Scary monsters – and super creeps | Moment's Notice

By Maria Montalvo | Oct 27, 2017

David Bowie released the album and the song “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)” in 1980, at a time when music critics and friends said that Bowie’s worldview was becoming more desperate. Themes around politics, pretenders, and the lack of social will to demand change seemed to pervade many of his songs.

The title and select lyrics often come to me this time of year – Halloween and Election Day: “Scary monsters, super creeps, keep me running, running scared.”

Who are the scary monsters that make us uncomfortable, but help us face the fears that we need a little push to overcome? On the other hand, how do we identify the super creeps, the predators and self-interested opportunists who keep us up at night?

The subject is at the heart of a recently released Netflix film, “Requiem for the American Dream” featuring another hero of mine, Noam Chomsky (see “Moment’s Notice,” June 16). I highly recommend you watch the show this Halloween season since it demonstrates what we really have to be scared of – how inequality is “yielding” influence and power to the hands of a few.

Chomsky talks about how certain actors in society are focused on how “to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.” (Look up that quote. If you don’t already know who said it, you will be surprised to learn.)

Our American system allows us to rise up and demand freedom and opportunity, Chomsky posits, but it is an active pursuit, not a passive one.

The 1980s were another time of turmoil, with strong establishment reactions to what many perceived as overly active public activism. In 1982, just two years after “Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps),” Bowie released another song to sound the alarm, “Under Pressure” with Freddy Mercury and Queen.

They warned of how we were tearing each other apart, creating a world that hurt us and our fellow man, but also soothed with the hope … hope in action and always hope in love. Despite, “the terror of knowing what this world is about … love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night, and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves.”

This time of year, the line blurs between scary and creepy.

Two Halloweens ago, my husband dressed up as Donald Trump, what seemed like a good costume of a facetious candidacy. What seemed to be a representation of a scary monster has shown itself to be a super creep, someone willing to tear down anyone and anything with contempt and disrespect.

My husband shudders every time he thinks about that Halloween costume because of the election in 2016, but has redoubled his commitment to dare to care, as the song pleas.

We may not have a Trump on the ballot here in Edmonds in 2017, but we do and will continue to have important races on the city, county, state and federal level that need equal attention. In every election, candidates need to be evaluated not only on what they say, but what they have said and done in the past, and whether they have shown themselves to care about the community as a whole or just about themselves.

One of the best lines from that Bowie album so many years ago that offers a potential solution: “She asked for my love and I gave her a dangerous mind.” Although I believe my parents first inspired me to develop a dangerous mind, it is something that needs constant nurturing, and for that, I am grateful that my husband has given me love while challenging my head.

Think, think with that dangerous mind and question what you hear from the heroes, the lovers, the friends, the monsters, and especially the creeps.

 

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