I know a lot of weird things. This column explains why.
-by Christa Weiss
About a week ago a couple of horrible little girls thought it would be a good idea to try and stab their friend to death, because of the internet. Well, not so much the internet, the spawn of the internet, a meme. A stupid fucking meme. A made-up thing that a couple of sociopaths used as an excuse to hurt someone, the Slenderman. Then there was a copycat stabbing.
I’m not here to talk about those dumb girls, or that other dumb girl who copied the first stabbing. The only thing worse than being a killer, is being an uncreative killer. If you think that copy cat shit’s gonna win over the judges on America’s Got Talent, you’ve got another thing coming. What I’d like to talk about is that white man in a black suit, the made up thing that seems to serve as a good excuse for attempted murder: The Slenderman.
The Slenderman is not real but a lot of people seem to wish he was real, particularly young teenage girls who like to hold a grudge. The meme was born from a Something Awful forum scary Photoshop contest. The original photo was of a bunch of children at a playground. Photoshopped into the background there is a tall faceless man in a suit, looming in the distance.
A faceless man in a suit. Well, I must admit, I afraid of them too, but maybe not for the same reasons.
The Slenderman meme spawned a bunch of Creepy Pasta stories, and the phenomena exploded from there. If you are unfamiliar with Creepy Pasta, it’s a little like creative writing forum, for people who are:
a) Not creative and
b) Not good at writing.
The websites and forums post pretty much whatever is sent into them, as long as it’s kind of scary, regardless of the writers’ command of the English language or grammar. Basically, most of them suck but, Slenderman or no, they contain a lot of white men in suits.
There are a few other popular neuvo boogymen circulating around the internet and our culture in general. Particularly, shadow people and men in black. Shadow people are demon type things, usually a faceless black shape of a man, wearing a fedora. Men in black are mysterious men in suits, who may or may not work for the government, and generally exist to cover up paranormal shit, but not in the awesome Will Smith kind of way. More like the we-kidnap-your family-and-scramble-your brain-and-you-end-up-rocking-back-and-fourth-in-an-insane-asylum-for-the-rest-of-your-life kind of way. While their origins are not as obviously fabricated and well documented as the Slenderman, lets be realistic, this stuff is just as fake.
One thing I’ve noticed throughout all these cases, is that the modern boogyman is remarkably well dressed.
People used to afraid of vampires and werewolves, and now everyone just want to have sex with them.
Throughout the course of history, within both ancient and modern folklore, there’s always been a wide variety of evil, soulless monsters. Usually, these things were witches that killed you and ate your children or wolves that killed you and ate your children or black nights that killed you, and if you were lucky enough to be a lady, raped you first.
Uggh. Bleak. But it makes sense.
The boogyman, these monsters, are just a reflection of our fears in everyday life. Things we dread that we can’t control. In the 1300s before Christianity took hold, women were typically shamans, or what might be considered a witch. Once Christianity became widely practiced, these women, those who had not converted, were seen as threats and minions of Satan. Wolves and other wild animals were everyday threats that could kill someone very easily. And knights. Regardless of wheather or not you belonged to the same kingdom, knights had power and could do, basically, whatever they felt like. If you were a peasant, you had good reason to be afraid of a knight, because they could do a good deal of pillaging and raping, regardless of wheatear or not you were supposed to be on the same team.
Be it medieval times or current day, what people are afraid of, is power.
What people are afraid of today, is much different than what people feared in Medieval Europe, but the basis is still the same. I’m a lot more afraid of my boss firing me and not being able to pay my rent, than I am of being torn to pieces by wolves. (This is probably why the wolfman idea has gotten a lot more cuddly as of late.)
I am not afraid a witch is going to put a spell on me, but I am afraid that I’m going to be shot by a crazy person on the street, because special interest groups have bought every government official they need to prevent any kind of effective gun control law, in the interest of making a buck.
I’m not afraid of the Black Knight but I am afraid the Koch brothers who are trying to buy Congress, because even though we’re supposed to be on the same team, they’re trying to pillage our fragile new healthcare system and rape the environment.
Yes, the Slenderman is stupid and fake, but the Koch brothers are real and terrifying.
Our new boogyman, what we are afraid of, is white men in suits. And we should be.
Slenderman image was pulled from a Bing Image search of “original Slenderman photo.” Koch brothers image was pulled from a Bing Image search of “Koch brothers.” If you are the owner of either of these images and would like credit or to request for them to be taken down please contact please contact UnScene here.