Entertainment and Sports

Maybe The Screamer

There is a lot of anxiety and frustration that accompanies sharing a small planet with six billion screaming lunatics. Who hasn't felt the need, from time to time, to scream?

By Kevin Somers
Published December 12, 2010

"The Scream" by Norwegian painter Edvard Munch is one of the world's favourite paintings. I suspect that's because most of us can identify with it. There is a lot of anxiety and frustration that accompanies sharing a small planet with six billion screaming lunatics. Who hasn't felt the need, from time to time, to scream?

'The Scream', by Edvard Munch (Image Credit: Wikipedia)
'The Scream', by Edvard Munch (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

The screamer (there are several versions of The Scream) is a lonely, ghoulish figure on an old, wooden walking bridge or pier. He (she?) is unleashing a soul-cleansing scream that impacts the sea and sky. It's eerily, endearingly appealing; yet The Scream is perplexing as well. What's the screamer screaming about?

Maybe The Scream's screamer is screaming because there is a failing airplane heading for the bridge he's on. Maybe there's a tsunami coming. I'd scream; oceans are merciless. Maybe the screamer has just seen God or the price of Beer. Perhaps Justin Beiber is on the pier and the screamer is a big fan.

Maybe he has stepped on a nail and is in excruciating pain. Maybe he's broken a nail and is excruciatingly vain. Maybe he saw a snake. Maybe a seagull soiled his new Unabomber cloak.

Maybe he's screaming for ice cream. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. Perhaps he's screaming for joy. It'd be nice if he were a well-deserving lottery winner who'd just checked the ticket.

Maybe the screamer is a hardworking young person who has landed a dream job. Maybe his son won The Heisman. Maybe his wife left.

Maybe his dog died. Maybe his wife came back.

Maybe the screamer is on his way to another PowerPoint presentation. Maybe he's trapped in a mind-numbing job. Maybe his boss is an idiot. Maybe his employees are. Maybe he's a Leaf fan.

Maybe he's thinking about Karla Homolka out of jail and having a family. Maybe he's thinking about Russell Williams. Maybe he's thinking about the trash and predators our society produces and unleashes.

Maybe the screamer is screaming because he has to teach his kids to: scream, bite, scream, kick, scream, punch, scream, scratch, scream, gouge, scream, knee, scream, (kill, stop screaming, call Dad to dump body, shhh).

Maybe Jim "The Character" Mcheriker (AKA The Situation, The Complication, Snake, Blade, Ace, Old-One-Eye, Hard Time, Psycho, and Serial Killer) has invited himself over. Maybe it's Jim on the bridge and he's tired of the teasing. I hope not.

Maybe the screamer knows someone who complains of being broke, blue, and bloated, then forgoes free, quiet, contemplative rakecercise for a leaf-blower.

Maybe his big, beautiful, dumb, dog, Doug, whom he loves like a son, is regressing.

Maybe the screamer has emerged from a coma and learned Rob Ford is the mayor of Toronto. Maybe he's thinking about The Conservatives selling the 407 ETR - the greatest cash cow since The Liquor Store - to foreigners.

Maybe he's standing at the side of a busy road and watching cars hurtle by at murderous speeds and every single driver is engaged with one or several distracting features, gadgets, or devices. Maybe he's thinking about the oil required to keep it all going. Maybe the screamer is clairvoyant and has seen the price of gas 10 years hence.

Maybe the screamer lives in Hamilton. Maybe he's been following the stadium saga. Maybe he wants a train in Hamilton; a nice, simple, light, economical, practical, efficient, soothing train.

Maybe the screamer has turned to Cable 14 and seen Larry. Maybe he read Tony Valeri's piece in The Bay Observer detailing how wonderful and inspiring Tony Valeri is.

Maybe the screamer was listening to Bill Kelly.

Maybe he was reading Raise The Hammer.

Kevin Somers is a Hamilton writer.

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By d.knox (registered) | Posted December 12, 2010 at 21:50:18

The general consensus is that it's the sky impacting the screamer. The red sky was the atmospheric event, witnessed widely across Europe, resulting from the eruption of Krakatoa. Munch wrote in his diary that he was walking on a path with some friends and the sky suddenly turned red:

blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city — my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety — and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

Of course, that doesn't mean that the painting is about the sky in Norway after the volcanic eruption, and it is interesting to reflect on why the painting has such resonance.

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By TomRobertson (registered) | Posted December 13, 2010 at 04:23:54

Maybe: he got his tax assessment or got his hydro bill or saw his connecting bus take off before the riders could get on or sees the thugs with bats from Glendale walking towards him on the bridge or the wheel barrows of cash being delivered to Bob Young or was turned down for a market stall or realized he was awake and this wasn't a bad dream.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted December 13, 2010 at 10:45:18

Maybe he's screaming for joy because he just found out all the flight cancellations due to the volcano will actually save more CO2 than the volcano is emitting.

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By Crudface (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2010 at 12:47:19

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By observer (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2010 at 17:38:22

alternative view, maybe consistent with Munch himself, is that the person in the art work is hearing, not sounding, screaming.

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By Al DeSantis (anonymous) | Posted December 20, 2010 at 15:30:27

I totally think he's a Leaf fan. Or he just watched Grown Ups. Whatever. Both make you scream.

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