Today I made the mistake of popping into the “trending” sidebar where it mentioned my imaginary friend, the Slender Man, and his culpability in a recent murder in Wisconsin, and I read the comments.
If I had to tally up what I’ve seen so far, roughly 20 percent of the comments I read were defenses of Creepypasta (as in “I read Creepypasta/played D&D/watched the X-files/consumed horror in general since I was a baby, and I turned out okay!”); 15 percent were clumsy, ill-informed definitions of the Slender Man and Creepypasta; 3.75 percent were accurate and correct definitions of the Slender Man and Creepypasta; 1 percent were debates about whether it’s “Slender Man,” “Slender-Man,” “Slenderman,” or my preference, the “Slender Man”; and 60 percent is blame*.
Fifty-five percent of those blamed the parents; 20 percent blamed liberals, 75 percent of whom were singled out as liberal Christians; 15 percent blamed the actual stabbers; 5 percent blamed video games (Minecraft being the biggest offender because of the Enderman character); 2 percent blamed Harry Potter; 2 percent blamed the Slender Man himself; and, in the biggest shock, only 1 percent blamed Barack Obama.
“The way sin is justified these days, I will not be surprised if the liberal Christian will believe these two girls are victims.”
“Slenderman…. A demon quite possibly. A world deviod of God must find something to fill that place. In this case a fantasy character. … and a demonic entity that personifies it.”
“Parents who use [the internet] as a babysitter are in for a RUDE AWAKENING!”
As a man who loves the Slender Man, I’m not shocked or even disappointed about the narrative, nor am I defensive about the reputation of my beloved meme, or about Creepypasta in general. The latter is because I don’t think anybody not stupid is blaming these stories. Also, getting defensive would make me a huge hypocrite, in that I condemn with venom anyone whose first reaction to a shooting is to launch into NRA bumper-sticker slogans.
The only thing that shocks me about this is that it hasn’t happened before. The only thing that disappoints me is that this has pushed out of the news cycle the actually important discussion of the dangers of misogyny and replaced it with an imaginary villain that doesn’t force us to look at ourselves.
A twelve-year-old girl was stabbed nineteen times, and we will likely never understand why. I don’t know the circumstances or anything about the three children involved, and so, unlike 60 percent of the commenters I read (because I’m dumb) I can’t blame anyone.
* The remaining 0.25% is quoted below, verbatim, because it’s AMAZING:
XAVIER: How much do you bet Clinton is gonna use this as “proof that video games are bad for children”. Bitch video games taught me how to look a terrorist in the face and paint the walls with all his hopes and dreams.
MEG: are you special ops?! Oh, you work in food service… who’s the bitch again, Xavier?