Her thoughts begin…
“For me, having an appreciation for horror movies falls into the category of ‘Things I Understand Exist, but Reject Wholeheartedly,’ right alongside anime and micropenises. When I learn that someone I respect likes the genre, I immediately change the subject. I can’t fathom why, so it feels dirty and uncomfortable to me–akin to hearing the word ‘moist’ uttered out loud.
…and that’s where I rolled my eyes so hard I’m pretty sure I saw 1972.
Because, listen, besides the slam against anime and micropenises (OMG, she said “micropenis!” She’s daring! And naughty! Sooooo edgy!!!), Abigail McCoy’s recent article in Glamour is an unapologetic — perhaps unaware? — glimpse into a sadly myopic world view that’s become common in recent years. One that says “I don’t like this so, therefore, if you do, well, something must be wrong with you, so whatevs.”
A world view that for me, frankly, feels a little dirty and uncomfortable — akin to hearing the words “pumpkin spice latte” uttered by a girl in Uggs searching for the make-me-look-like-a-supermodel filter on her Instagram.
Now, I don’t have the pleasure of knowing Miss McCoy (nor do I think I want to, to be honest) but I do know Sour Patch Kids — file under “Things I Begrudgingly Accept are a Thing, but Make Me Throw-Up a Little When I Think of Them” — and according to her bio she’s absolutely besotted with them.
But I don’t like them.
To me, they’re sparkly gag-inducing bull farts rolled in dollar store sugar, passed through an anime micropenis and tucked under Trump’s left armpit until appropriately moist. And anyone who likes them, well, I just don’t get you.
But like those “smart women” Abigail knows who “claim” to like horror movies, there are obviously people out there who love eating sparkly gag-inducing bull farts.
Okay, I’m stopping there because, honestly, my mind is a bit too broad to continue the charade of hating Sour Patch Kids even if Miss McCoy’s achingly self-important ramblings seem to be driven by the sugar high she gets from double-fisting them.
How else could she write such gut-busting gems as
“But I maintain that there is absolutely no value in feeling scared. Why do people want to be scared? What is good about that? Feeling scared is always, always a negative experience, and I don’t think it’s even the kind with a silver lining”
“I can wrap my head around the whole ‘thrills minus actual danger’ appeal, but can’t you just get your rocks off by watching Homeland or something else written by writers whose artistic vision extends beyond scenes cast exclusively in blue-grey light with recently-widowed women being terrorized by things and beings that hopefully don’t exist IRL?”
Writers “whose artistic vision extends beyond scenes cast exclusively in blue-grey light with recently-widowed women being terrorized?” “I maintain…I don’t think…I can wrap my head around…?”
Perhaps if she put down the sparkly bull farts, looked up from her venti-soy-half-caf-light-whip PSL, and wandered outside the cozy confines of her cosseted tribe at Glamour, she’d learn that A) the world is not driven by Her Royal “I”, B) not every horror film revolves around a recently-widowed woman — did I actually have to just write that? — C) blue-grey light is totally a director/lighting design/production design call and has nothing to do with the writer — seriously, doesn’t anyone at Glamour know this??? — and D) real life is full of things and beings that terrorize far beyond what you see on-screen.
And that’s why horror films and books are important.
Despite her accidentally arrogant assertion that feeling scared is “always, always a negative experience” — yeah, still scratching my head at that little gem getting past her steely-eyed editors; wait, are there editors at Glamour? idk — feeling scared, for some, is actually healthy.
In fact, for some, it’s necessary.
There are those who’ve seen and experienced things most of us simply cannot imagine. Things that have left them scarred in their deepest places. Experiences that have sliced deep, gouged muscle, carved into bone and left gaping wounds that still bleed — silently, invisibly — years, decades, later. To experience fear in the safety of a film or a book, a medium that can be controlled at will with a click of a remote or a closing of the Kindle or book, is sometimes the only avenue these people have of subtly releasing the pressure they feel. Of “reliving” their terror without actually touching their personal emotional third rails.
They find freedom and a sort of peace in the dark words, thoughts, imaginations of those who write and create horror. It connects with a necessary part of them that’s desperate to have a voice, but isn’t sure how to speak.
Now, one can optimistically assume Miss McCoy’s scars aren’t as deep and her wounds aren’t still sobbing. If fact, I hope it’s safe to say the most memorable terrible thing Miss McCoy may have experienced in her relatively young life is a viewing of The Ring fourteen years ago. And that makes me happy.
No, it truly does.
Because it’s, perhaps, that absence of scars, of wounds, that leave Abigail cold when it comes to horror films. Her joy is found elsewhere. Her healing is maybe more gentle. The release of her inner scream is found in frivolous things — as she herself said.
And that’s to be applauded.
I just wish those who truly do enjoy horror — yes, Abbie, they do exist and they are, in fact, smart and no, for cripe’s sake, they’re not lying — could be spared the unnecessary, dare I say shallow judgement of a woman who should know better, but sadly doesn’t appear to.
Because, like it or not, the world beyond Miss McCoy’s list of scary “Things I Understand Exist, but Reject Wholeheartedly” is much greater, much more interesting, and much more useful than she can ever imagine. Maybe if she found her courage, opened her mind and took a true, sincere, objective look, she might be surprised by what she finds.
Even if it does feel dirty and uncomfortable.