Tuesday September 02, 2014




Blaming horror genre slippery road to censorship

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Dear Editor

I’m writing in response to “Body parts in the mail a wakeup call?” (News-Optimist, June 6). When I first read this article, I thought Brian Zinchuk was attempting to write a tongue-in-cheek piece about cannibalism. But, after rereading the I realized the columnist was attempting to posit the notion the horror genre is somehow connected to, or responsible for, pushing mentally ill people over the edge to violence. This led me to have a couple qualms with his article.

First, I have an issue with the basic composition of the piece. The manner in which it is written – incongruently and without focus – makes for difficult reading. By difficult, I don’t mean it is challenging but that it is difficult in the sense that it follows no logical order. Take, for example, how he finishes the article: “With body parts being mailed to their offices, maybe the politicians will finally take notice.” I don’t understand what he means in that sentence.

Prior to his conclusion, Zinchuk wrote of his belief the horror genre was a reason for the recent cannibalistic activity seen throughout the world. He then wrote of how two murderers were being treated with clemency by claiming their possible reinstitution with society is “perhaps even more crazy than the assailants in these cases.” What is it that he expects politicians to take notice of since body parts are being mailed to their offices? Is he suggesting politicians should take notice of some deranged people committing murders when it is fairly reasonable to conceive most politicians will notice murder occurs with or without body parts being mailed to them? Or is he suggesting that after having body parts mailed to them, politicians will finally take notice of the fact that, after committing crimes in the beautiful, democratic nation of Canada, some criminals will be fortunate enough to be considered for some form of clemency? However, what I fear the most is that he is trying to suggest that politicians should take notice of the supposed link between horrific crimes and the horror genre.

Zinchuk’s initial argument revolves around the idea the horror genre is pushing the mentally disturbed over the edge toward disturbing acts of violence. How he arrives at this conclusion is a mystery and a red herring. By claiming the horror genre is somehow related to these random acts of violence, he is leading his readers – and possibly himself – away from the real issue: there are people in this world who suffer from mental diseases that, at times, cause them to do things they would not have otherwise done, and there are some people who do not suffer from any mental illness but still commit horrific acts of violence.

Although it can be difficult to accept, there exists an element of randomness in life that can be terrifying and uncontrollable. And, to think there is always some link between random acts can be a troubling way to think since it can lead one to quick judgments rather than careful thought. Sometimes these quick judgments can lead a person to conceal the truth rather than attempt to reveal the truth. Zinchuk has attempted to conceal the truth of the matter by blaming a genre of entertainment for random and uncontrollable acts of violence. And, since he is a journalist – which is a position of truth revealing – he should focus on uncovering what is concealing the truth rather than fabricate an issue and lead his readers to biased conclusions about the horror genre.

I don’t believe readers are naïve enough to take Zinchuk’s words down the slippery slope to censorship. For, in my mind, I believe I can construct a red herring that would quickly be dismissed as the cause for the recent cannibalistic activity. I argue Catholics eating the Body of Christ are participating in a ritualistic act of cannibalism in the hopes it will bring them closer to a once incarnate God, which pushes the mentally disturbed over the edge to acts of violence.

This red herring would easily be regarded as ridiculous. However, there would be one or two or maybe 10 individuals who would find some illogical link and carry it forward into the scourge known as censorship. Censoring the marketplace of ideas will only lead to blindness, and must be done away with before the germ is allowed to fester. Regardless of how ridiculous an idea might be, its inception into the world and its successive subversion is the root of progress and evolution to a stronger world.

Perhaps Zinchuk should acknowledge the ease with which Luka Magnotta was apprehended from across the globe, and take notice of the fact that in today’s smaller world the chances of outrunning a crime have also grown smaller rather than blame the horror genre.

Matthew Benson

North Battleford


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