THIS IS QUALITY
THIS IS QUALITY
trust my rage.
There’s a very distinct pattern in what one might, if one were being… incautious, name “Internet horror-speak,” a particular patois that’s arisen in the latest years of this very era, a peculiar dialect lashed together from the flesh of Lovecraft and the sinew of internet culture and the bones of… something bony. Okay so I’m probably not going to be able to keep that gag up. It’s the language of Dread SinglesHOT SINGLES IN YOUR AREA, TRAVELING THE SUNKEN WAYS, DRINKING FROM THE LIPS OF THE LOW ONES, WISHING THEY’D WORN MORE SENSIBLE SHOES
and Welcome to Night ValeMayor Pamela Winchell The fences in the caves. A heart throbbing for what it cannot have. A heart not having what it needs to throb. The fences in the caves. Heat from below and above, but all is cold betwixt. The fences in the caves. The fences in the caves.
to which I refer.
What interests me though is that’s there’s a very distinct pattern and sort of grammar to how this Internet Horror-Speak (hereafter IHS) works, one I’ve been trying to work out for a while now. There are some very obvious patterns, as well as some subtle ones I’m not sure how to put into words. These are the rules I’ve sussed out, though:
One of the most important rules, and I think the one that might be the most surprising to a lot of people, is to use simple, mundane language. Empurpling the narrative with gratuitous polysyllabisms and grandiose prose is actually wholly deleterious to the desired effect. This actually makes a lot of sense. Purple prose has a serious abstracting effect, in that it draws the audience away from the action and makes it sound more like they’re listening to a story. So using purple prose to describe your indescribable horrors can make them feel less real, where using everyday language helps connect the audience and make them feel more like there’s some grotesque violation of normalcy going on
Use fewer ‘s-constructions. Say “the blood of the fallen,” not “the fallen’s blood;” “the intestines of dawn” not “dawn’s intestines.” This is a less solid rule, and it’s still possible to have a powerfully creepy effect with the ‘s-construction, particularly if the construction comes sentence-finally: “They beat them with sticks around which were wrapped dawn’s intestines,” but “They wrapped the intestines of dawn around thick oaken sticks.”
Use older words. “For” instead of “because,” “kin” for “family,” etc. If this makes them shorter than their modern counterparts, all the more effective.
Don’t use commas with conjunctions, just string conjunctions together. So “They laughed and writhed and screamed and died in the gaze of a smiling god,” but not *”They laughed, writhed, screamed, and died in the gaze of a smiling god.” This one’s variable, but I see the former more than the latter and to me it feels like it has more impact and is more visceral. The latter sounds more planned out, more official, more normal.
Use old-fashioned constructions. “The”+[adjective] constructions are a favorite, as are “the [adjective] one(s).” “The laughing ones steal away the dreams of the hopeful and feast on the teeth of the indolent,” “There are no innocent in this place, for to gaze on the Ancient Ones is to know that innocence is a lie, that blood and fear and corruption are the engines of all that breathes.”
Break word associations. If I start a sentence with “The toaster,” you’re probably going to expect something like, “the toasted fell off the counter,” or “the toasted exploded,” not “the toasted laughed” or “the toaster bled.” There are words we associate with animate things and words we associate with inanimate things, and mixing them up can lead to weird mental reactions. It’s why things like "SPANK HAIR — LICK EYES — WHISPER INTO ASS" are so funny. They make us build associations that we didn’t have previously. A toaster isn’t a thing that bleeds, and hair isn’t something you spank, so putting those words together tends to slightly mess with people and throw off our reading. Welcome to Night Vale does this SO MUCH.Cecil Wednesday has been canceled due to a scheduling errorCecil Here’s something odd: there is a cat hovering in the men’s bathroom at the radio station hereCecil Alert! The sheriff’s secret police are searching for a fugitive named Hiram McDaniels, who escaped custody last night following a 9 PM arrest. McDaniels is described as a five-headed dragon
Last but not least, be vague. Let your words imply terrible and alien machinations at play, let them hint at vast supernatural tableaux of incomprehensible splendor and horror hanging just out of sight waiting to be glimpsed, but don’t ever explicitly tell anybody what’s going on. I put this one last because even though it’s the most important, it’s the most obvious, and I think everybody already knows this about horror. But it’s worth noting that IHS generally dials this up way higher, to the point where it’s hard or impossible to tell what parts are literal or metaphorical. Take this sub-par example:Moving through the ashen ways of eons past, realms of fire and smoke and emptiness rising up and twisting around its path the beast walked on, burning all it perceived.
One on level, it’s possible that we’re talking about a minotaur arsonist who’s taking to the backroads during a forest fire to avoid the cops. On the other, we could be talking about some incomprehensible eldritch abomination warping its way through infernal dimensions outside space and time, ravaging worlds at its passing. Or anything between. I think this is probably the single most salient feature of IHS: its utter vagueness, and lack of proper context to distinguish the metaphorical from the literal.
But anyway. This is a fascinating memetic phenomenon and one I’d love to see some proper research done on this, beyond the idle musings of a lazy linguist with too much on her hands to spend time analyzing hard data.
whose idea was it to end this show
I can never go back, I can’t. I just can’t, I can’t.
Neville as eventual headmaster is very important to me though.
Neville, who thanks to his enduring friendship with Luna sees the vital importance of fostering interhouse relationships, downplays the rivalries between the houses without lessening the importance of intrahouse unity by pushing the Quidditch Cup and House Cup as more friendly competition than all-consuming-must-be-won-enimity and introducing other means of emphasising house pride for those students who are not athletically or academically talented to the point where they feel as though they’re making an important contribution to their house.
Neville, who has so much goodness and kindness in him, having a zero tolerance policy for bullying, by staff or students, and serious punishments set down in official school policy for anyone caught bullying or intimidating a student for any reason.
Neville, who saw first hand just how vital it is, throwing the Ministry-approved DADA curriculum out the window and working with the DADA teacher to build a useful curriculum based on his two most useful years of DADA classes, those being third, under Lupin, and fifth, under Harry.
Neville, who understands how hard it is not to be One Of Those Kids, ruthlessly digging out any elitest groups like the Slug Club and disbanding them.
Neville, who understands that sometimes the teachers don’t choose as wisely as they ought, introducing a democratic system for prefect and Head Boy/Girl selection.
Neville, who knows what it is to be the bottom of the class, making a point of introducing a voluntary tutoring system for students who are in the same position he once found himself in - and making certain that it’s well known that had such a system been in place when he was at Hogwarts, he would certainly have availed of it.
Neville, who is a hero and a marvel and wonderful, brave man, fostering that same bravery and goodness in every one of his students, fighting to help them become the absolute best people they can be regardless of academic talent or world-saving ability.
Neville, who is everything that Albus Dumbledore was not, setting to rights so much of the wrong Dumbledore allowed and sometimes encouraged in Hogwarts.
I keep thinking about this post.
Neville taking students who need a safe space for a walk on the third floor to show them how to get into the room of requirement should they ever need.
Neville appointing a muggle-born teacher to Muggle studies and making it a required class to graduate.
Neville overseeing the installation of wheelchair ramps and lifts throughout the castle, as well as hiring house elf aids to provide signing for any classes with deaf students in them.
Neville making sure that no student, no matter the crime, is ever punished by being sent into the forbidden forest.
Neville having a stern one on one with the sorting hat about its sorting methods and encouraging it to loosen its sorting criteria a bit.
I love this headcanon and I want you to know that there is actually critical theory behind these posts, notably Michael Ashley Stein and Penelope J.S. Stein’s article “Beyond Disability Civil Rights,” published by the Cornell University ILR School in 2007
Fandom stuff like this actually reflects and converses with ivory-tower academic theory and I fucking LOVE that because it’s such an accessible way for people to learn about social rights and activism