Apologies to my daughter and her friends - the internet is not all new and shiny – I wish it was.
My daughter used to get really aggravated when I would point out that her favorite video or song was actually a remake of something older. If I even implied that Disney and others took some creative license with classic stories to make new movies, the reaction could be volcanic.
As a teenager my daughter is exposed to some very powerful online evil. These too are a variation on old hateful patterns. Technology has given the Hydra a few more heads, but it is mostly more of the same nastiness, and not so much new.
Updated monsters from our past stalk the internet:
Dorian Gray, whose destructive behavior eats away at him as much as everyone around him.
Dracula with a hunger for draining the life essence from its victims in order feel alive.
Lawrence Talbot who, uncontrollably, changes into a wolf which is compelled to destroy all the man himself loves.
Dr. Jekyll; A brilliant scientist who becomes dependent on an evil self he has created through the best intentions.
And Frankenstein, who becomes whole from an imperfect amalgamation of components, yet never feels complete or belonging.
There are many more examples from more recent human and social reflections in movies, books and made for TV videos. There is the string of other-worldly badness and I could go for pages about Steven King, HP Lovecraft and other devotees of our collective darkness. The Thing, IT, The Blob; some things shouldn’t be embraced or they change you.
It is all there. The blueprint we have taken and modernized. What is new are the ways we have found to bring hate into sharper focus and push it into our neighbor’s faces louder and more frequently than ever. New messaging, not new messages.
Our intellectual, cultural, creative and social history has taught the evil and hateful how to do their worst. Our parables tell us, in every case, the only way to win is by confronting the monster. Apologies to my daughter and her friends – we have not got it right yet. It looks like we will be leaving you a lot of work to do.