Reckoning Final Draft .docx - Sebastian Camacho Professor J...

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Sebastian Camacho Professor J. Livingstone Writing the Essay November 14 2016 Traditional versus Innovative Thought “The monster is born only at this metaphoric crossroads, as an embodiment of a certain cultural moment - of a time, a feeling, and a place” (Cohen 455). With this realization in “Monster Culture , ” Jeffrey Jerome Cohen theorizes that humankind’s embodiment of monster culture is built from the crossroads of human thinking , where innovative thinking challenges traditional thinking and vice-versa. Traditional thinking is the true origin of monster culture that deviates from and creates differences, the innovative thinking monster, in society. Humans are constantly changing the intentions of their meanings and actions ; these actions are not only the cause for monster culture , but also the subconscious selling point. With every arrival of new and potentially eradicating revolutions to the world, traditional thinking is challenged by the “ontological liminality” of the innovative monster, that is, “the ambiguous nature of its existence” (Cohen 458). The binary thought here is there are two opponents involved in monster culture: the traditional established thinking versus the dangerous innovative thinking with the latter being oppressed by the former. In the beginning of his essay, Cohen states that his seven theses are a way toward “understanding culture through the monsters they bear” (Cohen 455).This bearing culture of monsters is reflected in modern day society through many instances. Cohen further analyzes the characteristics of monsters and thoroughly illustrates examples of specific monsters that society has built fear for. Although , the underlying idea he introduces is that monster culture is formed
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by the tension between monsters of innovative thinking challenging the monsters established by traditional thinking. This same idea can be used to say that “monster” is a metaphor for the various kinds of differences that caused the prevalence of discrimination in history and in today’s society. Cohen deems that innovative monsters “ask us how we perceive the world, and how we have misrepresented what we have attempted to place. They ask us to reevaluate our cultural assumptions about race, gender, sexuality, our perception of difference, our tolerance towards its expression. They ask us why we have created them” (Cohen 466). Cohen is clearly pointing out that these differences, discriminated so recurrently by traditional thinkers, are the metaphorical monsters seeking reconstitution of the values normalized by society. These differences can be genetic, such as race and sex, or inventive, such as technological advances. However, Cohen also introduces another kind of monster, the one of traditional thinking that “paradoxically threatens to erase difference in the world of its creators…the monster threatens to destroy not just individual members of society, but the very cultural apparatus through which individuality is constituted and allowed” (Cohen 461-62). These kinds of metaphorical “monsters” range from a
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