Cooling off with a can of Fat Tire after a hard night's racing, I have identified the Runner-Up for the day. Coming as I do form a land where rust never sleeps, seeing old cars with rust free bodies is sort of a joy to me. While I don't approve of cars, I do approve of beautiful things which have lost their place in the world.

As far as the big winner for the day goes, here be dragons:

Scary Doll Halloween Prop Cemetery - $15 (Normal Heights)

Single most horrifying Halloween prop ever? If not, damn strong contender to the throne! Imagine the kids trick or treating the house with "Very Scary Doll On real Wood" guarding the front entrance. No amount of candy in the world is worth risking the horrid leer on this babe's face. Seriously, it's eyes are downright hateful. And look at the way the blood's spattered on: is the Devil Baby covered in it's own blood or the blood of its victims? Maybe it had to be nailed there to end the rampage. It's really and truly spooky.

Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever actually seen a Halloween prop that was so bone-chillingly creepy. Halloween props aren't supposed to be actually scary, they're supposed to be campy scary, the scary-that-actually-isn't-scary-because-it's-clearly-trying-to-be-scary kind of scary. It's the un-horror of the known1, the tamed, packaged, department store horror that we can recognize and comprehend. Halloween isn't supposed to actually scare you.

But, hey, maybe it should. Why not? Maybe "Scary Doll Halloween Prop Cemetery" is exactly the kind of spooky we need. Living as we do in a world where fear is de-feared and marketed to ratchet up seasonal shopping trends, perhaps a little blood-curdling, stomach turning horror is just the thing to shake up all the things so badly in need of shaking.

There's a certain take on that which is grotesque which puts a tremendous amount of power in things that transgress normal social mores by forcing the constraints of reality to beyond the bursting point.2 Halloween traditions have their roots in this sort of outpouring of transgressive thought. In the costuming and distortion of the "normal" human figure, in the reveling and festivities, and in the flaunting of that which is socially acceptable. The Halloween masquerade was, in antiquity, a time when social barriers come crashing down and the radical inequality which characterized (and still characterizes) life was, even just temporarily, shaken up a bit. Of course, there is a distinct horror in the whole process of making the world unrecognizable for what it is. The basic idea is that when everything is unbounded, taken to excess, and pushed to the limits of that which is grotesque, the result is simultaneously horrifying and edifying. Gripped in the throes of terror, we become something more than ourselves.

Is this thesis credible? Perhaps, perhaps not. Regardless, the sanitized, fear-less fear of contemporary Halloween is hardly the terrifying, culture shocking, grotesque horror which might or might not level social boundaries. This is where "Scary Doll Halloween Prop Cemetery" comes in. As we look in queasy horror at this tremendously macabre spectacle, we can't help but wonder what Halloween would be like if everything about the holiday had the capacity for gut-wrenching fear that "Scary Doll Halloween Prop Cemetery" so proudly displays, nailed as glaring witness to lost traditions upon its homemade "real Wood cross." Ripped from safety and the control of daily life, what might we learn about ourselves while gripped by primal terror?

Whatever it is, it's highly unlikely that it would involve free candy.

  1. As opposed to the horror of the unknown, that which is truly horrific.

  2. See Mikhail Bahktin's Rabelais and His World for a more authoritative take on this than mine.

More like this:


antigeekess Oct. 13, 2009 @ 11:38 p.m.

"Maybe it had to be nailed there to end the rampage."


However, "The Halloween masquerade was, in antiquity..."

"Halloween?" In "antiquity?"

Cite, please?


CuddleFish Oct. 13, 2009 @ 11:45 p.m.

Oh my Lord!!!!!! I am not clicking any links in this thread!!!!!


PistolPete Oct. 13, 2009 @ 11:48 p.m.

Fat Tire comes in a can? SHWEET! I HATE canned beer but it's usually cheaper.


antigeekess Oct. 13, 2009 @ 11:49 p.m.

"Oh my Lord!!!!!! I am not clicking any links in this thread!!!!!"

Be afraid. Be very afraid.


PistolPete Oct. 13, 2009 @ 11:52 p.m.

I still can't believe Hollywood is still making SAW movies. I have the original trilogy and the third installment was horrendously terrible.


FullFlavorPike Oct. 13, 2009 @ 11:58 p.m.

re #2: I defer to M. Bahktin who gives us the notion that all of the fabulous pagan holidays co-opted into Euro-Christian celebrations are born of the carnival spirit and the desire to mask oneself and let the world go mad for a little while.


FullFlavorPike Oct. 14, 2009 @ 12:04 a.m.

^Since Halloween descends from the Christianized Samhain, I feel Bakhtin's analogy is justified. Samhain was a harvest festival and, for the most part, harvest festivals were that time of year when the work paused for a brief bit when everybody got to stop being good little serfs and citizens for awhile and instead were allowed to party like kings.


antigeekess Oct. 14, 2009 @ 12:06 a.m.

re #8:

Then M. Bahktin is as misinformed as most guys who try to write about religions they know nothing about.

Ditch the term "Halloween," and do some research on Samhain, the pagan high holiday.

For that matter, even Dia de los Muertos would be closer.

(Sorry, I get p*ssy about this issue every year.)




FullFlavorPike Oct. 14, 2009 @ 12:07 a.m.

Guess I slipped you.

Bakhtin's the shizzle for rizzle, and a bigger champion of pagan mores than your or I could ever hope to be :)


antigeekess Oct. 14, 2009 @ 12:08 a.m.

All right. Crossed with your #9.

Samhain is a lot more than a "harvest festival," though.


FullFlavorPike Oct. 14, 2009 @ 12:11 a.m.

I get that it's a religious thing. To me, the religion comes after the economics. That's just how I read things. Workers need to cut loose, give them a festival. Over time, these things lead to religion. Armies of Marxists can't be 100% wrong on this...


antigeekess Oct. 14, 2009 @ 12:15 a.m.

"I get that it's a religious thing. To me, the religion comes after the economics. That's just how I read things."

Gee, no kidding? I never would have figured out that, being 25 and either currently immersed in or freshly out of college, that you'd be all about intellect and theories of this and that.


"Workers need to cut loose, give them a festival. Over time, these things lead to religion."

Oh, for f***'s sake. I've got that bloody book on the shelf somewhere.

Buggering off.


SDaniels Oct. 14, 2009 @ 4:10 a.m.

I don't have a copy of that particular Bakhtin, long in my past, so will post this wiki link for everyone.

The carnivalesque is a fascinating topic, and the idea that at such times of the year as Halloween, all direct oppositions are reversed, or temporarily suspended through literal exchange of position--king become pauper and vice versa--must certainly appeal to Pike's best Marxist sensibilities :)

Bakhtin's dialogic appeals to my sense that everything is a text, and everything around us can be seen to take the shape of a dialogue or series of dialogues. This is one of the many reasons I like Pike's use of craigslist ads to articulate something of his neighborhood (sort of); it is fun to think of objects and ideas in conversation with one another unbeknownst to us, not just on Halloween, or that Christmas midnight, when animals use human language.

Question for all:

In this spirit, what would each of you be for Halloween, if you were to temporarily transform into what you consider to be your "direct" opposite?


SDaniels Oct. 14, 2009 @ 4:28 a.m.

To combine something of the Dia de los Muertos for AG along with Pike's doll theme, here is a most relaxing destination for your next trip:

Oh, and I love that the ad suggests most helpfully that this doll would go well in a cemetery. Next time I go to place flowers on Uncle Ernie's plaque, it would feel comforting to see it, knowing that such things await us "on the other side." :)


CuddleFish Oct. 14, 2009 @ 8:05 a.m.

My direct opposite would be a nun!!! :)


SDaniels Oct. 14, 2009 @ 10:14 a.m.

Good for you, Fishy! This is a really hard one, and I'll have to think about it for a while.


nan shartel Oct. 14, 2009 @ 10:26 a.m.

Day of the Dead Pikester..a day of remembrance isn't it...and reverence for family members gone on to that alternate place

please write a cogent blog about it if u consider it a worthy subject...i think the psychology involved is so much more uplifting then the Samhein view

the direct opposite of me would be ...a sweet lil ole lady who serves tea and biscuits at 4PM

altho that does sound yummy


CuddleFish Oct. 14, 2009 @ 10:42 a.m.

Day of the Dead Pikester???? When did this happen???? ;)


antigeekess Oct. 14, 2009 @ 11:25 a.m.

Re #19, I don't know where you're coming from with the "more uplifting" remark, nan. Samhain has a lot in common with Dia de los Muertos. I doubt that the Pikester knows enough about either to be doing blogs on them, and Karl Marx isn't alive to consult. Perhaps one of the Baja bloggers will treat us to a competently written Dia de los Muertos blog. I think I know just the guy to do it. :)

But back to the subject of Samhain:

And one of the prettiest little webpages I've ever seen, from a specifically Wiccan (neopagan) perspective:

"Hoof and horn, Hoof and horn, All that dies Will be reborn.

Vine and grain, Vine and grain, All that dies Will live again..."

Nothing like a great big bonfire inside a cauldron, in the middle of a sacred grove, don't ya know?


Happy New Year!


FullFlavorPike Oct. 14, 2009 @ 12:29 p.m.

^ This agro is uncool, yo. Let's try to keep things positive, yeah?


Joe Poutous Oct. 14, 2009 @ 12:40 p.m.

My opposite: google search "nick burns computer guy"...


antigeekess Oct. 14, 2009 @ 12:43 p.m.

re #22:

Are you talking about this:

"I doubt that the Pikester knows enough about either to be doing blogs on them, and Karl Marx isn't alive to consult."

Am I incorrect about something? Is it that you're an expert on Samhain or Dia de los Muertos, or that Karl Marx isn't your major influence where religion is concerned?

I thought it was a fairly legitimate observation, based on what I've seen from you thus far.

Please, correct me if I'm wrong.


PistolPete Oct. 14, 2009 @ 12:54 p.m.

ROTFLMMFAO @ Nick Burns:Computer Guy! I have a couple of friends back home who must idolize him.


PistolPete Oct. 14, 2009 @ 1:44 p.m.

Fish's video looks staged. The verdict is still out though.

This is so funny...


SDaniels Oct. 14, 2009 @ 1:57 p.m.

So far, we have:

CFish: nun Nan: sweet lil' ole lady who serves tea and cookies Joe: Nick Burns, annoying computer geek (SNL?) Pete: Milton (from Office Space) AG? A seriously unfunny person, perhaps. Nixon?

SD: My problem is that I am empathic enough to find something of myself in everyone (either that or pathologically narcissistic :), and have trouble thinking about a "direct" opposite.

I guess I'd be Ann Coulter. [shiver] If I can stomach it!!!!


SDaniels Oct. 14, 2009 @ 1:59 p.m.

re: #30:

It is staged. I saw an expose on it, and an interview with the director of it. It was intended as a stealth promo for some flick. If you look closely, you'll see in the beginning a guy goes to hit a woman or vice versa with some heavy object, and it look fake, because it is.


SDaniels Oct. 14, 2009 @ 2:02 p.m.

I know, Pete, but it must be a direct opposite if it is making me that sick! :)


CuddleFish Oct. 14, 2009 @ 2:11 p.m.

Ann Coulter!! Oh, Lord, that is the creepiest!!


SDaniels Oct. 14, 2009 @ 3:42 p.m.

I'd better start practicing and getting in character, as All Hallow's Eve is nearly upon us:

Ann Coulter Paranoid Quotations of the Day:

I know Jesus Christ died for my sins, and that's all I really need to know.

If we're so cruel to minorities, why do they keep coming here? Why aren't they sneaking across the Mexican border to make their way to the Taliban?

They've hit us and we've got to hit back hard, and I'm not just talking about the terrorists.

Liberals become indignant when you question their patriotism, but simultaneously work overtime to give terrorists a cushion for the next attack and laugh at dumb Americans who love their country and hate the enemy.

We don't want someone who will get 98 percent of the vote. We want someone who will get 51 percent of the vote.

We've finally given liberals a war against fundamentalism, and they don't want to fight it. They would, except it would put them on the same side as the United States.

Liberals become indignant when you question their patriotism, but simultaneously work overtime to give terrorists a cushion for the next attack and laugh at dumb Americans who love their country and hate the enemy.

We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war.

While the form of treachery varies slightly from case to case, liberals always manage to take the position that most undermines American security.

I love to engage in repartee with people who are stupider than I am.

Had enough, peoples? :)

This has been the Ann Coulter Quotations portion of your day.

I'm going to have to find a long brassy blonde wig, and work on hardening my features and voice, Gorgon-like. ;)


PistolPete Oct. 14, 2009 @ 3:49 p.m.

My favorite was the quote about liberal soccer moms getting anthrax in the mail. I actually agree with her on that one.


SDaniels Oct. 14, 2009 @ 4:06 p.m.

I meant to include that one, but repeated another by mistake. Yeah, pretty funny. Dolts is dolts; it's a-dolt education :)


SDaniels Oct. 14, 2009 @ 4:08 p.m.

Oh yeah, Pete. You could dress up as Larry King or Rush and be "Ann's" companion. I am fairly certain the "man" will refuse to do it! :)


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