July 7, 2004

The Werewolf Extinction

Listening to John Gormley Live this morning in the truck, to a discussion on Moore's Moonbat Masterpiece, a caller phoned in who mentioned a website with an address I promptly forgot. He explained that it compiles in one place every half-baked, quarter-baked and unbaked conspiracy theory surrounding the events of Sept.11. We've heard them all by now. The caller, of course, thought the website was credible.

With the controversy swirling around Farenheit, I've been reminded a lot lately of Oliver Stone's JFK. The parallels are striking - from the media hype to the public debate, to the eventual debunking and consensus that Stone's movie was a pile of unsubstantiated crap. While conspiracy theorists still abound over the events in Dallas, not many of them cite Oliver Stone these days. When all the hoopla is over, and Iraq stumbles its way towards quasi-democracy and Bush has moved back to Texas, replaced by Kerry in 2004 or Rice in 2008...I predict Farenheit 9/11 will be sitting on a dusty shelf, next to JFK. Nobody will take Moore any more seriously than they do Mr. Stone.

But this morning, as the conspiracy seeker was being summarily dismissed as a lunatic, I began thinking about the extinction of the werewolves.

It's hard to imagine a time long ago when werewolves were taken seriously, when simple-minded village people huddled together beside bright fires, with their doors barred against an unspeakable fate.

Harder yet to imagine the irrational terror of an unbelievable, supernatural creature.

All in all though, werewolves were a resilient lot - incomprehensibly powerful, virtually immortal. They survived in the folklore and literature of civilization for centuries. How many silver bullets were spent in the dark, how many beasts felled, to return to their human forms?

In the end, the magnificent and malevolent creature were condemned to nothingness- their last gasps expended on celluloid. I think the last true werewolf movie was An American Werewolf In London - long after the real thing was gone.

They had to see it coming. When Edison created the light bulb, the werewolf retreated with the dark. A century later, Apollo on the moon and Armstrong walking its surface, the creature was struck a fatal blow. The moon was no longer magic.

Today, Mars rovers and Titan probes have pushed these quaint old monsters so deeply into the void that we nearly forget they ever existed. There, they joined the mermaids and the sea witches and the Windigo. Only the vampire survived, but at a price - the everlasting humiliation of being vanquished by girls named "Buffy".

But with their demise, a vacuum arose.

Denied the objects of old superstitions, the human mind sought new ones. As science explored both outward and inward, demystifying and explaining the unknown, the superstitious had fewer places to go. With nowhere else to turn, they cast their lot with the known. Today, they fear the powerful mortal figures of our present, and find darkness in the giant shadows that they cast. Conspiracy folk fables arise from the mists just as surely as the howls of the werewolves did in centuries past.

Instead of supernatural, bloodthirsty creatures of lunar inspired madness, the monsters of the simple minds of our new age are mere human beings, transformed into scheming omnipotent creatures through the power of the political. One can't help but think that it must be frustrating to settle for such pale and transient villians. Perhaps this is the reason for their shrillness - they've been cheated of the real thing. Real werewolves don't have term limits.

So today, while a small metal object circles the planet of Saturn, and geneticists unravel the human genetic code, as physicists transform light into tools and molecules into robots - the superstitious still gather together in the dark, reassured by the flickering screen of the cinema, as their ancestors were reassured by the flicker of the cabin fire.

Perhaps we should just leave them be.

Posted by Kate at July 7, 2004 3:46 AM

Well, that's an interesting perpective and a revealing point of view. Along those lines, I noticed that in Buffy the Vampire Slayer the "vamps" (as they were colloquially referred to) had transformed considerably from the vampires of old.

No more Bella Lagosi with eyes gleaming with supernatural power, no more stealing upon the victim in a puff of smoke, or transformation into a bat.

Buffy's vampires were almost indistinguishable from the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang. They hung out in nightclubs, they got together for the mundane purposes of vandalism. They served some "evil" that animated them like puppets and yet the nature of that "evil" they never fully understood.

And when they attacked a victim it was not through supernatural guile, but with karate (with an emphasis on Tae Kwan Do and its elaborate high kicks).

From the point of view that you discuss, it's interesting to consider that it's getting harder to tell the vampires from the humans.

Posted by: Greg at July 7, 2004 2:06 PM

Hi- I lurk here every now and then, but I loved this post enough to come out of the shadows to say hi.
Please don't shoot me, I'm not a werebear.

Posted by: Homie Bear at July 7, 2004 6:49 PM

Thankyou, Kate. This makes some sense.

I have begun to tire of the view of my own large intestine and am slowly beginning to see the light.

Posted by: Robert McClelland at July 7, 2004 9:46 PM

cool post.

did you ever see "ginger snaps"? don't know if it meets your criteria for a _true_ werewolf movie, but its definitely a werewolf movie. i liked it anyway. and its 100% can-con. the sequel is ok but not as good.

your theory for why conspiracy theories are so popular today seems to make sense to me. the internet probably contributes alot too. what about the rise in new spiritual movements, like born again sects, wicca, etc.? another reaction against the vaccum you talk about, maybe? people trying to re-mystify their lives via belief in angels and fairies? and apparently alot of people in the US are big into "left behind" now. freaky. i guess this is the new millenium.

haven't seen f911 yet. probably this weekend. the amount of comment this guy generates is insane. i think if i googled "michael moore" my computer would probably melt down. he seems like such a nice guy on tv, but apparently he's satan.

great blog, thanks.

Posted by: rob at July 7, 2004 11:33 PM

Great post. I recommend Carl Sagan's book "The Demon-Haunted World." Robert, I am looking forward to your ongoing awakening. Rob, Moore is just a polemicist making big bucks off the gullible and will soon be as relevant as Oliver Stone.

Posted by: randall g at July 10, 2004 8:39 PM