The Dark Series: G, PG-13, R, and NC-17

Posted by William Davies King on Sunday, February 7, 2016.

I have not been idle (though idle hands do the devil's work, which has appeal), but it has been a while since I have reported new bibliolage. It's like the move from feature films to long-form tv drama, and my Breaking Bad has been a series of "Dark" bibliolages, generated from Lemony Snicket, of course.

It was at the wonderful Strand Bookstore in Greenwich Village that I first encountered the 2013 book by Herr Snicket, called The Dark.

A children's book, with the usual creep-hint of Mr. Unhandler, illustrated by Jon Klassen (Caldecotted I Want My Hat Back meister), this volume dealt with fear of the dark on behalf of its secondary character, a kid named Laszlo.

Laszlo has an antagonist, the main character Darkness.

The book seems drenched in jet.

And the noir is, we fear, not 'oir' friend.

What could be so bad about lightlessness is all about where the imagination goes.

On our general fear of the dark, I love Alfred Alvarez's book Night: Night Life, Night Language, Sleep, and Dreams (1995).

But I look at Laszlo, and I know there are more immediate experiences of the dark, not all associated with fear, into which he would shine his flashlight beam.

My early experience of adult writing I pretended to have read was Pauline Kael. Her life "in the dark" was about watching the movies I could not.

Instead, I could skim her reviews in the weekly New Yorker and hope to find a suggestive paragraph about the forbidden, the dark, especially the forbidden dark as was coiled in my desires.

Access to the dark was graded by the Motion Picture Association of America's film rating system.

Which is a system of aging, by which you go from Generality

To Parental Guidancing. Thirteening. Pretty-much G.

To Restriction. (Ribald? Randy? (In the) Raw?)

To Seventeening. (No children under)

Originally X, which was such an enticing letter, it had to be Restricted. Only the marketers who knew NC-17 was going to prove dull understood the magic of X, which they tripled to XXX.

(More on that in a subsequent volume, perhaps not suitable for this blog.)

Laszlo seemed to know these scary and enticing recesses lay ahead.

With his torch, he dared to look under.

To go downstairs.

So I bought half a dozen volumes of The Dark, and four of them unfurl here.

A G.

A PG-13.

An R.

An NC-17.

I have some ideas about where to go with the other two, but for now, this is the set.

More on the Creaky Shelf. 

G

PG-13

R

NC-17

 

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