Larry Talbot and Modern Feelings

Wolfby Timothy Lane   11/11/13
“Even a man who is pure at heart and says his prayers at night may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” Aristocratic scion Larry Talbot had no idea how soon this would come true for him when an attractive shopgirl explained the meaning of the peculiar symbol on a nice can with a silver wolf’s head that he wisely purchased.

Today, most people would consider such an attitude unfair. If a good person can be turned into a monster not by his own choice but by evil fate (Talbot was bitten by a werewolf before he succeeded in killing it with his cane), then where is justice? It’s a good question, and sometimes the bitter answer is: nowhere. Innocent people are occasionally convicted of crimes, particularly by those who rely on Judge Lynch to determine the verdict and carry out the sentence. Meanwhile, guilty people are set free, to resume their crimes. (Anyone who wants a good example of the price paid by others for liberal jurisprudence is invited to study Ann Rule’s The Want-Ad Killer, about a monster named Harvey Carignan who was let go on a technicality and went on to commit a number of savage crimes, including several murders as well as some attempted murders.)

At a time when soppy notions of fairness and self-esteem are so dominant, perhaps more people (especially young people who are being deceived by all that folderol) need to see The Wolf-Man so that they can understand that fairness, however desirable a goal in one’s own behavior toward others, is nevertheless doesn’t always happen. Life isn’t always fair; maybe it isn’t even often fair. People need to learn this.

But one must also be careful not to go too far in the opposite direction. Commenting on William T. Sherman’s “War is hell” viewpoint (he may not have said it precisely, but he certainly expressed the same basic point on a number of occasions), former Confederate artillerist E. Porter Alexander noted that it depends on the warrior and contrasted Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania with Sherman’s invasion of Georgia (Alexander’s home state). Similarly, those readiest to point out the unfairness of life are all too often doing their best to make it that way. People should realize that life isn’t going to be inherently fair, but also that they can at least make it fairer than it otherwise might be without such efforts.

In other words, decent, ethical behavior helps improve the world, but – partly because of fate, partly because of the ill-will of those without ethics or scruples – they will never render it perfect. And people should realize, and act on, both points. • (829 views)

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4 Responses to Larry Talbot and Modern Feelings

  1. faba calculo says:

    They say that brevity is the soul of wit.

    Well played, sir!

  2. Glenn Fairman Glenn Fairman says:

    And yet, if justice as fairness is merely conventional or the product of blind happenstance, why does its negation so scald our sense of propriety? If there is a thirst for justice hard-wired into our beings, then such longing and outrage makes perfect sense. But as the naturalists and materialists claim that it is merely nomos, why do we have the laser beam like expectation of just desert? It is as if a blind man whose mind had been bereft of images should desire the full palette of colors and whose heart would not be still unless they were his to have.

    Lon Chaney Jr’s fate is to desire justice and yet to commit injustice as a monster unable to resist craving his prey. In becoming animal, he leaves the realm of moral action only to return to his moral senses with the waning of the moon – drenched in blood and the sickening realization that terrible things were wrought by his hands (paws).

    In reality, humans are accountable and no elixir or curse can take that from us. A Mengele is a Mengele, despite the Hegelian based excuse that singular necessity called for the breaking of eggs or the “close following of orders.” It is in the theatre of the moral that monsters are made, and any claims to fatal compulsion are just the narratives of adolescents told at a camp fire. A very nice piece.

  3. Kung Fu Zu says:

    Interestingly, Buddhism, at least small wheel Buddhism, is based on live being extremely fair in the sense that one reaps what one sows. Therefore any ill which befalls a person is due to past sins.

    I believe this is one reason social justice has not been a major political force in much of Asia. This is one reason it is so strange that a completely Western import, Communism, found such purchase in China and N. Korea. Of course, in large part, Communism is being used as a facade for old style authoritarianism.

    • Glenn Fairman Glenn Fairman says:

      The Karmic Wheel might be considered just if the mechanism in which we shed ego and sin were in fact true, otherwise it becomes a Hegelian apologetic—-the Real is the Rational- to justify any inequality or horror as penance for past cycles—-very convenient if you are on top of the heap.

      It seems to me that the dictums of the Nazarene filter justice and morality through a more radical lens: love your enemies, the first shall be last—these are antithetical to the self-interested mechanisms that drive human action, and in fact, are considered the transcendent nihilism of a slave morality to the Nietzschean eye. A different take on the extinguishing of Self.

      The annihilation of personality and being through an infinite form of eternal recurrence, and then the absorption into the amorphous Godhead is certainly different than a teaching that says it is given a man once to die, and then the judgment. Christianity is the fulfillment of personality in its most developed form, since we are never fully ourselves until we are fully integrated with our source—little polished mirrors whose purpose is to reflect the light as we discover the illumination that brings joy, and by which we have no true rest apart from Him.

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