‘ Why Frankenstein is the story that defines our fears’ BBC Culture
‘ One night during the strangely cool and wet summer of 1816, a group of friends gathered in the Villa Diodati on the shores of Lake Geneva. ‘We will each write a ghost story,’ Lord Byron announced to the others, who included Byron’s doctor John Polidori, Percy Shelly and the 18-year old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin.’
‘ As an allegory of our responsibility to children, outsiders, or those who don’t conform to conventional ideals of beauty, there isn’t a stronger one.’ BBC Culture
You will recall that the Frankenstein monster began as a peaceful creature until he was forced to react to the verbal taunts and harassment and fire of the villagers who feared him because of his differences.
One of the most recent television shows to explore what it means to be human is Westworld. The popular HBO program examines what it means to be human in the construct of robotics.
‘ Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous.’ Frankenstein Mary Shelly
And, so, we create Frankenstein’s today.
Those who we disenfranchise and shun and shutter and persecute and torture through our ignorance and our bias and our extreme prejudice regarding anyone who is different than us.
We, quickly, label those who seek asylum in our country as ‘animals’ and rapist and murderers.
Quietly and confidently we are certain that those in poverty and homeless and that those, smelly and dirty and frightening humans, that humbly ask us for a dollar for a hamburger or a blanket to ward off the cold…are shiftless and unfocused lazy humans.
We see the news reports that show the extreme suffering that our fellow citizens, from Puerto Rico, have undergone and the, verified, high death toll that ensued from the devastation of the hurricane that struck Puerto Rico…and we smugly attest that they do not seem to be willing to help themselves and pronounce our efforts to assist, our own people, as A+!
We see an African American driving a Mercedes and we know that….this could not be legitimate…and we stop them and examine how they are able to own a luxury automobile.
When the money gets tight in either state or federal government….our first cut is to the mental health programs….and the subsequent casting to the street…of the mentally ill…is not our problem.
We characterize a proud and noble people…as slow witted and shuffle footed…’step and fetch it’…and we lock our doors when they come near our automobile and we turn our head…when we are force to personally see one of their numbers…suffering…and we know that they are somehow inferior to us…and that is the way that our white and biased and selective god…intended…
When we yank a suckling child from his mother’s breast…because they broke our immigration policy…not even our law…and we frighten them and we lock them in a facility or a tent city…to make an example of our tough policy….
When the Muslim and the Jew and the Hindu and the Buddhist and the African and the Haitian…enter our country and become proud citizens of the United States of America…and the stares and the whispers and the finger pointing and the fire and the taunts and the hate…..
Remember, Frankenstein…was the doctor…not the creation….