Reply to “All Christains are Serial Killers”

This is a response to this blog post:

I call shenanigans.

Let’s start from the beginning. First let’s look at the TWO examples given by the author: Carrie and South Park. I don’t really see either as being representative of either 1. society or 2. Hollywood. In fact, South Park is an outcast that isn’t exactly among the Hollywood elite.

Take the statistics. If 75% of the United States is Christian, then what is the religion of most of the characters in most of the movies out there? I’ll take a wild shot in the dark and say that it is around, say, 75%.

Think of it this way, there you are watching the latest romantic comedy where up and coming young New Yorker is juggling a budding career and a new girlfriend at the same time. They have their trials, but in the end, they live happily ever after. If neither one ever comes out and states their religion, why would you think they weren’t Christians? And what is more Christian than finding the one you love? What is more Christian than “happily ever after”?

Just as there are millions of normal people who go to work, go to the bar, go to the gym, go to wherever it is they go to, every single day who don’t outwardly display their religion, there are these characters in movies. How can you spot them? By how you should be spotting them in the real world: by what they do.

The first instance is a great one: Carrie. Carrie’s mother isn’t just any Christian. She isn’t even a conservative Christian. She is a wacko. A fucking nutcase. She is a whack job who is as far from sanity as you can get and still function in society. She expresses that insanity through religion. Why? Well, ask Stephen King.

But allow me to make conjectures. Carrie is a horror story. For horror to work, the reader/audience has to identify with story, with the characters. By grasping onto something like Christianity (75% of America), King brings home something that a lot of his potential readers are completely aware of. And then he twists it. He perverts it. He turns something that should be safe into something that is not.

That is to tell a story, not to destroy Christians.

Ok, let’s go to comedy. Take Dogma as a good example. This movie is directly aimed at what Christianity tells us. It puts the faith and the church right in the cross hairs and really doesn’t hold back. It is hilarious. (I think, at least)

Now imagine the same type of movie: just as blasphemous, just as scandalous, just as badly humored and whatnot, but this movie is aimed at Hindus. Would you get it? Would you think it is funny? What do you know about Hinduism?

Christianity is such a deeply rooted part of our history as America. Most of our predecessors came from Europe. Most of them were Christians (some escaping repression from? Other Christians! See we don’t even like ourselves). That history from Rome forward changed Europe, guided Europe and carries over the Atlantic to here today.

How would you write a period piece about the Elizabethan era without touching on the oppressive control the church had on normal life? Would you gloss over the past to appease the present?

Hollywood doesn’t have an anti-Christian agenda. (maybe some people in Hollywood do) Hollywood has only one agenda. It is a good old American idea: money. It has got to sell, or they won’t do it. The dollar wins every time. So here is the thing, if Christians don’t like what is being put out, why don’t they stop going to see it?

If 75% of America is Christian, then is safe to say that most of Hollywood characters are either acted, written or directed from a Christian perspective.

Look at the real world. Are all Christians saints? Hell no. We rob from each other, we beat each other, rape, murder, get into road rage, we swindle old people out of their life savings, we do a lot of horrible, horrible things to each other.

Well, you may think, those people aren’t really Christians. I’d be inclined to agree with you, but the requirements for Christianity aren’t that high: Believe in Christ.

Christians come in all types, all shapes, from Christmas Eve Christians to every Sunday Christians. We are Democrats, Republicans, Independents. We are open minded, we are closed minded. We are tolerant. We are bigots and racists. We are sports fans and we are pacifists. We are war heroes and we are poets. We are people. And as people we are not defined by a singularity of ourselves.

PW asks: Where are the Badly Behaved Writers?

I answer, this is a good place to start looking.

The article, written by asks a simple question: why have writers cleaned up their acts?

First off, let’s start with something. We haven’t. Not really. I’ve been to plenty of writer workshops and conventions, gotten loud, drunk and / or obnoxious with plenty of writers, poets, and editors. I’ve seen famous authors tramp around cross dressed, I’ve had to distract hotel security while parties were disbanded. I’ve had to search college grounds for hours for a fellow passed out poet.

Writers haven’t changed. Not really. Something else has changed, something has risen up which the author, Ms Amy Shearn, tries to get to, but doesn’t seem to find is, it is not the writers, but the business, the entity the THING that is publication has changed.

I dare say a lot of Bukowskis and Keroacs are being left forgotten in this climate. The Gonzo journalists and the over the top playwrites are side stages and personal blogs. What has happened is that the publishers aren’t taking those risks anymore.

Frankly, there is no reason too. Just like big music signing 10 small bands in hopes that two make it, why not just publish 10 unknown authors? Quantity over quality. Does that happen all the time? I have no idea, I am outside, unpublished. I have an advantage though, writing is not my job. Will it be one day? I can hope, yes?

At some point the greatness of an artist can overshadow their bad behavior. But at the same time, an artist’s bad behavior can very easily overshadow their art. In the business of making money, great art doesn’t really amount to anything. It is great sales that are important. If you are selling better than your behavior, or your behavior is contributing to your sales, then carry on. Otherwise…

Add on to all of this the propagation of blogs, micro-press, online publication, even Twitter and Facebook. No longer are books the only way a creative piece can get out. The issue with this is that no longer are people just buying books to find stories. You can be entertained instantly online.

So what has changed? There is more content. BIG publishers expect you to be well behaved (as Ms Shearn asks, are you TV presentable?) and more importantly, they expect you to produce. The audience has been distracted by the internet. Hold on, gotta check facebook.


Produce? Sure. Behave? Why? If I can’t make a living as a writer anyway (as many professionals have told me) then why clean up my act? (my act is no Chinaski, btw, but I have considered it before. Sometimes you get in a scrappin’ mood, you know? Except a poet gets into a scrappin’ mood and runs home to write about it rather than actually, you know, scrap.) And I would not be the only writer out there causing a ruckus, drinking until late hours.

So where are all the badly behaved writers? They are out there Ms Shearn, I promise you. Behaving badly probably as I type this.

But then again, if this bar didn’t have WiFi, I’d be doing something else.

P.S. As a postscript I’d like to talk to all the boring life writers out there. Go out and live. Seriously. Do you have to drink and party and sleep with strangers? Only near me. Go live. Hike. Travel. Learn and instrument. Dance with strangers. Stop and smell the flowers. Plant the flowers, and some vegetables. Learn about something hard, like calculus or the history of rope. Go to Horror conventions (see point number one). Live. Live. Live. Otherwise you’ll find yourself lost and writing about writing. Live, experience things.

The Culture of the Book

From an interview with Larry Mc with Chronicle books editor Fritz Lanham:

Q: What will you talk about at Rice?
A: The end of the culture of the book. I’m pessimistic. Mainly it’s the flow of people into my bookshop in Archer City. They’re almost always people over 40.

I don’t see kids, and I don’t see kids reading. I think little kids love to have stories read to them, but when they get to 10 or 11 or 12, they run into this tsunami of technology: iPod, iPhone, Blackberries.

They don’t resist it, and it’s normal that they wouldn’t; it’s their culture. I’m not so sure they ever come back to reading. Some will, but most won’t.

My comments and thoughts:

Book culture’? When was that? When was this mystical time period that human beings read?

Since the invention of writing, it has been an exclusionary thing. Then comes gutenberg, makes it so the mass can get books, right?


So they get excited, sometimes. (Harry Potter, I am looking at you) Still books are seen as a ‘learnin’ thing. The average person was not so much a reader. Bible? On Sunday?


And yes, there were riots for Dickens novels, there was the unprecidented popularity of Jack London, all the way through the Beats getting challenged on the first amendment all the way to the Supreme Court.

But in the end, you would never fill a stadium for a poetry reading. As a culture, books have always been in the back ground behind things like movies, TV, sports.

College kids read. Dorky kids read. Smart people read. See what I mean?

So are we reading less? Ask JK Rowling or Stephanie Meyer. Indeed I would say that now we are reading more than we ever were. That now, today, we as a species are producing, distributing and reading more works of prose/poetry/non-fiction due to the internet, due to print on demand, due many things.

So maybe we aren’t all sitting around reading high literature all day, but keep in mind, most of ‘high literature’ at the time was just pop culture (I’m looking at you Shakespeare).

End of the book culture? I don’t think so.