It seems the moral panic over popular culture and the effects it can have on children are just as rife as they were 30 years ago. In the past we’ve had ‘concerned parents’ ranting about the ‘dangerous effects’ music and film and video games have on the impressionable young – but now it seems the world of urban legends and folklore are in the firing line of these conservative censors.
If you haven’t heard by now, two girls in Wisconsin stabbeda classmate 19 times in the hope of pleasing the fantasy character Slender Man. These children supposedly carried out the attack to ‘appease’ the character and become ‘acolytes’ to him.
I’ve known of Slender Man for several years now, and thoroughly enjoyed the 2012 video game based in his creepy exploits. As part of a Christmas film I made with friends a few years ago, we parodied the game to show our appreciation. Here’s the film where I star as Jesus and my friends take on the roles of Slendy and fellow internet meme: Jeff The Killer
But returning to the moral panic of this incident; there’s nothing new here concerning what caused the girls to do what they did. I can remember as a child hearing of a murder carried out by a teenager who was apparently addicted to the game: Manhunt, and the number of shootings and arrests linked to Heavy Metal and the Goth culture, all have one thing in common. And that link, is the culture of adults avoiding responsibility.
The bodies of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold after they carried out the Columbine Massacre.
Every time you hear of a parent blaming video games, films, tv and fictional characters, you see the classic parent who does not want to take responsibility for their children’s actions, nor do they want to discuss things with their child – namely their dislike of what their kids are viewing online.
Once again, we have parents who will put the entire blame on a cultural product, which is absurd to say the least, because the aim of that product is not to kill but to entertain. Plus, cultural products are neutral when it comes to the behaviour of those who use it. you cannot blame a band or a writer for the actions of another person.
What needs to be addressed in the case of the Slender Man stabbings, as in every other case, is the behaviour and environment the perpetrators were brought up in and influenced by. Such settings influenced the misogynistic bloodbath carried out by Elliot Rodgers – whom I shall talk about in a later post.
I am in no way excusing these children for what they did – but I am saying to all concerned parents and fans of Slender Man and Heavy Metal and pop culture that has been accused of murdering people: always talk to your children! You are a parent and should take full responsibility for what your offspring carried out. If they are capable of doing something as ridiculous as this, you aren’t raising them correctly. Plus, blaming cultural products is lazy. If you have children they are your responsibility and you should listen to them. Young people even follow these kinds of pop culture because they are being ignored by their families and society. They do not want to wreak havoc on the world, they are looking for solace.
Thankfully, the horror movie world knows how this incident will see it being tarnished by the censors who don’t want to talk to their kids. The YouTube channel: Chilling Tales For Dark Nights have released a video offering donations to the family of the victim. Here’s the video, and if you want to see the end of this pathetic moral panic, please donate.