When I was a child, we had a VHS (Some of my younger readers will be confused by this. It’s like a DVD, except it’s on a sheet of flammable stuff that gets tangled in the player.) of Watership Down. Why did my generations parents do this?
This video had a fabulous case. A dark cream base, with a bleeding sun, and a black shadow of Bigwig the rabbit caught in a noose, blood coming from his mouth and neck. The sun hung in the top, bleeding into the fields of death on the back. It was terrifying, and I loved it. I watched it repeatedly, until one day the celluloid gave up the ghost and it had to be put away, with all the other traumatising films, like Bambi, Dumbo and Pinocchio.
I bought it again, on DVD (back in the 21st century now!) and felt cheated by the case. No more blood, no more bleeding sun, no more terror. Just some happy looking bunnies on a field, General Woundwart, with his busted eye, faded in a regular sun. What the hell? How is that preparation? Little bunnies give no hint to horror lying within, where’s the clue?!
I watched it again, and experienced the horror of the holes being filled in and gassed again, and it shook me, for a good few minutes. So I decided to cheer myself up with some Disney. Why? Because I’m an idiot who didn’t pay attention to my inner voice screaming “NOOOOOO!”. Dumbo, with the pink elephants, the song that gets stuck in my head every time. Or Pinocchio, with it’s horrifying donkey transformation scene, or Monstro the whale, a really quite scary thing as an adult, even a little scary for a child.
But these things were entertaining for me a child, they were things that gave me hours of fun. They may have only been about an hour long, but they felt so much longer. I devoured these slices of broken reality with relish, over and over.
A thought occurred to me, while getting a bit trembly and edge of seat, at the scene in Pinnochio, where they escape from Monstro and he chases them through the ocean. The whale makes a shouting noise, one I never noticed as a child, but I heard it this time. There don’t seem to be any words, but the intent is clear; a hate-filled diatribe of rage. It goes beyond simple words, as words don’t seem to be able to contain that brain-chilling hatred, made potently clear, but only when you become an adult.
That’s when I was struck by a thought: Why do we develop such strange fears as adults? As children, if we have been given no reason to fear dogs, spiders or heights, we tend not to develop such fears until later in life. When we get bitten, fall or get shocked by a sudden web, which is, let’s face it, the greatest karate teacher in the world, then we start to develop a fear of them. There are some who develop what are known as irrational fears, such as clouds, buttons and cotton wool, but those are still not understood.
But as we age we encounter, what are affectionately known as, ‘arseholes’. Sadly, these arseholes are a strange species, a breed unto themselves. Strange to the average homo sapien, they cheat and lie, steal and betray, leaving a trail of emotional, mental, spiritual and physical destruction in their wake. No-one knows the exact time that arsehole sapiens evolved, it’s thought they appeared a little after homo sapiens, but it’s still not been proved scientifically. These strange creatures have, sadly, started to outnumber the basic homo sapiens, to an alarming degree, as they breed more voraciously and spread further afield, though occasionally taking over a whole town, Brighton, for example.
Unfortunately for the humble homo sapien, the arsehole tends to want to create other arseholes, and has found an odd way of doing this, much akin to the breeding patterns of the strangler fig. Instead of actively creating a new human of the arsehole variety, they have discovered that if they attach themselves to a human, become a friend or neighbour, then strike, they have a high success rate of creating an arsehole, or the other species: the feary sapien.
Very closely related to the homo sapien, the fear sapien has been infected with a mental disease that makes it fear all other sapiens. The arsehole disease will either turn a sapien into an arsehole, to a greater or lesser extent, or will make a feary. The feary can be identified by it’s pale appearance and untrusting nature, it will rarely engage in new hobbies with new people, for fear of another arsehole being present. The arsehole (infected) can be identified by its wavering addiction to arsehole-juice. It may occasionally develop a conscience; stopping it from kicking animals to death, keying cars, abusing others, lying for self-gain or other nefarious deeds.
A true arsehole will never be bothered by such things; they will clamber over any and all in their path, purely to fuck another human over. Sadly, there seems to be no cure, apart from self-cure, holding against the ravages of arseholes and generally fighting the arsehole within.
P.S. I don’t really think Brighton is wholly populated by arseholes, but you have to admit, it does have quite a few!
P.P.S. In fairness, every town has too many arseholes.
P.P.P.S. Sorry Brighton.