The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

18 April 2007

Stephen King must die

And Dean Koontz too, while we're at it. Anybody who can think up sick and twisted plots is obviously a potential mass murderer:

Professor Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of [Virginia Tech's] English department, said she did not personally know the gunman. But she said she spoke with Lucinda Roy, the department's director of creative writing, who had Cho in one of her classes and described him as "troubled."

"There was some concern about him," Rude said. "Sometimes, in creative writing, people reveal things and you never know if it's creative or if they're describing things, if they're imagining things or just how real it might be. But we're all alert to not ignore things like this."

Oh, please. If you think you can tell from a writing sample — well, see what you make of this:

If a creative writing teacher can't tell between fact and fiction — well, never mind. Many creative writing classes I have taken were a bunch of bunk. And it should be obvious that English professors are not psychology experts.

Anyways, as a student who moonlights writing weird fiction, I resent the fact that someone is trying to pigeon-hole all writers of disturbing fiction as gun-toting depressive maniacs. It's an implication that the only acceptable writing is "happy" writing. Pfft. You might as well dose the entire populace let alone the literary critics with soma.

Now: is the writer exercising his demons, or exorcising them? If you're absolutely sure, and you're not making enough money in academia, maybe Kreskin is looking for an assistant.

Addendum, 8:30 pm: In comments, Matt Deatherage points to a relevant Oklahoma case he had extensively researched; I made reference to it here.

Posted at 3:19 PM to Almost Yogurt

TrackBack: 3:34 PM, 19 April 2007
» Violent, bizarre, and repulsive writing is not a sign of ill health from Scribal Terror
As Chaz at Dustbury points out, if sick and twisted plots were a sign of homicidal mania, we should definitely watch out for Stephen King and Dean Koontz. The idea that a creative writing teacher should be able to recognize psychosis by counting the nu......[read more]

I mean, after all, King writes about picking boogers. That is just plain creepy.

Posted by: Jeffro at 4:50 PM on 18 April 2007

We already tried that here in Oklahoma - have you forgotten about the kid from Moore who faced felony charges and huge repercussions for over a year because he wrote a violent fictional story?

The charges were eventually dropped, but he couldn't get his record expunged from the charges of being creative until the legislature rewrote the law the following year.

So we've already been down that road here, and seen its dead end. One can hope this experience will keep them from going that route again - or, if not, at least that it's past the deadline for new bills in this legislative session.

Posted by: Matt at 5:11 PM on 18 April 2007

I thought we had all established that it's video games that cause, and are a sign of, all violent tendencies in all of human history.

Posted by: Adam at 6:29 PM on 18 April 2007

I'm waiting to hear that they turned up a copy of Super Mario Ancestors in Genghis Khan's rucksack.

Posted by: CGHill at 6:47 PM on 18 April 2007

Good grief. My former 8th Grade English teacher made national news in 1999 for getting a kid sent to juvie for a week because of a scary story that she asked them to write as a Halloween assignment.

Posted by: Veronica at 9:25 PM on 18 April 2007

By now, you've all noticed the strychnine I sprinkled on your keyboards. You're all paralyzed, unable to do anything except stare at your screens.

Heh-heh. Heh-heh-heh-heh. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!

All right, whoever said 'strychnine doesn't do that' is spoiling the mood.

Posted by: Mister Snitch! at 11:25 PM on 18 April 2007

Sick and twisted writing is one thing. Extremely poorly written and totally age-inappropriate, as if composed by an immature 13 year old instead of a person 10 years older than that, is quite another.

What bothers me most--as an English Major--is that Cho's skill level was so low that he should never have passed the prerequisite course needed for the Playwriting class he was in. He shouldn't have been accepted into that Major at all.

Given his rage and general inarticulateness, Library Science clearly would have been a better fit.

Posted by: Bigwig at 11:55 AM on 19 April 2007

Bigwig said it for me.

The only other thought I had to add to the mix is: Koontz and King know the difference between the reality in their stories and real life. I'm not so sure this Cho fella did.

Posted by: Margi at 12:43 PM on 19 April 2007

Well, here we go again:

Student arrested for essay's imaginary violence

At least it's not here.

Posted by: Matt at 8:46 PM on 27 April 2007