Mostly because I had other fish to fry. However, my experience writing SILVER BROWN (and subsequently 2021’s project for National Novel Writing Month, which was an offshoot of SILVER BROWN) came up as a topic whilst chatting with somebody I met once on one of those crazy apps. The conversation fizzled soon after I brought up the talking ferret, but it got me thinking about what kind of grand artistic endeavour I should tackle next. During the holidays, I spontaneously jotted down something in the notepad on my phone to that effect, which I’ll have to wait until the end of the academic year to pursue in earnest.
Author: X. Jupiter Hart
The Teacher Gave It a B+
I took a class in Abnormal Psychology this last semester. Had to take one elective outside the standard curriculum to advance to the next semester, and Abnormal Psychology was available as an option. So I took it, thinking it would be an interesting course to take. ‘Twas. Bumped into a few old acquaintances on the pages of that textbook. My final assignment was to submit a paper where I wax psychiatric about the biological horror masterpiece that is David Cronenberg’s The Fly. The professor would’ve accepted any memorable villain or antihero from a movie, so I opted to go all Sigmund Freud on the eponymous insect-human hybrid, on the assumption that Hannibal Lecter, Michael Corleone and Darth Vader would be done to death. Best homework assignment ever. Reminiscent of Grade 10 science, except I verbally dissected a Brundlefly. But why in the blazes doesn’t Disney+ have the sequel?
Now Kids, Put Down Your Guns and Let Me Tell You A Story
If you grew up in Canada and are of a certain age, The Hilarious House of Frightenstein was part of a complete childhood. I learned a few weeks ago that it is currently available for binge-watching on Tubi. Originally produced by CHCH-TV in Hamilton, Ontario in 1971, it aired for only one season. Yet that one season would be shown in syndication for nearly two decades thereafter, where it would find its way into the cockles of the collective heart of Gen X Canada. A sketch-comedy/sitcom hybrid for the whole family with a regular cast of oddball characters (most of which were played by the same actor), set in a medieval castle where Halloween never ended. A diminutive vampire character on this show (specifically the one who was always talking on the phone in Count Frightenstein’s coffin) allegedly served as the inspiration for Mini-Me of Austin Powers fame. Vincent Price was a regular contributor to boot…
One of the recurring segments on Frightenstein was Grizelda the Ghastly Gourmet, which was a take on TV cooking shows featuring a witch as the star chef. Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, I’ll just post a clip of one of those segments here…
Whilst watching Frightenstein at 4:20 the other night, I was suddenly reminded of how convincingly female Grizelda seemed to the sensibilities of my eight-year-old self. The fact that she was actually portrayed by a man in drag never dawned on me until junior high school. It might shock some people to hear this, but my young impressionable mind found nothing traumatizing or world-crushing about that revelation at all, and was even somewhat amused by it. You see, drag performers have been entertaining audiences young and old for literally centuries, and for most of our history it was actually possible to have a man in drag entertaining a group of kids without a permanently enraged mob of cultists throwing a violent temper tantrum.
I totally get that these cultists are out to avenge their dogmas. But it has to be said that the rest of us are not at fault for their own costly public relations failures, and their actions are thus unwarranted. Decades of sleaze, corruption, pointless scapegoating and trying to attract flies with vinegar (to say nothing of coöptation by a political party) arguably contributed way more to the recent spate of ecclesiastical bankruptcies than any drag queen. Drag queens don’t text dick pics to fifteen-year-old girls. Pastors do.