Home - Somewhere

Slayers of Boogey Men, pt.1


Luckily this one was a pretty easy one for "Data gathering". Our collected narratives are chocked full of stories of these characters that take on an epic nature. You see the first and strongest thread when you look at the narratives of mythology and literature and their modern day equivalent: movies. In this archetypical story there is the protagonist of the story, the hero, who is the proxy for the audience, and then there is the greater-than character. The protagonist either follows or is swept up with the greater-than character and ultimately gains his power in some way. At that point either the protagonist (Hero) parts ways with the greater-than character or the greater-than character is revealed to be not greater-than or somehow ill-equipped to deal with default world that the Hero must return to. I believe that Joseph Campbell would call them "Guides".

A few examples: Mary Poppins for the kids, Han Solo or Obi Wan for Luke Skywalker, Ferris Bueller for Cameron, Willy Wonka for Charlie, Capt. Jack Sparrow for Will Turner, Gandolf for Frodo Baggins, Huckleberry Finn for Tom Sawyer, Peter Pan for Wendy, and Tyler Durden.

While the Hero is oblivious, scared, or at least out of their element, the Guide always seems to know that things are going to be fine or they at least know what's going on.

Then there are the first person characters who charge into the Verboten and then come back to tell us about it. We'll call these the Raconteurs. For example: Hunter S. Thompson or Dos Equies' The Most Interesting Man in the World. It's a similar relationship, in that the Guides take our proxy selves on a real adventure and the Raconteurs take our real selves on a proxy adventure.

Let's look at our examples...

First, in all of these examples the Verboten isn't strange to the Guide or Raconteur-- or at least if it is strange, "Strange" is not abnormal. For them the Verboten, whatever it may be: the jungle, the rock'n'roll world, the war, the big city, is normal. For the Hero/audience/reader, the Verboten is unknown and dangerous... and probably dangerous just because it's unknown.

Next, the Guide seems to have a license to be weird. It's accepted that they are not of our world and that what we find different about them is fine because in their own context they aren't weird. That kind of weird is a weakness.

The Raconteur can turn on and off the strange. In fact the thing we love about a Raconteur is that they can put on the strange as they head out and take it off and leave it in the entry way when they come back in with these great stories of peril, danger, insanity, and all of the other things we couldn't handle in our own house. We vicariously live through them and like the Guides, they too can be wildly strange but are forgiven because they are from wherever the story was that we weren't.

There are other characters that aren't superior and respectful like The Guide or the Raconteur, but are just crazy, fun and we love them for this same magical reason. Example: The Jackass guys or the cast of Animal House. It may be a stretch, but I'll enter this file of evidence under another archetypical label from Joseph Campbell: "The Trickster".




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