The Real Blame For The 'Slender Man' Killings Is The Media Blaming Slender Man For The Killings

from the media-hype dept

Since we originally predicted and then witnessed major media outlets losing their minds over the horrific attempted murder committed by two young girls in Wisconsin, you may have heard that there has been a second attempted killing by another young girl that’s also being billed as a “Slender Man killing.” In this latest case, a young girl wore a white mask and attempted to stab her mother. She too is supposedly involved in the Creepypasta community and was interested in the Slender Man story. Media outlets, that really ought to know better, have since been knocking each other over in an attempt to shine the largest spotlight on an internet community that enjoys telling each other ghost stories in an attempt to assign blame for the horrors on which they report. It turns out that, should they delve a little deeper to understand what the Slender Man community is all about, perhaps they should be turning that spotlight on themselves instead.

Fruzsina Eordogh, who appears to be well informed about how the Creepypasta community and the Slender Man myth operates, outlines the folly that is mass media reporting on the two attacks. He claims there have been two glaring omissions in the reporting, the first of which is an absolute refusal to include the attention multipliers of online myth disseminators like Pew Die Pie. Pew Die Pie is something of a YouTube celebrity and his work includes Slender Man videos.

The little girls first tried to stab their friend in a public restroom, then in the woods. Both scenes, of Slender Man catching up with you in a public restroom and in the woods, happen in the first episode of Pew Die Pie’s Slender Man video series. Is Pew Die Pie responsible for the stabbings? No, of course not.

In the case of the 13-year-old girl, her mother mentioned her daughter plays Minecraft, and the ultimate bad guy in the game is Enderman, a creepy figure the creator of Minecraft admitted to being inspired by Slender Man. Is Minecraft responsible for the stabbings? Again, no, of course not, but yet again every outlet has failed to mention the Slender Man-inspired monster in Minecraft.

Understanding the point of the above is key: nobody is blaming Pew Die Pie, Minecraft, or anyone else using the myth to tell stories for the killings. The sole point being made is that you have to understand the way the Slender Man community works: it is built off of gaining recognition in wider audiences. That’s the whole point of the community, to expand upon the myth by creating doctored pictures, telling wilder stories, and getting Slender Man out there as widely as possible. The whole myth started with fictional photographs and news reports. That’s the point. And guess how you take that to the next level?

Think of Slender Man as a community art project, where for years now adults, teens and tweens have been fabricating fake news articles, photographs, and even video games and comics, about Slender Man, this all-powerful, all-knowing spectre-monster with long arms (shaped like claws, or tree branches, or tentacles depending on the artist) that mind controls and kills people. When these two Wisconsin girls say they wanted to honor the Slender Man myth, to make him “real” and prove the “skeptics wrong,” it sounds more like they wanted to participate in the community by creating the most credible news article about Slender Man ever. They didn’t want to make him real by doing another photoshop, that’s already been done. So how do you make the most credible news article about Slender Man? You actually go out and make Slender Man happen in a way the news can cover.

And, because these kids have a basic understanding of the world in which they live, they likely damn well knew the mass media would gobble this up like pigs at a trough. The girls in Wisconsin did more to propel the Slender Man myth into the public consciousness than anyone had before and the news outlets were their tools and unwitting conspirators. By the time the ink was dry on the Wisconsin story, a young girl in Ohio would have all the confirmation required on how to keep the news multiplier going in favor of Slender Man. Slender Man has jumped out of the fictional realm now, like the Poltergeist leaping from a television, and the news is the highway it took to get there.

Any media outlet that reports on this story and fails to mention that they as an outlet are now contributing to the Slender Man myth, is laughably ignorant and dangerous. The press does not exist in a vacuum. The press cannot blame CreepyPasta and memes but not blame itself or Pew Die Pie. In fact, the primary driver of the Slender Man myth is no longer Pew Die Pie, Minecraft, CreepyPasta, reddit, 4chan or Something Awful, but the press itself.

At some point all the people of our world are going to have to sit down and have a long conversation about how our news media operates to glorify some of the horrors we face. Murderers, school shooters, and terrorists all rely on the clockwork-like commitment of mass media to turn them into what they most want to be: a spectacle. We don’t have to play along, but we do. That part’s on us. But it’s also on a media culture that prefers to keep the important role that they play out of the story.

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Comments on “The Real Blame For The 'Slender Man' Killings Is The Media Blaming Slender Man For The Killings”

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ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Either that, or she’ll become a blubbering wreck due to the exploding bush monsters that rampage around outside every night.

Cats tend to scare away creepers, so as long as you have cats, you should be ok. That is what I use to keep away the exploding bush monsters that rampage around outside every night.

I haven’t figured out a defense against endermen, however.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Endermen are kind of like the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Trall, if you are wearing a pumpkin they don’t get all pissed off and teleport at you.

Yeah… I forgot about that. My biggest problem is them teleporting into my house and stealing my sh*t while I am not looking (worse than the underpants gnomes.) But then again, you look funny wearing a pumpkin on your head during social events.

+10000 exp for the HHGTG reference.

CK20XX (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Endermen are 3 blocks high, so they can’t fit into any 2-block high space. I think you can also build a room that’s 3 blocks tall, then pave over it with slabs, which will give you a smidgen of headroom and also prevent any mob from spawning in there.

Also remember that Endermen take damage from plain old water and will teleport away whenever they touch it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Serial killers have had a long history of trying to outdo each other in terms of infamy by getting a lot of media hits. In a sense the media can be blamed for giving them so much attention. If anything the Internet doesn’t encourage this sort of behavior as much because Internet communities generally don’t give relatively as much attention to violent crimes on a case by case basis and to the extent they do give it attention it is more on a statistical basis to look for patterns and discuss what can be do to improve public safety and to balance our civil and privacy rights with public safety.

madasahatter (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Another reason the Internet lessens the impact of serial killers or stories like this is most people are not interested in them. On the Internet one can follow news topics of personal and professional interest in more depth than the regular media normally does.

Most of the publicity about crime stories is media hype. Rarely do the stories impact the viewers/readers lives in any meaningful way. To pick a city, Chicago, just about any murder in Chicago will likely have no affect on me – I do not live in the Chicago area. But if there is a murder that the media latches onto I will know more about it than I really care or need to know.

Internet Zen Master (profile) says:

One minor correction for the article

The “CreepyPasta community” and the “Slenderman community” are supposedly separate groups (although the two have a ton of overlap fan-wise because of the popular creepypastas written about the character).

Sorry, I’m just part of the CreepyPasta writers/artists/narrators crowd, and generalizing all of CreepyPasta as part of the “Slender Man community” )and vice versa) kinda bugs me.

That said, the media needs to shut up about Slendermann and find something else to blame. I mean, they were trying to attach Slenderman to the Las Vegas shootings because one of the shooters had dressed up as Slenderman for Halloween. It’s annoying and rather disconcerting for the Creepypasta community, since we don’t have the support (or lobbying power) of a powerful industry like the violent video games or heavy metal/rock did.

Anonymous Coward says:

“We don’t have to play along, but we do. That part’s on us.”

I think much of the problem is the narrative that the media tries to paint. The media tries to paint a narrative that the bulk of our social problems has to do with shootings, grocery store robberies, drugs, etc… (and focusing on these issues encourages a police state) when there is also another huge class of social problems that also contributes to our social woes and that’s mainly government-industrial corruption. The media tries to ignore important issues like copy’right’, patents, govt. established taxicab monopolies, etc… and all the harm they cause society and the backdoor dealings and revolving door favors associated with them and to fill that void they substitute these important issues with movie star nonsense, shootings, etc…

Whenever the government grants media monopolies you don’t have democratized media and so the media doesn’t have to worry so much about whether or not the public plays along because what other options do they have?

The Internet, on the other hand, offers more democratized media and when media is more democratized people quickly become much more aware of the huge extent that our laws are corporate bought and the immense harm this causes and the relatively huge need to change these laws and so these issues will naturally get relatively more attention drawing attention away from serial killers and movie star nonsense.

One could even argue that the Internet allows people to more openly vent about their problems (in opposed to building them up over time and eventually going on a rampage), to publicly call out corporations that scam them to place public pressure on the corporations (and government) to keep them in check and to better target the cause of much of our social woes and how that contributes to a worse situation for everyone so that we can at least better focus our attention away from taking our anger out on the wrong target through rampages and instead on working together as a community to get laws changed and improve everyone’s situation in a much more civil and organized matter. Without the knowledge that the Internet provides all of the corruption that contributes to our social woes and to the worse situation that each person is in will still exist, causing all these problems, but the public as a whole will be much less aware of the true cause of their poor situation instead blaming it on what the media tells them or finding other things or people to blame it on.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

In fact, I remember many years ago the media used to try to run all these shows explaining how people stealing from Target, Walmart, etc… causes so much harm by causing huge price increases and how more needs to be done to cut down on this. While I completely agree that these are bad things and those who steal deserve to be punished the media tried to paint the narrative that these are a much larger cause of higher prices and social harm than they really are. While theft and theft prevention no doubt play a role in higher prices the media blows the extent that they play a role completely out of proportion while completely ignoring other issues like ridiculous patents and other forms of government-industrial corruption that results in limited competition and higher prices.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The big problem with the media is they sex up stories to sell papers,adverts etc., as more moderate headline and description would not attract people attention. They also tend to go for what interests the public, like scandals, rather than for what the public should be interested in, like low level corruption.

anonymous says:

This whole thing is stupid. Slender man is just a cheesy game that is currently the Internet craze right now. It is in no way dangerous, as many young people have been playing this game over the years, one incident happens and the media takes something as silly as that game and turns into a big deal. Don’t people realize they’re demons/evil spirits, that talk to young children adults as well and pollute their minds to cause them to do bad things?? what that child heard was a demon in her mind and she just assumed it was slender man talking to her.

Internet Zen Master (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Could be worse DH. Anon could believe in Xenu.

And hey, assuming (for the sake of argument) that evil spirits/demons exist and the children weren’t mentally disturbed from the get-go, demons impersonating Slenderman actually makes more sense than the “Slenderman/Creepypasta made the children do it!” bull the media keeps pushing.

anonymous says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

yea, whether or not if you believe in the existence of demons, if you at least just take it into consideration, it does make more sense than thinking that a made up character on the computer came to life and told this child to stab someone. I just think the whole thing is crazy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Same as THE "D" vs. NBA incident

This is the same as THE “D” vs. NBA incident.

Shame, shame, for what he said in private, but whoopi whoopi for what the media repeated over and over again in public.

How does that make any sense?

It is offensive when spoken in private, but not offensive when blasted all over the media?

How does that work?

christopher s says:

what happened

What happened to tech dirt. I thought this was an online information source reporting about the topic of legal issues involving evolving communication. These last few stories have been nothing but conspiracy theory and salaciousness. Can we get back to the topic instead of trying to be the next breitbart?

Michael (profile) says:

Re: what happened

Previous article (legal issue about online porn company):
Copyright Troll Malibu Media Tells Court That Its Critics (And Opposing Lawyer) Are Part Of A Psychopathic Hate Group

Before that (legal issue about WiFi):
Appeals Court Says Using Open WiFi May Be A Crime

Before that (legal issue about cell phones):
Score One For The 4th Amendment: Appeals Court Says Police Need A Warrant To Track Phone Users’ Location

Hmm…you are right! This site does appear to be about “legal issues involving evolving communication”. Good observation.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: what happened

“I thought this was an online information source reporting about the topic of legal issues involving evolving communication.”

You thought wrong — the scope of this blog is much broader than that. To quote from the About page:

Techdirt blog uses a proven economic framework to analyze and offer insight into news stories about changes in government policy, technology and legal issues that affect companies ability to innovate and grow.

GEMont (profile) says:

One born every second....

I still think these girls are just evil geniuses who decided they could get away with murder if they played their cards right. And from the looks of the press on this matter, they certainly did play the right cards by blaming it all on the Internet generally and The Slender Man stories specifically.

Congrats girls.
You seriously gamed the system good.

A couple months “under observation” while forced to swallow heavy “downers” daily, and you’ll be back on the street and ready to test your new found knowledge on other areas of society, for fun and profit.

Keep up the good work and you might just get hired by the NSA Dirty Tricks Division. Then you can use the actual law of the land for your own devious purposes, legally!

Anonymous Coward says:

So many people out here are sick. You don’t listen to a skinny old guy in a mask. You need to report that. He is mentally ill not in a good way. He is a sociopath and has no empathy. He would love to kill you. Find something good. Report him. He is going down. He killed and wants you to do it so he can’t get in trouble. You will. He is already going to hell. Is that what you eant. I haven’t even been to church in 15 years. But he is sick and going down. Look at yourself and shape up!! If you are this sad get help! Don’t give yourself to an old pervert that won’t even show his face. He is a coward. I hope he reads this…

Anonymous Coward says:

Girls need role models I see. I teach my niece and nephew how to love and share and not hit! You guys are lost. You don’t know who you are so you will look to the easiest person to let you in. That is him! He gets off on watching you hurt and kill. He is old and hunched over. He wears a mask so he doesn’t scare you for real. He is a sociopath. He has no empathy. He laughs at you. You are his puppets. You behave like a dog would to its owner. He doesn’t own you. If you want him to you need to go to the hospital. Find your local listing for psychiatric help. You can feel good about you again. Take care of yoursekf. Don’t let him win. I am w others wanting to bring him down.

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