Humanistic Horror?

This post is a part of the Humanist Community at Harvard’s 2012 Blogathon, a 12 hour blogging marathon by Chris Stedman and Chelsea Link to support HCH’s end-of-the-year fundraiser. Chelsea and Chris are both publishing one new post per hour, for twelve hours straight, and none of the posts have been written or drafted in advance. For more blogathon posts, click here. If you enjoyed this post or any of the others, please consider consider chipping in to support our work.

Even though I recently published a deeply personal, self-revelatory memoir — well, actually, in part because I did — I generally make an effort to maintain some boundaries between my personal life and my public writing. But I’m going to bend that rule for this post in order to blatantly and unapologetically plug the work of someone I’m especially close to.

I wear a lot of clothing made by an indie apparel company called Dance Party Massacre (DPM), founded by Alex Dakoulas. It may sound gruesome, but their stuff is actually pretty fun — the name of the line is a play on campy slasher films from the 1980s, and their designs take the humor and terror of those flicks and translate them into immensely fun and trendy clothing and accessories. But all the more, I love the idea behind DPM, summed up by their slogan: “Live While You Can.”

The founder of the company, Alex, has said in interviews that the ethos of the brand is about the survivors, not the killers. He likes that horror movies remind you that you could die at any moment, so you should live in the moment. (Sound familiar? Chelsea and I have both blogged about that theme already today. Or, as the American Humanist Association might say: “Sounds Like Humanism!”) Hearing him explain why he loves horror movies so much has helped me to better understand why I love them, too. It’s not just the adrenaline-assisted endorphins they produce (or, why I love roller coasters); it’s that they serve to remind us that our lives could end at any moment, and that we should feel profoundly grateful that we’re alive.

I love DPM, and often help Alex sell it at local artisan markets. But it isn’t just that I love the message behind the brand — I also like that I’m supporting ethical business. All DPM items are made in the United States, and buying from them supports a small business that doesn’t take advantage of people. Buying locally and ethically, supporting the arts, and encouraging entrepreneurism are definitely ways I express my Humanist values. (Alex also took this principled aspect of DPM a step further earlier this year when he designed a limited edition shirt and donated a cut of the profits from it in support of LGBT equality, writing an accompanying post explaining why he thinks people should support brands with ethical stances.)

DPM’s latest venture, dubbed “The Fan Collection,” strikes me as especially Humanistic. For this new line, which is appropriately focused on the end of the world and new beginnings, he’s inviting input from his consumers and creating the line collaboratively with fan support. It’s not too late to get in on the action — click here to learn more about The Fan Collection and, as his motto proclaims, live while you can.

Chris Stedman is the Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard and the Values in Action Coordinator for the Humanist Community at Harvard. He is the author of Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious, and the founder of the blog NonProphet Status.

One comment on “Humanistic Horror?

  1. Pingback: Humanist Community at Harvard 2012 Fundraiser Blogathon Recap!

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