SPLATTERPUNK UTOPIA…a taste of the blood I spilled at io9

Here’s are a few quotes, selections, from an article I wrote, which io9.com is running–Splatterpunk Utopia.

This is the age when the splatterpunk genre, in film and fiction, has given way to “torture porn”-a derisive term used by critics of films like Saw. Me, I’ve written some quite extreme fiction. Some of my writing-like the novels Wetbones (from eReads, currently) and In Darkness Waiting (Infrapress)— appears to have been among the progenitors of “splatterpunk”, or so I’m told. Some of my fiction is collected in a new book, In Extremis: The Most Extreme Short Stories of John Shirley (Underland Press). But I feel confident that even my darkest writing, at its most grotesque, is not salacious; that it is a kind of meaningful protest, a wakeup call—that it at least aspires to be art.
… I think it unlikely that the basest splatterpunk films, torture porn, or even violent videogames spark the rising violence we’re seeing in people. Allow me to dismiss one objection that people glibly fling about regarding the contemporary bubbling up of startling viciousness in surprising numbers of people-the notion that “this kind of thing always happened, it just wasn’t reported in the 1950s and 60s before the age of the 24 news cycle”. No, I promise you, any insane act of astonishing violence would have been widely reported in newspapers across the country-and was, on the rare occasions when it happened-with a technology we had at the time. It was something called “telegraphy”. News was sent “on the wire”. We didn’t actually have to use talking drums.

Perhaps wildly violent entertainment media encourages a hardness, a mean jadedness -but clearly the Columbine killers committed mass murder because they were damaged by something other than media. Common sense tells us that a young man who beats his parents brains in and then calls his friends to a beer party doesn’t do it because he watched House of 1000 Corpses or the remakes of Halloween —nor because he enjoys playing the very splatterpunk F.E.A.R. 2 videogame.


…But I suspect it’s more to do with a toxic cognitive dissonance, with a poisonous shame—and fundamental emotional disconnection.

Read the full article, with my conclusions, at io9 Magazine...


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