Saturday, July 06, 2013

American Killer

You are off the hook, Marilyn Manson. You, too, video games. Violent movies? You are not to blame. Hey, distant parents, uninvolved teachers and administrators, beaters, molesters, bullies, and laughing teenaged girls. Not to worry! You are not to blame at all. What up, 'Murica? You are totally fine. Human condition? Hate, wrath, humiliation, despair, jealousy, are free to go! Take a walk, because you've been acquitted. Yaaaaayeeeeeeee.

There is only one person to blame for Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Newtown...relax! It is Stephen King. Because he wrote the novella "Rage" under the pen name Richard Bachman, so many young and innocent people have died. And if they read King's short story, "Cain Rose Up"? Well, fuck. Of course people died. Because the power of one (or two) stories was certainly the catalyst for mass destruction, carnage, and heartbreak.

Of course King made sure that "Rage" is now out of print. So responsible!

Now for the not-sarcastic part of this post. First let me say this: I've been a die hard fan of King's since I read The Shining at age 12. Too young? Yeah. Too unsupervised? Duh.

I love him. I love that I have been one of his "Constant Readers" since 1984. I think he writes from the heart and I defend him without reserve whenever the topic of King comes up. During my Master's defense, when asked who my biggest influences were, I talked about King at length, and well. I got an A with honors. There is absolutely no shame in loving and admiring King.


There have been times that I have doubted his barometer. Like, REALLY, SK, are we really having barely adolescent kids FUCK to save themselves in IT? And are we REALLY interjecting ourselves into our long running Dark Tower series as a character, you FUCK? Because only someone that tone deaf and, honestly, egomaniacal, would think that the novella "Rage" is responsible--or, at least, a part of what is responsible--for the killings that came after it.

Get. Over. Yourself.

I love you, King, I really do. You've given me countless hours of escape...including the hours I spent reading (and re-reading) "Rage." Because as a picked-upon youth, I felt sad for Charlie, I felt disgusted by Charlie, and I felt vicious joy at Charlie's actions. Not because I would ever do them, but because I felt such rage, hate, vengeance. humiliation, and despair. Because Charlie's wounds were his own, but his actions were something I could identify with.

Here's the bit that needs most attention: I could IDENTIFY with Charlie. It never made me want to kill anyone. Believe me, the harassment, abuse, and molestation made me want to shame, maim, and kill. But I never did. Because that was my teenage experience.

It may come as a surprise, but people are not cut from the same cloth. Some of us are more unhinged than others. Some of us are fucking spiralling from birth. Circumstances dictate fate. The presence of your book in a backpack is just one of a thousand things that may or may not have led to suicide, mass murder...or a just a really good blackout drunken weekend ending in misdemeanor charges and a pathetic conversation with one's wife.

Get. Over. Yourself.

And get on with it. You willingly signed up to be a part of the literary canon of America. Or 'Murca, if you will. Own it. You are not the first, nor will you be the last, to write about disaffected youth. Get, fucking, over yourself. If you want to do the world (and your fans) a real favor, rewrite that bit in the Dark Tower series where you just HAD to write yourself in. Because nothing you've done, until then, showed so much of your ass.

Read: "Rage" is a story that young kids can identify with. Some of them (a fraction of a fraction) have done bad things. The bit where you write your drunken ass into the Dark Tower offended many, especially the fans that want nothing but good things for you. It diminished a lifetime's worth of work. And that is your JOB, goddammit. You are a writer of wonderful, horrible, gut punching things. Stop pulling those punches--and keep yourself in the afterwords. The kids of America are going to shoot up the cafeteria with or without you.

That being said.

I get it. I wouldn't want anyone to associate me with mass killings, either. But grow a pair, please. Remember what Marilyn Manson said.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

guess sk is feeling guilty. we can relate. he should know better than to pay attention to the media tho'

9:00 PM  

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