gothic text

NHL Team Gothics
  • Anaheim Ducks: You turn on a Ducks game. The screen is white. It must be Ryan Getzlaf’s bald head, you think. You’re probably right.
  • Arizona Coyotes: You accidentally call them the Phoenix Coyotes. No one corrects you. You’ve never encountered someone with them as their favorite team.
  • Boston Bruins: Chara checks someone into the boards. That someone disappears into thin air. You wonder if they keep a list of people Chara has made disappear like that.
  • Buffalo Sabres: You constantly forget about their existence. Would they be more relevant if they had won the draft lottery and had gotten McDavid, you think sometimes. You forget about them again.
  • Calgary Flames: A Flames game gets interrupted. Someone yells that there’s a child on the ice. It turns out to be Johnny Gaudreau. Gaudreau eats a Snickers on the bench, and scores.
  • Carolina Hurricanes: The Canes are down 6-0. Jeff Skinner smiles at a ref. The Canes are up 6-0.
  • Chicago Blackhawks: Chelsea Dagger starts playing in the distance. Oh no. You start running. The music gets louder. Someone yells: “3 cups in 6 years”. You’re crying. You can’t hide.
  • Colorado Avalanche: Someone on their roster scores. You must be dreaming. They get a win. This can’t be real, you think. The world must be ending.
  • Columbus Blue Jackets: You blankly stare at the TV. You’ve lost count of how many times you’ve heard the cannon by now. You stopped counting after 10. Your team still hasn’t scored.
  • Dallas Stars: There’s a fan crying. “Our goalie situation is shit,” they sob. Another fan rubs their back. “At least Tyler Seguin is still hot,” they say. You roll your eyes.
  • Detroit Red Wings: You hear someone cursing Dylan Larkin. “Why can’t he score,” you hear them say. Crying, they cuddle up to their Yzerman hugging pillow.
  • Edmonton Oilers: “McDavid sucks,” someone says. Ten Oilers fans and Milan Lucic appear from nowhere. “You suck,” Lucic says and punches them.
  • Florida Panthers: There’s a ceremony before the game. Jagr is turning 70. Jagr scores the OT winner.
  • Los Angeles Kings: You make eye contact with Anze Kopitar. He looks dead inside. You nod at each other. What is Kopitar losing fate in, you think. You still relate to him.
  • Minnesota Wild: The Wild has a 10 win streak. It ends in a 0-1 loss to an irrelevant team. They start a new 10 win streak.
  • Montreal Canadiens: Carey Price breaks all his limbs. Therrien doesn’t pull him. Shea Weber positions himself on the ice. Al Montoya tells Weber to take the shot while maintaining eye contact with Therrien. Weber shoots. They hire their rivals’ old coach. You wonder if god is real.
  • Nashville Predators: You meet a fan. They’re crying. “How are you?” you ask. They keep sobbing. You notice they’re wearing a Weber jersey. You understand.
  • New Jersey Devils: You watch a Devils game. You can’t remember the score after it. You’re only convinced that Adam Henrique is not real.
  • New York Islanders: John Tavares gives an interview. He’s more plain and boring than you remembered. You can’t stop watching though.
  • New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist stops the game to have a photoshoot. The play continues. He’s not in the net. He makes a save. You don’t understand.
  • Ottawa Senators: “Ottawa Senators,” someone says. You have to think for a while. You remember Erik Karlsson. That’s it.
  • Philadelphia Flyers: No one has seen Jakub Voracek’s face in five years. His beard and hair just keep growing. No one knows how to stop the growth.
  • Pittsburgh Penguins: Someone accidentally says “Crosby.” In a minute, there’s someone with a peach emoji. You hear the words Phil Kessel is a Stanley Cup Champion at least once a day.
  • San Jose Sharks: Someone on their roster scores four times. Joe Thornton is somewhere, stroking himself. Despite the lead, Martin Jones sits on the bench with dead eyes.
  • St. Louis Blues: Tarasenko scores. Tarasenko scores again. You wonder if anyone else ever scores for them.
  • Tampa Bay Lightning: No one has seen Steven Stamkos in years. People wish for his return. No one expect nothing though.
  • Toronto Maple Leafs: “Matthews is better than Laine,” someone says. You keep quiet. It doesn’t matter if you agree. You’ll get attacked either way.
  • Vancouver Canucks: Henrik and Daniel Sedin have assisted each other in every goal they’ve scored. You don’t believe they’re two different people until you see them in person. Even after that you’re doubtful.
  • Washington Capitals: Ovechkin is in his spot. Everyone sees him, no one defends him. He shoots, he scores. In the distance, someone says: “Crosby is better.”
  • Winnipeg Jets: “Laine is better than Matthews,” someone says. You keep quiet. It doesn’t matter if you agree. You’ll get attacked either way.
Muse Gothic
  • You cut a slice of bread. Dominic Howard’s face is staring at you.
  • The aliens are coming. Late at night you can hear the sound of their spaceships. Matt Bellamy warned you about this. The zetas are filling the skies.
  • Someone asks what Muse’s genre is. You laugh and shrug. You will never know. No one ever will.
  • “Sit down”, the teacher says. Your brain becomes an endless loop of Dominic Howard shouting “Sit the fuck down”. You turn around. Matt Bellamy is behind you, laughing hysterically.
  • You’re at the Muse concert, clapping your hands. How did you get here? You feel like you just dropped from the sky. You look up. The drones are there.
  • Someone is following you on the street. You turn around. It’s Matt Bellamy. “Y’know 1984?,” he asks.
  • A friend asks you about Disney on Ice. “It’s like Disney, but on ice,” you explain. What does that even mean? You’re dead inside. 
North Carolina Gothic

you are invited to a party in a wealthy town. everyone there is from the north. yankees live in packs and groups. you do not trust them. they must be planning something.

the deer are in the garden again. the deer are eating something. it is winter, and nothing is growing right now. 

cheerwine is listed as a beverage option at a restaurant. you must order cheerwine. no one has turned down cheerwine since 1963. coincidentally, that was the same month people said the cheerwine looked redder.

you make the mistake of ordering iced tea on a trip out to the western US. you go into anaphylactic shock when you taste that it is not sweet.   

there are forecasts of snow. all the milk and bread is gone. when the snow hits everything stops. everything. stops.

march rolls around. you know what is coming. they know what is coming. the moisture suffocates the weak and drowns the strong. no one is truly safe. 

you smell something terrible. it smells like death. “it’s just the bradford pears”, you whisper. you say it again. you still don’t believe it.

you are choking. you are not surprised. you do nothing. you can not fight pollen. you can do nothing. you are still choking.

The Origins of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”

In 1815, the eruption of Mount Tambora plunged parts of the world into darkness and marked a gloomy period that came to be known as The Year Without a Summer. So when Mary and Percy Shelley arrived at the House of Lord Byron on Lake Geneva, their vacation was mostly spent indoors. For amusement, Byron proposed a challenge to his literary companions: Who could write the most chilling ghost story? This sparked an idea in 18-year-old Mary. Over the next few months, she would craft the story of Frankenstein.

Popular depictions may evoke a green and groaning figure, but that’s not Mary Shelley’s monster. In fact, in the book, Frankenstein refers to the nameless monster’s maker, Dr. Victor Frankenstein. So tense is the struggle between creator and creature that the two have merged in our collective imagination.

The book traces Dr. Frankenstein’s futile quest to impart and sustain life. He constructs his monster part by part from dead matter and electrifies it into conscious being. Upon completing the experiment, however, he’s horrified at the result and flees. But time and space aren’t enough to banish the abandoned monster, and the plot turns on a chilling chase between the two.

Shelley subtitled her fireside ghost story, “The Modern Prometheus.” That’s in reference to the Greek myth of the Titan Prometheus who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humanity. This gave humanity knowledge and power, but for tampering with the status quo, Prometheus was chained to a rock and eaten by vultures for eternity. Prometheus enjoyed a resurgence in the literature of the Romantic Period during the 18th century. Mary was a prominent Romantic, and shared the movement’s appreciation for nature, emotion, and the purity of art. The Romantics used these mythical references to signal the purity of the Ancient World in contrast to modernity. They typically regarded science with suspicion, and “Frankenstein” is one of the first cautionary tales about artificial intelligence. For Shelley, the terror was not supernatural, but born in a lab.

In addition, gothic devices infuse the text. The gothic genre is characterized by unease, eerie settings, the grotesque, and the fear of oblivion - all elements that can be seen in “Frankenstein.” But this horror had roots in personal trauma, as well. The text is filled with references to Shelley’s own circumstances. Born in 1797, Mary was the child of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. Both were radical intellectual figures, and her mother’s book, “A Vindication of the Rights of Women,” is a key feminist text. Tragically, she died as a result of complications from Mary’s birth. Mary was haunted by her mother’s death, and later experienced her own problems with childbirth. She became pregnant following her elopement with Percy at 16, but that baby died shortly after birth. Out of four more pregnancies, only one of their children survived. Some critics have linked this tragedy to the themes explored in “Frankenstein.” Shelley depicts birth as both creative and destructive, and the monster becomes a disfigured mirror of the natural cycle of life. 

The monster, therefore, embodies Dr. Frankenstein’s corruption of nature in the quest for glory. This constitutes his fatal flaw, or hamartia. His god complex is most clear in the line, “Life and death appear to me ideal bounds which I should first break through and pour a torrent of light onto our dark world.” Although he accomplishes something awe-inspiring, he has played with fire at his own ethical expense. And that decision echoes throughout the novel, which is full of references to fire and imagery that contrasts light and dark. These moments suggest not only the spark of Prometheus’s fire, but the power of radical ideas to expose darker areas of life.

From the TED-Ed Lesson Everything you need to know to read “Frankenstein” - Iseult Gillespie

Animation by Silvia Prietov

there’s this very specific aesthetic that I adore, but can’t really put a name to

it’s a jester in rich fabrics juggling fire, fog clinging to the last chill of night as a red sun rises, that feeling of immortal melancholy you get in a gust of wind, well worn tarot cards edged with gold, burning crimson embers drifting up into an inky sky