On the surprising conservatism of “progressive horror”

Nosferatu: a Symphony of Horror (1922).

“Climate of the Hunter is an Atmospheric Slow-Burn that Skewers Patriarchal Hierarchies & Misogyny,” declares the headline of a review for the 2019 arthouse vampire flick by director Mickey Reece. Throughout the review, the author focuses on the social commentary of the film, and finds it to be the best part: “the most fascinating aspect of Hunter is the way it talks about misogyny. Wesley [the vampire] personifies entitlement and toxic masculinity in a way that feels real and not at all heavy handed.”

There’s no mention of slicing or dicing, blood or guts, or even scares or thrills; the…

Ric Royer, #ricroyer
Ric Royer, #ricroyer

In many ways, my personal experience with life after public shaming has gone exactly as one might expect: depressing, painful, and weird. Yet, at some point over the past three years, after managing the existential crisis of fractured identity, and learning to refrain from scratching at the phantom limb of my reputation, I’ve noticed something strangely liberating about it too. I no longer struggle to reconcile my blue-collar background with my former aspirations of being a successful and cool artist; I no longer find it necessary to cultivate the avant-garde persona of an active performance artist and theatre director. …

From disdain for regulations, to passion for bureaucracy, notes on day tripping during the coronavirus.

I can’t say that the Berkshires is the first place that would normally come to my mind when I think of a nice little getaway, but what I can say is that from where I live in upstate New York, it’s the closest place where you can legally buy recreational cannabis.

I’ve traveled probably more than I should have over the past year, sometimes for work, other times for mental health escapes, and, on this occasion two-day excursion, for weed gummies. Every city, every town…

Ric Royer reviews Lisa Carver
Ric Royer reviews Lisa Carver

There is a moment in her new book The Pahrump Report , when Lisa Carver responds to a question about her occupation by answering: “I am a writer.” Yet in that moment, the word “writer” struck me as a lacking descriptor for all that Carver does in creating a written work of art.

The book chronicles a dizzying three-year period of Carver’s life, as she moves across the country with her husband, builds a home, gets divorced, rents an apartment, falls in love, gets betrayed, tries doing stand-up comedy, visits a brothel and has several other Pahrumpian adventures. …

If you’ve spent enough time on social media, you’ve probably experienced it: someone you know begins to exhibit signs of mental instability for everyone to witness in the spotlight of social media. It could be an unsurprising turn from someone who has always struggled with mental illness, or an unexpected spiral from someone who always seemed stable to you, or maybe just a temporary panic attack. We tell ourselves it’s so hard to watch, but sometimes we also can’t seem to look away, and don’t always know how to help. …

One of my neighbors is that type who was born and raised in the Hudson Valley, but since she had a taste of living in Brooklyn for four years, she calls other locals “townies”. Last night, she brought up her perceived difference between the local discount store that she loves and the Tractor Supply Co next door to it: “You can really tell who everyone is voting for by which store they go in. It’s all Trumpers at the Tractor Store, but at the discount store, it’s all black and brown people and democrats.”

Never mind the Trump 2020 merchandise…

Santa, coffee and QAnon in Buffalo, NY

Protests are all the rage of late, so the placard-gripping gathering out front Spot Coffee in Buffalo, NY last week seemed as normal as outdoor seating. Nothing I couldn't navigate through to get a cup of coffee. Spot Coffee is a liberal business in a fairly liberal city, so I assumed this was a liberal protest as well. But as I got close enough to see the signs and hear the chants, I realized that something was different.

THE REAL PANDEMIC IS CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING, read one sign.

NO MORE PIZZA PLOT POLITICIANS

I know this picture has been around the block already, but I can’t stop thinking about it. Can’t stop looking at it. Who is this woman? I know the answer is out there, but I don’t really want to know, let me wonder forever. The questions themselves are stretching the capacity of my imagination.

Who are you? Where are you? Do I hate you or do I love you? Why am I so intrigued? Are you so far left you’re right or so far free you’re gone? Are you just fucking with me? What will I find behind those sunglasses…

On Frank Sherlock and Redemption

At a recent writing conference, I attended one of the many similarly titled panel discussions that revolved around what “we” are supposed to do with the work/art of people/men who have behaved badly. During the question and answer session, a man in the audience stood up and introduced himself as a teacher in the prison system, teaching creative writing mostly to convicted sex offenders. He mentioned how he now regularly faces questions from his students about whether they should even bother writing or aspiring to be a writer, a new line of questioning that he’s…

OMG. Yesterday I found out that the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway stop — the one I get off at to go work — was where Michael Jackson’s video for “Bad” was shot. I decided that I could no longer support that stop by stopping at it, so I made plans to get off a stop earlier, at Lafayette, but then I found out that the stop is named after Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, who was a slave owner and fucking WARMONGER, so I thought instead I would just take an Uber from work, but we all…

Ric Royer

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