Perhaps the single best scholarly article title I have ever seen

[Contact Me] | [FAQ]

[Some "Dougisms" Defined]

[About Dickens of a Blog]

[Jump to Site Links]

Summary: Some scholarly journal articles have great titles. This one takes the cake, though...

BLOT: (29 Sep 2014 - 08:32:22 PM)

Perhaps the single best scholarly article title I have ever seen

In the midst of a half-hour reference transaction in which I tried to help a student find some answers to the question, "Why are so many iconic horror figures male?", I came across this humdinger of an article title, relevant to my interests, and maybe to yours:

For those who have access to such things, the full citation reads: HARRIS, JASON MARC. "Smiles of Oblivion: Demonic Clowns and Doomed Puppets as Fantastic Figures of Absurdity, Chaos, and Misanthropy in the Writings of Thomas Ligotti." Journal Of Popular Culture 45, no. 6 (December 2012): 1249-1265.

And, it must be said that it contains absolutely Ligottian lines like,

The clown in Ligotti is not simply a marker of reversals, disorder, and chaos in the universe but rather exemplifies the fragmenting dynamic of Ligotti's misanthropic metaphysics where entropic madness disintegrates rational identity.


Or is this question "is everything all right," a question that echoes from the empty horizons of the absurd universe to shake our minds into the maddening realization that we must ever avert our eyes from: that surely everything is not all right, much—if not all—of creation is wrong, terribly wrong.

Some interesting notions about how humor in horror is not only subversive—since it twists both the definition of "humor" AND "horror"—but how certain tropes like clowns and puppets, tied closely to children's entertainment and gentle humor, also have roots in what is much closer to horror or, at best, morality plays with their heavy-handed insistence on sin, vice, and Hell. Then it ties it to Ligotti in the way he uses puppets and clowns and gas station carnivals and sometimes silly toybox concepts—see his recent "The Plastic People"—and then tells stories about loss and despair and the death of everything loved.

Thomas Ligotti


Written by Doug Bolden

For those wishing to get in touch, you can contact me in a number of ways

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The longer, fuller version of this text can be found on my FAQ: "Can I Use Something I Found on the Site?".

"The hidden is greater than the seen."