Take the stabbing in Wisconsin. Two little idiots slashed up a third because they thought it would endear them to Web 2.0's perennial bogeyman:
"[Suspect Anissa E. Weier] told police that Slender Man is the 'leader' of Creepypasta, and in the hierarchy of that world, one must kill to show dedication. Weier said that [fellow suspect Morgan E. Geyser] told her they should become 'proxies' of Slender Man — a paranormal figure known for his ability to create tendrils from his fingers and back — and kill their friend to prove themselves worthy of him. Weier said she was surprised by Geyser's suggestion, but also excited to prove skeptics wrong and show that Slender Man really did exist."
You can replace every instance of "Slender Man" in that natter with "The Easter Bunny" and it makes just as much sense. This is an entirely artificial urban legend with its origins in a Something Awful photoshop contest from 2009. This is an easy history to track down and that any news source is reporting anything different is just because journalistic integrity died long ago.
|The fake that started it all.|
It's much better - as in it gets way more page views - to hype up a non-threat like Slender Man and the Creepypasta Wiki. Then you get all sorts of moral outrage from people who honestly worry that there's not enough God in the Constitution. And with a brilliant work of horror like Slender Man, who's noodley appendages strike something deep in the primate brain, is just unnerving enough to get every muddling middle-brow clamoring for the digital equivalent of book burnings.
However this is not to say media and deviant behavior are entirely unrelated. That would be a good topic of conversation in the wake of this crime as, since there's no corpse for a change, we might actually get somewhere. Like how these two girls legitimately believed stabbing someone to death would win them otherworldly favors from a series of JPEGs. That kind of magical thinking will lead to catastrophe no matter what you attach it to and it's epidemic in pelagic America, a flat hellscape where nothing ever happens despite a loudly enforced popular mythology that everyone is special and of consequence.
That Americans live in a bland nothingness while dreaming of the Homeric life is the great unspoken truth of our time. It drives everything from our jingoistic foreign policy to our retarded market economics, so it should come as no surprise that two All-American losers should concoct a power fantasy out of internet fiction. That they were "inspired" by Slender Man is as relevant to the debate as if they were inspired by raptureready.com.
Not that any such discussion will happen in the national media. It's just gonna be a few weeks of "Look what the kids are into now!" before the next mass shooting happens.