You know, Halloween is fast approaching. The day when parents encourage little boys to dress like little girls and little girls to dress like whores and go door to door brow-beating hard working Americans into giving them free food. Well you know what, western Ohio? We’ve lost the true meaning of Halloween: Fear. Halloween is that magical day of the year when a child is told their grandma is a demon who’s been feeding them rat casserole with a crunch garnish of their own scabs. Children must know fear; without it they’ll try frenching a grizzly bear and will consider living in Florida… Moms, skip trick-or-treating this year and instead sit your little toddlers down and explain daddy’s a hungry zombie and before he went out to sharpen his pitchfork, he whispered to mommy that you look delicious. — Sue Sylvester
Fear: the discipline wielding weapon of subliminally dictatorial governments and their mass media cohorts. Fear is a bridle of control intent on debilitating, confusing and coercing. Fear is relative to age and experience. When we are babies we fear separation. When we are children we fear the proverbial monster in the closet. When we are teens, we fear… pretty much everything; friendless-ness, dorky-ness, awkward-ness, virgin-ness… life in general – so much so that pushing boundaries often comes at the expense of the conformist attitude that is required to get through High School. And, the resulting non-conformity is a sure sign of friendless-ness, dorky-ness, awkwardness and virgin-ness (because life is that reductive when you are sixteen). Unless, of course, the non-conformists (and a couple of wannabes) band together for a higher purpose, aka the Glee club – then the ‘loner, nerdy, virgin’ outcast kids become a version of ‘okay’ within the context of a group.
The Glee club pushes the High School boundaries of what is acceptable to the herd, which opens Glee members up to a world of slush-in-the-face. Glee’s Rocky Horror episode was a great reminder of the importance of pushing boundaries, which comes with a fair warning from our favourite Coach Sue to the Damien Hirsts of the world:
Just because you’re free to say whatever you want doesn’t always mean you should. Artist are free to push boundaries to make art but when pushing boundaries is their only aim the result is usually bad art.
Art, of course, is entirely subjective, openly relative and therefore entirely debatable… but that is an argument for another day. Back in 1975, The Rocky Horror Picture Show aimed to provoke, bewilder and accuse. Through comedy and parody, Richard O’Brien’s musical stageplay drew attention to society’s rather frigid perceptions of sexuality – homosexuality, transsexualism and sexual deviance in general, to be exact.
On a different day and in a different time, Glee performs a similar function. A parody of the whole High School Musical phenomenon, Glee explores popular culture and modern society from the perspective of a group of High School kids who are being moulded by the very society on which the show comments. Political correctness is shown to be a farce and soppy High School melodrama is juxtaposed with the conundrum of conformity within the High School context. As with ‘Rocky Horror’, Glee appreciably reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.
The Show encourages us to adopt a ‘Rocky Horror’ attitude to life – to push boundaries and FEAR NOT the consequences. And Glee says that if you are afraid to take that risk alone, then join a group and shun mediocrity en masse. And if you are still afraid, violence is a great way to assert identity and eschew the sheep. In the words of Becky;
Give me some chocolate or I will cut you!