In reviewing my blog posts over the course of the semester, I found that one major theme developed linearly with each post: the inability of our society to face death for what it is, and how we have come to compensate for this inability. This theme appears in my first blog post in discussion of the source of fear in A Head Full of Ghosts. I discuss a particular scene which examples the general fear factor in the novel: the lack of knowledge and loss of control of the situation. The invent of technology and the resulting rapidity with which information can be shared has made our society impatient for knowledge. Thus, when we cannot decipher or exert a certain degree of control over the situation, we not only feel uncomfortable, but may also experience fear. The topic of death is one about which we as a public know very little, which may be why it is something we fear more than most anything else.
In my second post, I build on the idea of fearing death and the societal discomfort we have with the idea of our own mortality. In analyzing “Deadset,” we read a piece which demonstrates how the zombie gothic genre presents zombies in a way which targets our negative feelings about death, but at the same time, dehumanizes zombies enough to appease those anxieties. Another example of this strange fixation yet denial is seen in reflecting on death photography. We, as a society, enjoy watching violence and death of others, whether fictional or not, via TV and movie media. Both the zombie and TV/movie example highlight how humans are much more inclined, if not motivated, to confront death and mortality if at a distance, rather than concerning themselves.
A final way in which humans’ discomfort with death appears is in the commodification and profit derived from the death of others. For the last unit or so of class, we focused on the profit made off of the franchise of the dead, either via memorialization or legal action. What better way to mask our discomfort with something as common and inevitable as death, than by pursuing thing we value second to, if not on par with life? Making money off of death not only takes our own minds off of mortality, but also gives a defensive (and self-convincing?) air of nonchalance .
In sum, my blog posts seem to center around the general discomfort our society holds towards death, and the numerous ways in which we compensate for this discomfort either via technology or other material objects.