Friday, 24 July 2009


Last night I had a presentation in my seminar class. I realise as I get older that I like public speaking less and less. I used to love giving presentations and enjoyed the high of excitement I got right beforehand, similar to that experienced when acting right before going on stage. However, now I almost dread it because in my program at university we don't give many presentations so I am not very good at them. There are other majors where they are a big part of all the courses but with English you don't ever do any until fourth year, so I have fallen out of practice. I think the one last night went well, I won't know for sure until Tuesday when I get the mark back. It, and the 3 other presentations last night, focused on the concept of 'the grotesque' in art and literature. It isn't a really difficult theory to understand but like all theory they seem to make it way more complicated than needed. I won't get into the whole thing as it has to do with 'uncanny' and 'sublime' and other such annoying theory concepts and they are all terms that don't truly have agreed upon definitions. One of the elements of the grotesque, though arguably not a necessary aspect, is the combination of natural figures into an unnatural representation. It is speculated that the reason the bat is thought of as being a frightening creature, despite being rather harmless, is because it resembles both a bird and a mouse, which makes us uncomfortable. Theorists then go on to try to explain why we feel scared or uncomfortable with it, but I won't get into that right now. The whole concept totally hit home for me when I was reading a funny internet article and ran across the following picture. It completely connects with the grotesque and absolutely terrifies me. I can barely look at it! Don't really know why I'm putting it on my blog where I will be confronted with it regularly before it falls of the main page, but I think my reaction to it was really interesting. It makes me very uncomfortable.


Anonymous said...

sooo weird. I was just looking at a list of "the world's weirdest tatoos" today online and felt similar revulsion. In particular to a dude that had actually tattooed himself and filed his teeth to look something like this pic of U.S's 44th and beloved Pres.

Anonymous said...

My initial reaction was that it is a not very subtle put down - "Obama is a snake" but then you add in that most people have a revulsion of snakes - fear but beyond revulsion is somehow more than fear or disgust. The snake is also portrayed as evil , but cheerfully or hiding behind a friend, so - ie in Eden Then you add in that it is a smiling portrait so there is a sinister element - finding pleasure in wickedness.
Complex, interesting.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I might have to wait a few more posts to check out your blog again so this picture won't pop up! How creepy. Although personally I would have been more frightened if he had been a spider!

Love T

Erin said...

I'm glad he has gone down the page a little, I agree with the spider comment though.