Because I am in the mood, and my thesis prospectus was approved, and this gives me a happy, here’s the first paragraph of said prospectus. (This may disapparate at any moment. Oh, Capriciousness!)
Steeped in collision and disjuncture; connoting both the grisly and the fantastic; combining the aberrant and the quotidian: the modern construct of the grotesque synthesizes contradictions. Encoded in the notion of the grotesque is a crucial ambivalence; the reader (or, in this case, viewer) is pulled between the incongruous notions of horror and comedy, the tendency toward both empathy and revulsion, and the disharmonious simultaneity of both delight and dread. Though related to and often coexisting alongside literary modes such as satire and parody, the grotesque insinuates itself further into narrative fabrics than its cousins by creating this cohabitation of the absurd and the monstrous within a realistic framework that subverts and expands our conception of what is real. This is a crucial notion for modern conceptions of the grotesque; the grotesque exists not within the realm of fantasy and dreams, but is instead grounded in our own reality, where it gains its power by illuminating the contradictory structure of the world with its concomitant comedic and monstrous nature. When such elements are not sublimated through the filter of fantasy, the grotesque is shown to be an inextricable part of our world. As Philip Thomson notes, the grotesque becomes a way of depicting reality in a manner that provides a fresh perspective, illuminating the strange and unsettling elements of the world that exist around us rather than relegating these discomfiting aspects to the realm of the fantastic (n.p.).
And then I go on to discuss the films of Sofia Coppola. Natch.