What ruined my Christmas Eve? I’ll tell you want ruined my Christmas Eve!
The thought that the Discovery Channel was about science, discovery and information. It isn’t. On Christmas Eve they broadcast a “documentary”, A Haunting in Connecticut, which was basically a feature length advertisement for (a) a couple of maverick American demonologists and (b) that ol’ org the Catholic Church, in whose bosom you can find refuge against Evil, allegedly.
The “haunting” in question involved a troubled family living in a former funeral parlour. Of Course. Spooky! Dead bodies!
The apparitions appeared at night when family members were in their beds. Ooooh, maybe the damn things were dreams – is that too sceptical of me? Hmm, there was no one in the documentary to blaspheme against the spirit world, so I might as well!
The “demonologists” who ghostbusted the joint were the married couple the Warrens, paranormal investigators and exorcists, and the voiceover credited them with “investigating” the Amityville Horror – without mentioning that Amityville is probably the most documented hoax of all time, so these scamsters were, ipso ba-leedin’ facto,
charlatans! And, of course, pa-ra-pa-pum-pum: the Catholic Church performed an exorcism, in accordance with their age-old superstitions. A motormouth New York priest was interviewed, enthusiastically supporting the institution of exorcism, voicing the opinion that people don’t really want “secular” explanations for things – something “romantic” is better: exorcism offers people the drama of the fight between “absolute evil” and “absolute good” and is therefore appealing. He didn’t even sound as if he believed in anything, he just sounded as if it was a good idea to get something exciting onto the airwaves.
Yep, that’s it, that’s what people want. For some section of humanity, the myths that appeal to them involve good versus evil. This explains the all-conquering popularity of the trilogies The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and The Matrix. People like yarns about goodies versus baddies. There’s a school of thought that sees this as psychologically healthy. Christopher Booker, one of the editors of Private Eye, in his book The Seven Basic Plots of Literature: Why We Tell Stories criticized modern storytelling for its rejection of archetypal story-resolutions, i.e. writers like Joyce who tried to create relevant stories instead of indulgent fantasies. But either Booker is the most backward person commenting on literature, or I know nothing about culture at all.
I think the whole good-and-evil thing is the most psychologically unhealthy thing in existence. This myth is just playing into the hands of Discovery channel exorcists! The touchstone should be Blade Runner, in which the “villains” are just trying to survive and find meaning to their existences, perhaps like the confused “terrorists” of the world? Can we grow up yet? There is no absolute “good” or absolute “evil”, and fairytales on this subject aren’t even comforting, not to me anyway. Am I alone? Should I be burnt as a heretic?
Are we getting more and more stupid? Even old movies with Bogart or Monroe in them are a lot more cynical about human nature than this hysterical good v. evil shite, which seems to result in bollocks like this Discovery docu-psychodrama, in which the existence of demons is “proved”.
Good and evil? Bring back Nietzsche! The “Discovery” Channel should really be known as the Obfuscation Channel, dragging us back into the dark ages – and not for a holiday. They certainly did the Church a favour on this Christmas Eve.