Why American Horror Story’s Freak Show slur IS suitable

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American Horror Story’s season 4 subtitle “Freak Show” has taken a pot shot at Politically Correct and its canting cronies, sending offendists crying home to their mommas, yet again. According to Howard Sherman, writing for The Guardian, those with disabilities (“the vulnerable”) are being “pushed back to the margins” because “‘Freak’ is a slur and ‘Freak Show’ is propagating it. Disabled people deserve better”.

Come. On.

Just a small fyi (Sherman and co); Horror IS offensive – by nature. Does this mean it gets away with murder? In short: yes, it does.

Intrinsically subversive, Horror uses extremities in the name of ‘social commentary’ – through the discourse of metaphor, satire, sensationalism, exaggeration and, yes, even history, Horror lays bare man’s yin. Cinema’s infamous bad boy abides by a standard typically untouched by the bonos mores of society; it is an entity unto itself, existing outside the ethics of non-discriminatory idealism. To sensor its substance would infringe upon its vitality and undermine its most significant purpose, which is to keep society in check by exposing its dark heart and exploring the chaos wrecked by sin if left untamed.

Ryan Murphy’s carny creation is not only spine-chilling, thrilling entertainment but it’s a historical snapshot. It’s a reminder.

Sometimes its good to remember. Even if it’s uncomfortable.

Yes, “Freak Show” is derogatory. Drawing attention to people’s innocent abnormalities by calling them “freaks” and paying money to gawk at their deformities is not society’s proudest moment is pretty darn shitty – but euphemising reality does not change fact, nor does it do any justice to those who suffered (and still suffer) under the abuse of misinformed conception and, more troubling, man’s perverse tendency to extract pleasure from the pain of others. Murphy, as clever and creative as he is, did not make all this up; he is merely drawing on a verifiable truth. American Horror Story “Freak Show” sheds light on a time forgotten, on a context little known – and yet it breathes familiarity with an acute and accusing irony.

But, hey! ‘accountability’ is THE cuss word of the modern era after all; denial is by far the best way to live and learn…didn’t ya know?

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