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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Slenderman, Horror, and Children

Many people have come to me in the light of the recent attempted murder by two, 12 year old girls on their “friend."  In their defense, the girls invoked Slenderman, a new urban horror legend story of the Internet age.

As a horror expert, people wanted to know what I thought of Slenderman and the situation. Well, this post is my response.  This weekend’s New York Times had this Op-Ed by Timothy Evans, a professor of col studies.  Entitled The Ghosts in the Machine, this piece argues the points I have been making to those who ask me, but more eloquently and with more professional authority.

Click here for the full piece but here is gist-- these types of stories have been around for a long time, Internet or no. The Internet has not driven these girls to attempted murder, just as comic books weren’t responsible for degenerate youth back in the 1950s.

For the record, my own almost 12 year old child knows all about Slenderman.  She’s never seen it, but they “play” Slenderman at night with friends. But since they are kids who have been taught right from wrong by their parents, they play it with flashlights, not knives.  If the light shines on you, you are “dead” [out of the game], just like we all played Bloody Mary as kids. And just as I posted a few days before this Slenderman situation, horror stories are very good for your kids.

1 comment:

  1. You make an excellent point. It's a lack of guidance. Whenever youth commit an act of violence, it is very easy to make a notorious piece of art a scapegoat. Columbine was blamed on Marilyn Manson, KMFDM, and violent video games, a youth crime wave in the UK was blamed on the release of A Clockwork Orange, etc. The list goes on. Externalizing the blame seems to be a timeless behavior.