Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Good Word Revived

 It’s been some time since I’ve had occasion to use the word “grotesque,” but it’s made a dramatic comeback in the last few weeks, and I have television to thank for it.

Two separate instances brought it to mind, one suggesting it as an adjective and one as a noun in the architectural sense.

The first was an ad for an insurance company in which a distraught individual sees his car as his baby. We’re  not just talking figure of speech this time; it’s an actual infant, several times life-size -- about the size of a car. When the car is damaged we’re spared any blood, thankfully, but when repairs are completed he is reunited with his oversize baby.

This is a literal manifestation of an idea neurotic in itself, the whole thing qualifying as grotesque for me.  

In the other instance, three gargoyles sit in judgement of supplicants asking them for money to fund businesses; a hillbilly “Shark Tank” (itself a power trip for some rich people to dominate some poorer people). This group is from Texas, which may explain things. Apparently people in Texas you might not expect to have money have it. In any large Eastern city these three would be told by police to move along, but here they’re in charge.

I have no complaint against them; they’re just good ole boys having fun and looking to make an extra buck off someone else's idea. It’s the situation. If they're all real and not actors, I pity the poor sods who decide, or are forced by circumstances, to grovel in front of the three for money; and I blame programmers or producers or whoever put it on television. Or maybe it’s the television audience. People must be watching it, which encourages sponsors to sponsor it, which keeps it on the air.   

I’ll admit it: my tastes may be too refined for the times. I see financing a business as a discussion  between an individual and a banker, not Christians and lions. I think a  car is a tool for getting you from here to there. I don’t care how much you’ve paid for it; it’s still a hunk of metal. Equating it to a living thing could be the first lurch down a slippery value slope. How much will it cost to replace baby's headlight if I hit the blind man in the crosswalk?