moby-Dick.  That was the summer after my parents got devorced so I spent a lot of time sitting around thinking about romance and how to make it work. Did u know people thought moby dick was bad for many years? I wish I had been there to tell him how good it was. Anyway please read and respond.

 

Love

 

Dana

 

P.S. This story is dedicated to my cat who died and was named Melville. 

 

Chapter One:

 

Call me Ismael, even though my friends call me Ishy, because we are not friends. My real name is not either of those but in fact Dara McLofflin, but I changed it to Ishmael. I don’t want to talk about it today. I frist met Willy Darcy in 2090, on the shores of Topeka Kansas, which bordered the atlantic ocean because by then the ocean covered most of the world (Y’all need to start recycling J). He was leaning against a peer staring at me- no- glaring at me- he was totally hot, tall, dark, hot and handsome, with dark hair and blue eyes that could brood into your soul. He was about 5’7” and was waering a t-shirt that said “Guinness” on it. Even though I thought his shirt was inappropriate for the beech which had children on it which I knew because when I was a child I played on the beech with my father before he divorced my mother last summer, I was instantly attracted to him (this was before I was a dude) so I went up to him.

“I also enjoy Guinness,” I declared, “Call me Ishmael. I have just arrived here in this port of Topeka Kansas looking for a spaceship on which I can put my many spaceship maintaince skills to the ultimate test. This is mostly to get my mind off of bad things that have been happening to me lately that I do not want to talk about at all. What is your major?”

“My name is Willy Darcy, Dara,” he pronounced, silently, while scowling, “I am hear because there is a woman who is not handsome and I do not want to be around her even though every man of my rich stature must be in want of a wife. I would rather lean on this peer than look at her dog face, do you understand what I’m saying? Oh by the way I have studied economics.”

 “No. It’s Ishmael,” I rejoined. I could tell we would be fast friends. 

“I can tell we will be fast friends,” I articulated.

Darcy agreed wordlessly.

 

Chapter: Two

 

The Next Day

 

I woke up thinking what a jerk Darcy was. However I would remain friends with him because I am both true and loyal. In addition I am about 5’5’’ with long red hair down to my waist. I got up and brushed my teeth which were pretty straight considering that by 2090 there were no orthodontists because President Hilary Clinton banned them after the accident. I returned to bed to see Darcy leaning under the covers sexily. His clothes were on the floor scowling. “Good morning, sweetcheeks,” he frowned. “No, it’s Ishmael,” I reminded him, “Darcy, I want to stay friends, however as I told you when we met yesterday I am bording a spaceship whose mission is to hunt something whose nature is mysterious right now. You should come with me, I’m sure there is a place for an economist onboard.”

Darcy made a ‘hmm’ sound silently. “I guess I have had a lot of free time ever since the economy was abolished by HC. I guess I can’t spend it all just hating that dog faced bitch that I hate.”

“We both have pasts, but we will work through them together on the ship.”

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXRRRRRRRRRXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

            It was time to board the ship, which was called the S.S. Jane Austen after some author who we no longer read because in 2090 it is possible to have great books downloaded directly into our minds through our iPhones (lol get it). The ship was about 5’4” and glistened like diamonds must have glistened before the diamonds were all melted down to make solar lamps. “This ship is so beautiful,” Darcy remarked, “it is roughly the exact opposite of what that dog-faced cuntwaffle Belizabeth Bennet would look like if she were herself a ship.”

            Suddenly there was a voice from behind us. “Excuse me!” it echoed. I turned on my heal to find myself staring into the face of a gorgoes woman whose hair was like mine blonde. Her shapely hips and large bosom were tucked into a steel jumpsuit which was the uniform of a captain. Specifically, a lady captain, which was the captain only of the ladies because in the future gender roles were really divided (thank you hilary Clinton). On her large right breast, partially concealed by her long red hair, was a small name tag which read “Belizabeth Bennet, Lady Captain of the U.S.S Jane Austen the Wahle Hunting Ship of the New United States of Post-Clinton New America.”

            “What a coincidence,” I thought to Darcy, “The lady captain of this ship has the same name of the woman you hate. But this can’t be her because she’s beautiful and not like a dgo.”

            “It’s no coincidence, Dara, that is Belizabeth,” he scowled, obviously disagreeing that she did not look like a dog.

            “No, it’s Ishmael. This is a comedy of  errors! ”I announced to Darcy, then I looked to Belizabeth, smiling sheepishly to alieviate the awkward-ness, “Who are you?”

            “I am Belizabeth Bennet, Lady Captain of the U.S Jane Austen the Whale hunting ship of the New United States of Post-Clinton New America (McCain ’08),” smirked Belizabeth, “as you can probably read from my name tag. Now, if you’ll ecuse me, my Lady Captain duties will not allow me to waste my time with you men.”

            As I walked away, I heard her mutter “jerk”, and I knew she was muttering of Darcy. Who scowled and began to lean his things onto the ship. I smiled and wondered to myself “Are black cats still bad luck in space?”

 

Chapter C:

 

The Male Captain

 

Darcy and I moved into our room together. He helped me put my bags under the bed. “I hope the Lady Captain bitch and whoever the Man captain is doesn’t think it’s inappropriate for us to live together.”

            “No, it’s Ishmael,” I reinforced.

            We turned a corner and there was an incredibly tall elderly gentleman who looked slightly crazy although I cannot say why. Even though he looked like he was about to come on to me in a way that would make me uncomfortable, I was glad it wasn’t Belizabeth, because Darcy always acted especially like a jerk when she was around. “jerk,” I muttered.

            “Avast ye!” the stranger bellowed “I be captain Ahab, Man Captain of this here fine vessel.”

            “Who are you,” I asked.

            “Arrr, I hate a whale,” he whispered, “the misson of this here vessel is to send it to a watery grave through whatever means necessary. Arrr davey jones’ locker. Dara, you must use your feminine wiles. Darcy, you must use your ‘conomics.” His peg leg, which he had, twitched.

            “ No, it’s Ishmael,” I told him.

            “And a less redundant question, dumbass,” I blushed when Darcy made that statement, “how are we going to find the whale?”

            “Arr, there be a grand ball at pemberly. My sources be telling me that the whale will be in attendance. Arr.”

             

ASDFGHJKLASDFGHJKLASDFGHJKLASDFGHJKLASDFGHJKLASDFGHJKL

 

Having met captain ahab, we set out a week later. He seemed suspicious to me in a literary sort of way. I asked Dracy what he thought but he just scowled and leaned against the porthole. “Maybe,” he told me without speaking. I looked at the porthole Darcy was leaning against, and I saw it looked like there were billions on billions of stars forming galaxies that looked like milk in my coffee, almost like some kind of creamy road through the sky. I thought about how small earth was in comparison to all that dairy in the sky, and in my brain, I wrote a poem, (copyright Gerard way and my chemical romance):

 

“And we can run, from the backdrop of these gears and scalpels

At every hour goes the tick-tock bang of monitors as

They stared us down when we met in the emergency room

And in our beds, I could hear you breathe with help from cold machines

 

Every hour, on the hour, they drew blood

 

Well I felt I couldn’t take, another day inside this place

From silent dreams we never wake, and in this promise that we’ll make

Starless eyes for heaven’s sake, but I hear you anyway

Well I thought I heard you

Say I like you, we can get out

We don’t have to stay, stay inside this place

 

Someday, this day, we kept falling down

Someday, this day, set the ferris wheel ablaze

You left my heart an open wound

And I love you for

This day, someday we kept falling down

One day, this day all we had to keep us safe

And if we never sleep again, it would never end

Well I thought I heard you say to me

We’ll go so far, far as we can

And I just can’t stay, one day we’ll run away”

 

Had we been irresponsible with our little ball of water & dirt? Had we religuinshed the gift god had given us when we chose a leader who was not fit to rule?

 

Part Five:

 

We Are At Pemberly

 

Darcy scowled in a leonine way, “I hate balls, I mean, not that kind. Like dances. Especially when Elizabeth Dog-face is at them. But I will stay here if it means we will catch the whale and forget our pasts”. We were at Pemberly. “You haven’t even touched your freeze-dried pomegranite astronaut juice bar, with bacon’, I defined. I could understand that beneath his cold glare, Darcy was nervous. After all, Ahab had chosen to send us on this dangerous mission alone and keep every1 else on the ship as backup. We were undercover. I was dressed as a woman, which is odd, because I am a man.  Darcy was dressed as a clown, but I was worried his scowl would blow our cover. I was lost in these worries when I heard a voice, “Excuse me, you handsome, less than happy clown, but may I be so bold as to ask for this dance?” The DJ had just turned on Josh Groban feat. My Chemical Romance, which is an extremely popular remix in the future. I looked up and found myself staring into the gorgeous face beneath blonde hair of none other than the lady captain known by the name of Belizabeth Bennet!

“Belizabeth!” Darcy exclaimed in a voice that was distinctly jerkly and therefore easily recognized as his. I don’t blame him though because the shock made him forget he was undercover.

“Darcy, it’s you. I can’t believe I am attracted to you considering what a jerk you are; however I am, I can’t deny it. You have bewitched me body and soul. Will you dance with me.”

Darcy scowled, deep in thought. “You…” he hesitated, “… suck.”

Belizabeth smirked in a manner unbefitting a lady captain and stormed off.

 “Why did u do that?” I queried, “it’s insubordination.”

“Untrue, she only commands the ladies, thanks to the captainship amendment to the constitution put in place years ago by that president we don’t talk about.”

“You mean Hilary Clinton?” I responded

“Yes, I did in fact mean Hilary Rodham Clinton, who ran on the democratic ticket in 2008. People were foolish and voted for her even though they knew she would pass that horrible amendment,” he inspirited, grimly.

“Let’s not talk about about it. She might have been sending us an important message from the captain. Go after her, apologize, and get the message.”

At first Darcy insisted “no”, but eventually I convinced him in a way I can’t write about ;).

But I came to a realization. Captain Ahab had specifically sent only us on this mission and left everyone else as back-up. If Belizabeth was here, it could only be 4 one reason- SHE WAS THE WHALE !!!

            “I’m gay,” Darcy exclaimed.

 

Scene Nine:

 

The Finale

 

So: Elizabeth was the whale. I knew what I had to do, all by myself because I was a strong woman, or would be if I were not in fact a man, and because Darcy is a jerk. Even though he is a jerk though, I didn’t want to leave him alone with a dangerous whale that had taken away Captain Ahab’s leg and is now a lady captain. If I ever wanted to get revenge and forget about my past, I would have to harpoon my own Lady Captain.

            Back on Mars, I ran quickly over Olympus Mons, the highest mountain in the solar system, which I had learned about actually in school the very day my dad picked me up early to get me to read over some papers about mom. Near the top of the mountain, I found Darcy and Elizabeth making out in the space rain on the space moor. “Darcy!” I warned loudly, “Get away from her! She is not really a dog-faced lady that you are making out with, but really a whale!”

 

DARCY: But, I love her!

 

ME: But, a whale!

 

BELIZABET: What?

 

ME: Whale!

 

DARCY: I love her!

BELIZABETH: What?

 

DARCY: I LOVE YOU!

 

Me: A whale!

 

BELIZABETH: I love you too!

 

Me: A whale!

 

Me: A whale!

 

Darcy: A what?

 

Belizabeth: A whale!

 

(Then I harpooned her while she was distracted by my wordplay.)

 

Her tail lashed wildly at the air, swatting the majestic face of the mountain and causing an avalanche. Darcy leaned against a tree for safety. I looked sadly at the two lovers, but knew it was for the best. Darcy fell to his knees, “No, Belizabeth, don’t die! I want to marry you!” Belizabeth blushed as she smirked out a mighty roar, “I’m losing a lot of blood, and also I might die of consumption. After all, it is raining.”

I realized that, like many of Herman Melville’s characters, captain Ahab was crazy, and that maybe the space psychiatrist I had spoken to once was correct in saying that my affection for him was created to fill a void that was in my life maybe. I helped Darcy lift Belizabeth and carry her back to the ship. I rubbed space Neosporin on her woundz and kissed her. At that exact moment there, Captain Ahab rushed in his craziness all unzipped. I did not see  him as the kindly man I once did. He pushed the red lever on the wall and everyone on the ship who I had not introduced because they were not really important to the story screamed wherever they were which was not where I was because if they were I would have described them. The ship rocked back and forth erroneously and I called to Darcy who was only a foot away from me, “Quicky! Use your ‘conomics!”

Leaping to the hull he pressed various buttons and dials with a rougish confidence that I and Belizzy both found very attractive. Possibly ahab too because being crazy he may have also been a homosexual which is not normal, because they are only 4% of the population which is not very much and it is a disease (McCain ’08). He grabbed Ahab’s fairy face and smashed it into the control panel multiple times, breaking his crow nose and ugly cheeks. “Eat conomics Herman McGovern”. The water that the lever had put into the ship flushed out into space. Also the fire went out and the life support came back on.

 

PAGEBREAKPAGEBREAKPAGEBREAKPAGEBREAKPAGEBREAKPAGEBRE

(This is a page break that separates this part of the story from another part of it)

 

Now I throw a handful of rice into the air, where it floats because there is no gravity in space. Belizzy, who now that she has come out as a Whale has taken the name Marouska,  looks beautiful in her dress. Her and Darcy walk out of the wedding chapel smiling and laughing and very lovey with their each other. I smiled as a tear fell from my eye and immediately froze and floated away because we were in space. But then my next tear fell and landed on a white rose that was being carried in a dove’s mouth as it flew on its way to heaven where angels live and no one is ever away from her family. A dark time had ended and Captain Ahab slept with the fisses. “Thanks for making my dream a realty, Ishmael,” said Darcy.

            “ No, it’s—-“ HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

 

THE END. 

***

To have facilitated the distribution of Dana’s work across cyberspace is an honor that brings tears to my eyes.

– Gothicus Maximus  

 

 

Neuter-view with the Vampire: The Emasculation of Bloodsucking Un-Dead in Popular Culture

Posted in Dracula, Films, Horror, Literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2008 by gothicusmaximus

Before I move on to the subject of this post, I’d like to toast the brilliance of the portmanteau that begins this entry’s title. That shit’s brilliant, why aren’t I on TV? 

The impetus that now manifests as this diatribe first descended upon me as I rode the 6:11 PM train from Penn Station to my hometown on Long Island. Although my eccentric clothes often ensure that many railway passengers opt to stand rather than sit beside me- this one of the few material benefits of membership in my straggling subculture- on this occasion I found myself sharing my personal space with a young woman of roughly 14. Before you either offer me a high five or prepare to call the local police, I will affirm that no encroachment was made against space quite that personal, and indeed this girl has won her place in the annals of my weblog only because she produced and proceeded to begin reading a copy of Stephanie Meyer’s novel Twilight As I don’t read books that are not designed for adults, I am less familiar with Meyer’s supernatural romances than nearly every American teenage girl, but my cursory investigation of her work has confirmed it to be emblematic of a far more sweeping blight on our popular culture– the eponymous Emasculation of Bloodsucking Un-Dead.

What occurs to me is that the evolution of the vampire as he is conceived by the average man parallels, almost perfectly, the change women seek to impose on the men with whom they become romantically involved. The qualities which establish a man as badass, and therefore attractive to heterosexual women, such as habitual terseness, emotional maladaptation, ownership of a motorcycle, or thirst for the blood of the innocent, unfortunately do not overlap with those that facilitate a healthy relationship, so thus women will, as paradoxical as this may sound, seek to encourage in their chosen paramours what they imagine is ‘improvement’, doing all in their power to render their mates affectionate, sensitive, compassionate, and utterly ‘defanged’, if you will. Though their efforts are often thwarted when directed toward men who possess and assert independent wills, the natures of such fictional constructs as the Nosferatu are easily manipulated by creative intelligences. I realize this attempt to pin my vampire hang-up almost entirely on a single gender may set off some alarms for my more politically correct readers, but one must recognize that depictions of female vampire  haven’t changed much between the publication of Carmilla and “Vampirella” issue #1- they’re still buxom skanks with sharp teeth- whereas their male counterparts have fallen into a bit of a slump. That we men have no apparent desire to infuse our sex objects with gentle souls is probably more a testament to women than it is to us, but even still the vampire suffers.  

Let us consider, for example, the most iconic personality among the creatures of the night: Count Dracula. In the original 1897 novel, the vampire’s initial encounter with Mina Murray, his ‘main squeeze’ as it were, transpires thusly:

 

I felt the same vague terror which had come to me before and the same sense of some presence. I turned to wake Jonathan, but found that he slept so soundly that it seemed as if it was he who had taken the sleeping draught, and not I. I tried, but I could not wake him. This caused me a great fear, and I looked around terrified. Then indeed, my heart sank within me: beside the bed, as if he had stepped out of the mist—or rather as if the mist had turned into his figure, for it had entirely disappeared—stood a tall, thin man, all in black. I knew him at once from the description of the others. The waxen face; the high aquiline nose, on which the light fell in a thin white line; the parted red lips, with the sharp white teeth showing between; and the red eyes that I had seemed to see in the sunset on the windows of St. Mary’s Church at Whitby. I knew, too, the red scar on his forehead where Jonathan had struck him. For an instant my heart stood still, and I would have screamed out, only that I was paralysed. In the pause he spoke in a sort of keen, cutting whisper, pointing as he spoke to Jonathan:—

“Silence! If you make a sound I shall take him and dash his brains out before your very eyes.” I was appalled and was too bewildered to do or say anything. With a mocking smile, he placed one hand upon my shoulder and, holding me tight, bared my throat with the other, saying as he did so, “First, a little refreshment to reward my exertions. You may as well be quiet; it is not the first time, or the second, that your veins have appeased my thirst!” I was bewildered, and, strangely enough, I did not want to hinder him. I suppose it is a part of the horrible curse that such is, when his touch is on his victim. And oh, my God, my God, pity me! He placed his reeking lips upon my throat!

This is sexy, but precisely because it shouldn’t be. As Dracula’s legacy perpetuated itself, the desire of certain individuals to imbue the character with attributes that induce them to blush and sigh as well as those that induce them to masturbate privately became manifest. The incarnations of Dracula that resulted from this are generally abortions that summarily approve the old adage, ‘you can’t have your rape fantasy and eat it, too’. Here is the forementioned scene as imagined in Francis Ford Coppola’s film, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, whose title certainly oozes with unintentional irony:

“My most precious love”? What? Although one can’t help but love that interwoven sequence featuring Anthony Hopkins’ admirable Van Helsing, which almost serves to disguise Mina’s sudden leap in rationale from “YOU KILLED MY FRIEND” to “I WANT TO LOVE WHAT YOU LOVE.” The vampire’s primary goal is no longer the conquest of London, but the seduction of one very special woman. Not quite Bram Stoker’s Dracula, at least as I recall it. 

Be cautioned not to mistake me for a closeted sociopath with a hard-on for ravening, soulless corpses, as I’m not totally opposed to the notion of a vampire with a moral compass. I’m merely advancing the idea that there’s a happy medium between Satan’s Emissary and Doctor McSanguinary.

– Gothicus Maximus