“Whose responsibility is it?” Or, Little Johnny’s teacher called today.

Greetings my ghoulie gagballs,

As of the tragic current events lately I would like to address a situation that has been brought to my attention since my early adult years. Who should have the right to regulate the films, books, and music we enjoy and to what degree if any? This article is not intended to take a side, but rather to get you thinking of who is responsible for the corruption of younger minds.  (Please read the last part of that last sentence with as much cynicism as your voice can muster.)

I was brought up in a religious household (hold your applause) where you got in line with all the public and followed what was the popular decision of the day. I heard many a lecture on how what I was watching was inappropriate (I think it was often some slasher flick, but Tales from the Crypt was okay, boy was I confused) and that it was the duty of the schools to teach what was appropriate for children to watch. Now mind you that as a young teen I knew right then that there was no way the school could police what I was watching in my room but there was no reasoning with this one Uncle. He was always right and even when he was wrong he was right. I didn’t think it was anyone’s business of whether I was watching Star Wars or Star Whores (I was more than likely watching the latter). But his rationale was “The parents aren’t going to do it so we have to have the school teach it.”  Really?  Okay maybe in some households, but not mine. We’ll talk more about this later. This reminded me of a quote from someone who has been accused of destroying the minds of youth more than anyone else in the last decade, Marilyn Manson.  “Is adult entertainment killing our children, or is killing our children entertaining our adults?” Think about it.

I have known writers and musicians who let their younger family members “enjoy” their work. Mind you that these are rather graphic works that were expressed and not cerebral pieces that would fly above the radar of a youth’s mental capacity (think Friday the 13th vs. Session 9). I would not allow my daughters to read some of the crap that I’ve shitten, uh, written until we’ve had the talk about reality and fantasy and they could express full comprehension of the difference.  Now if these individuals want to share certain pieces with their kids, that is their business but they shouldn’t complain when their kids have nightmares, teachers call home about the picture that little Billy drew in art class, when the child chops up the family cat, pulls a knife on Grandma, or shoots up the school. Please bear in mind that this is not what happens to every kid who watches horror movies, me and most likely, you dear reader being included, but maybe the ones that should not have been watching them unsupervised in the first place!

“This is the culture you are raising you kids in. Don’t be surprised if it blows up in your face.” – Marilyn Manson

I believe that every artist must police their own work. Not by content, but rather by where they choose to display and distribute their art. When I was starting out early and looking for a place to publish my writings, I came across a very popular horror site that catered to amateur writers of the genre. I had the perfect story that walked the line of reality and fiction about an actual abandoned haunted hospital here in Houston. It wasn’t drench with profanity, sexuality, or drugs but it was mentally disturbing for some of the true (and some of the not so true) stories that I divulged in the tale. Now this site would have been a dream to get published on! It had high traffic, more experienced writers would come in a critique your work, and much like a rating scale the readers could vote on their favorites. However I started to notice that there was a lot of “Please read before submitting” statements from page to page. After I read several I noticed that the site’s most popular fan base was from eighth grade to eleventh grade. “What the Hell!?!” There was no way in Hell that I was going to submit a story to them knowing that now.  Young readers may enjoy the story and end up exploring some of my more graphic work. I don’t write for young readers so I didn’t want that for my kids nor would I for someone else’s.  I have a very bad potty mouth and I really have to try to not let shit…uh, stuff fall out. Also, some parts of the story probably should have been tamed down for the readers that would frequent this site and I didn’t want to dilute my story to allow that. Also, a young reader is impressionable and in the story I gave specifics about the location of the hospital. I did not want to encourage anyone to explore this dangerous location. (No youngster would admit to their parents that they were going here and no parent in their right mind would let their kids venture off here).  Finally, what was I going to be to say? That I scared an eighth grader? Big fucking deal! I thought it best to completely forgo this offer to publish my story. As an artist, I did not want to dilute my work just to have it published and I felt a sense of responsibility to place the content of this story in a place that was more focused on a more mature audience. It was best that I stick to my guns and go another path.

Again, I must reiterate that I’m not promoting censorship however I am promoting healthy discretion. I feel that artist have the right to produce art as their hearts desire however some is not appropriate to hang in the hallway of the local elementary school. No parent I know keeps their big breast porn DVD collection (I just randomly choose that genre off the top of my head…okay, no I didn’t) next to their kids Sponge Bob DVD collection.  Sure, if a child wants to get their hands on it bad enough, they will. However there is no need to make it easier for someone that is not in the target audience to achieve it. Responsible discretion protects the artist from the onslaught of “protection groups” who as we all know have only one agenda and it usually is not for the best interest of what they say it is. On the other hand, the artist has the right to make and release their work unabridged without having to censor it. If you don’t like what you see, look the other way, but don’t parade mature content around the kindergarten.  After all, it is kind of reminds me of the title of that old movie, “ChildrenShouldn’t Play with Dead Things”.


Until next time, rest in pieces.

Renfield Rasputin

Renfield Rasputin is desired by Kat Dennings in the worst way. (This is also the only way she could desire him).