Go Forth & Nerd! Ep. 38 - King Kong
Welcome back to Go Forth & Nerd! This is Jesse Bray, also known as Mr. Bray and I am your resident nerd. Today I want to talk about King Kong.
Disclaimer I'm gonna be sharing a poem today - so you're about to hear another level of nerd you might not be aware of. Nonetheless I hope you enjoy!
What drives us to keep telling and retelling this tragic monster myth? I want to breakdown the elements within the story of King Kong that constantly grip my thoughts when thinking about this tale.
But first story time:
It was the 1980s and it seemed like Rod Stewart and Lionel Richie were on every radio station. Saturday morning was the supreme seat for cartoon viewing. However while I loved getting up at the crack of dawn to watch cartoons it was actually Saturday evenings that I loved best. Why because my absolute favorite show, hosted by none other than Grampa Munster - Movie Monsters! This was my first church, before I ever read a comic, even watched a Star Wars movie or even learned to read. Grampa Munster's classic horror movies were my addiction. At 5yrs old this is where I saw Dracula, the creature from the black lagoon, wolf man, Godzilla and my personal favorite King Kong! There was this magic to these films that raptured me! Even better than the bright lights of Duck Tales or Gummy Bears or even ThunderCats. These monster movies were exciting, and technically from my adolescent mind films that were too old for me to watch. However, being a cliche child of divorced in the 80s I had close to no adult supervision. Because of it I watched way way to many quote un quote scary movies. Nonetheless this exposure to King Kong permeated my young mind. Here he was the king of beasts of on a mysterious and hostile island - battling dinosaurs to eventually being kidnapped and brought to New York. We all know the story King Kong grabs his Barbie dolls so to speak and climbs the Chrysler building to only be shot down by cruel bi planes. This always upset me as a kid. For two reasons :
1. I loved King Kong kicking ass on his Dino island - that's where the action was!
2. King Kong falling for the girl seemed forced to me, even as a kid! It felt like someone was trying to make me watch one of those girlies shows my sisters liked so much! Yuk!
Obviously as an adult I've evolved a greater taste for romance, being a hopeless romantic myself, don't believe me ask my wife! Oh and remember there's poetry coming up ahead in this episode.
To me King Kong was this gentle misunderstood beast that though he was the King he really just wanted to be left alone. I could relate this to since I was a bit of a loner as a kid myself. I was always being pranked by my sisters, waking up to them having given me a makeover and dolled me up to them stealing my G.I. Joes and forcing him to marry one of their barbies! It was awful, I had to ceremonially give my action figures a mud bath to wash away all the cudies. Clearly all my 5yr old sensibility of what I thought was manliness was just an amalgamation from tv and films. King Kong to me was the ultimate loner macho man I had envisioned myself being. This was my first impression with the iconic creature and one I'll never forget it.
As I've grow older I started to dissect more about the elements within the King Kong myth that capture my attention. You see it's intriguing its that he's a giant. Giants are amazing! Almost every culture has stories of giants, Goliath from the Bible, to the Titans in the Greek mythology, to my personal favorite giant story from Norse mythology Ymir.
Ymir was a a great frost giant that when he was defeated the Norse gods built the world from his remains. Ymir's blood spewed out and caused a world wide flood, which rabbit trails here there'shundreds of ancient flood stories each having their ownsorta Noah type character. Back to Ymir's death - after the Norse God finished building the earth, hills, and valleys from the remains of Ymir's bones, and flesh there festered in the midst of Ymir's remains formless creatures - some vile and wicked and some gentle and magical. Odin at this point decided to give the beings of goodness fair complexions and bodies such as fairies and nymphs and to those of lesser goodness forms such as gnomes and dwarves to those of ill forms as goblins and trolls. In this myth not only does it encompass the origin of the earth, and its events it also covers the creation of many creatures. I shared this all to illustrate that giant myths are always awe inspiring for two things: Creative or Destructive forces!
King Kong is clearly a destructive force while set loose in New York.
While Ymir's corpse is a creative force used to make the world.
If you're lucky to remember the old Paul Bunyan children's books by Stephen Kellogg they were tall tales with an American backdrop that tell of a lovable giant lumberjack that partnered with his trustee blue ox to create things like the Grand Canyon by accidentally dragging his axe across the ground. Giants are a creative or destructive force! And it's for this reason I believe even when holly wood seems to be shelling out another, popcorn flick we're so fascinated by this power! And power is entertaining to watch!
Before I had ever heard tales about Ymir, or the Titans I used to spend countless hours daydreaming looking out the window while in the car on long road trips. I used to imagine that all the rocks, hills, and mountains where giants nestles under sheets of dirt. It's wasn't hard to construct what looks like figures wrapped in blanket folds laying fast asleep. This was the inspiration of the poem I'm about to share. Truth be told I discovered this poem I wrote almost a decade ago. Rabbit trail - I used to be a crazy beatnik. Seriously I had a pony tail and wore a beret and went to poetry readings. I loved that whole " tip top tatter to the top of the ladder" lyrical stuff. All that said I wrote this poem a long time ago and I dig poetry so without further delay here's most likely the nerdiest mythology poem you've ever heard:
The Giants of Torpidity
Lavishly lazy, drudgingly crazy are the Giants of torpidity
We are the Movers
the out an out doers
with the phlegm-like hurricane of wordsmith passion
God's wonder wall wrecking ball of creation
Next to Him we're the next best thing
to a de-construct construction team
Our lives our hearts our hands
to mold to shape the lands
we live for one and one only purpose
to birth the valleys the hills the moutains
and on this one occasion Our employer He did employ
to re-create from this formless void
to sculpt the dirt gritty and uncoiled
we called it earth, beneath us shake’d and boiled
for six days and six whole nights we did toil
til avarice needs brought us to our knees and lowered us to the soil
while the Master, maker world re-creator was no where to be seen
we snuggled softly ,slowly, gently to sleep
upon His return no subtle, no sly, no thought to condone
the architect remade us, more useful, something made of stone.
so when you look and see a Mount, a rock, a hill, a valley
please stop and think, of the Giants of Torpidity
So this week I want to ask you a question? What's your favorite giant myth? And is it a destructive myth or creative myth? Or do you have a favorite nerdy poem you'd like share? Please feel free to send me an email or message me on Instagram. Thank you all so much for listening! I hope you all the best and remember to take care and go forth and nerd!