Letting The Monsters In

Vanessa Place at The Hedgehog Review:

We monster: According to Johnson, we cast out. But by casting out the monster, we cast in ourselves as that which is not-monster. That’s the simple formula, a process of inclusion by way of exclusion. But if the formula is, as formulas are, an equation, then both sides are equivalent, meaning that we must monster within as without, the monster thus monstered not gotten rid of, precisely, but held as an image, a template or test to be used to identify and expel more monsters—to go on monstering. I may only monster to the extent that I myself know the monstrous. Here echoes the fascist censor’s dilemma: If I recognize a critique of the state, then have I also not understood that the state is subject to critique, thereby betraying my own latent critique of the state? Too, the more I know of the monstrous, the better still my monstering—just as the monster knows us, how foolishly soft our throats, how stupidly open our windows. There is an intimacy in this: If, when we are children, we keep our monsters tucked under the bed, when we are adults they bed us, lodging in our chests and necks, penetrating our hearts, for it is another well-worn observation that the monster, as made, represents our desires as horrors, our horrors as desires. The vampire was emblematic of the love and fear of lust, that too-much of desire; Frankenstein’s creature, the love and fear of technology, that too-much of savoir faire; our Jekyll hiding our outraging Hyde.

more here.