Sunday, 21 October 2012

I Will Fear No Evil

This is not a gamebook playthrough. The next one of those should be up some time tomorrow.  This is an attempt to make sense of my position on an issue related to the next several planned entries. A position that may well attract criticism from several different sides. But I feel the need to say something about it, so here goes...

I don't celebrate Halloween. A couple of alarming experiences I had in the 1990s leave me convinced that there are, for want of a better term, harmful supernatural forces. Yes, a lot of myths, monsters and spooks are just made up. Yes, there are perfectly straightforward and rational explanations for many so-called paranormal phenomena. But the existence of fakes doesn't automatically mean that there's nothing genuine.

I recognise that most of what goes on in connection with Halloween is just fun and games for children, and any dangers encountered by trick-or-treaters are liable to come from human sources. The festivities strike me as something akin to cigarette advertising: not inherently harmful, and at times very entertaining, but with the potential to add allure to something best left alone.

I'm not campaigning to have it stopped. I'm not siding with the Mary Whitehouses, the Jack Chicks and the book-burners. Their kind of overreaction does more harm than good. And I won't be spending October 31st cowering in fear, or treating the day as anything out of the ordinary. My faith in God doesn't fluctuate depending on the date. I'm just explaining why I don't 'do' Halloween.

Having said that, I acknowledge its cultural impact. I understand that telling a story about something isn't necessarily promoting that thing. And I cannot deny that my gamebook collection includes quite a few horror-themed adventures. In fact, if I wish to continue going through Fighting Fantasy in publication order, I have no choice but to cover one of its most prominent examples of the genre next. So, with the zeitgeist taking its annual detour through the darker parts of the cultural landscape, I shall be focusing on thematically appropriate gamebooks for the rest of the month. Regardless of the tone, they still present evil as something to be resisted, not embraced, and I don't have any issues with that message.

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