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I would like to conclude with some brief thoughts on what an extended study of the cosmopolitan Gothic might entail. First, future scholars could attempt to expand the scope of this project. Although, as I have argued, the US-Japan cultural relationship creates particularly fertile territory for postulating a cosmopolitan Gothic, I surmise that the phenomenon appears in variations elsewhere. By way of an example, the recent film Chernobyl Diaries (2012) follows a group of American tourists as they explore the zombie-infested confines of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The film portrays the crude worldview perpetrated by a current generation of “globe trotters”: the youth laugh and relish in the novelty of their “extreme” exploits, snapping photographs and making light of dire suffering. Director Bradley Parker occasionally winks at the audience, acknowledging the absurd narrow-mindedness of the characters he trots out before them. The initial scare occurs when a giant bear stumbles through an abandoned hallway; here (and elsewhere) Chernobyl Diaries exposes the Cold War hang-over of delusions that occupy American depictions of Eastern Europe. Viewers jump at the appearance of the bear only to sigh in relief at a familiar, exaggerated reference to the “Ruskies.”
KeywordsChernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Emphasis Mine Supernatural Entity Japanese Writer American Tourist
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- 1.Scholarship in this vein has already begun. See Susan Napier’s The Fantastic in Modern Japanese Literature: The Subversion of Modernity (New York: Routledge, 1996) and Ada Lovelace’s “Ghostly and Monstrous Manifestations of Women: Edo to Contemporary” (The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies, Issue 5, August 2008. Accessed October 10, 2012).Google Scholar