*originally published September 2015
There are clear distinctions between being a news junkie and a political fiend, and I will wholeheartedly admit I am the former rather than the latter.
I have a bad habit of turning CNN on for background noise while gussying up in the morning or for background noise when I’m puttering around the house. To make matters worse, I’ll typically put the news back on after I return from work, keeping it on while I’m eating dinner. Usually, after an hour, I’ve had enough of death, decay, and destruction that spews out into the world around us (and I wonder why at times I am so melancholic, really!). But the news has become a bad habit for me.
At this stage of the game with the 2016 election approaching, my news junkie comrades and myself are constantly bombarded with political news all day, everyday. And even though I am a news junkie, I find politics so incredibly boring that I want to go to sleep before finishing this sentence. I keep up; I dip a toe in the giant pool that is the nonsense of Washington because it’s important to keep tabs on what’s happening, but Lord, I just find it so boring.
Since the beginning of fall, I’ve had an unhealthy infatuation with silent films, particularly horror films since Halloween is nearly upon us. I’ve made it a habit of watching TCM at night when I’m trying to fall asleep. There’s something calming about the black-and-white screen and the lack of auditory dialogue, especially when your entire day was spent in some form of verbal or digital dialogue with someone, and the scary movies from back in the day aren’t exactly pieces that will keep me up all night in pure terror.
I was never much for silent movies when I was growing up; I don’t even recall ever watching many black-and-white films. Like most children from the 90s, I need constant stimulation to justify my existence, so slowing down and focusing entirely on the storyline without the glitz and glam of special effects, surround sounds, and hunky actors is challenging to say the least. The melodrama of Old Hollywood is comical, and even though sometimes it is nauseating to see the old stereotypes and ideologies that dictated the early days of film, I largely feel like these films are brief glances into our history; look how far we’ve come, baby, now.
*Sort of spoiler alerts and creepy images ahead!
I totally get it. The Babadook is not the most terrifying film ever made, and I wouldn’t dare argue that. It definitely has its weak points, and for a film that is fairly unsolvable, things sort of brighten up pretty quickly at the end… a little too quickly for my liking. And yet, even with these weak points, I still feel it’s scary as hell. It’s probably just me that thinks this way, partly because I’m a giant chicken.
I never watched scary movies growing up because I have always despised being scared. I hate that electric shock that shoots through the spinal cord when terror slips into the gut and the brain comprehends that it is far too late: some creepy shit is about to go down. I still don’t really care for being scared, but spooking myself has become a sort of exercise in exposure therapy; I baby step my way to coping with the unknown that might be lurking at the bottom of the basement stairs or under my bed or behind the shower curtain. I don’t care if I’m twenty-five years old. I’m still going to sprint up the stairs from the dark, creepy basement, and I probably will for the rest of my life. Full disclosure.