Posts Tagged ‘heavy metal’

I’m taking a break from setting up Video Rage (more on that in a later post) to talk about a serious subject that needs to be talked about before serious damage is done to my state and to the transgender community here.

If you’ve been paying attention to developments in LGBT rights here in America, you’re probably aware that North Carolina has a transgender bathroom law that effectively bars transgender people from using the bathroom aligning with their gender identity, forcing them to instead use the bathroom corresponding to their biological sex. Mississippi has a much broader anti-LGBT law that includes this provision, and Kansas is considering a law that would force school districts to pay twenty-five hundred dollars to any kid who finds a transgender kid in their bathroom (how the schools are supposed to pay for that, I’m not sure. Kansas is flat broke).

Now Ohio’s got a bathroom bill. Or it will. A representative named John Becker from Clermont County is planning on introducing a bill that would “protect” families from “predators” who take advantage of businesses’ LGBT-friendly policies that allow customers to use the bathrooms corresponding to their gender identities. Becker says that the bill will have an exemption from LGBT individuals, which would make it different from the law in North Carolina. But with a bill like this, can you really just say there’ll be an exemption and expect people not to get worried?

And we should be worried about this bill, no matter what promises of exemptions or assurances that the transgender community isn’t the problem here. You know how I know this? Because people who would harass or harm men, women and children already exist! Not just in bathrooms, but in schools, homes, places of worship, government buildings, private businesses, public parks, and more than I can list in a single blog post! And you know what else? They don’t need to pretend to be transgender to do the attacking! They’ll just do it! I’m surprised we’re not getting more laws and outrage over that?

In fact, where is that anger? Where is that outrage, those proposed laws? Why aren’t we more upset about the rape that occurs everyday whether there’s a non-discrimination ordinance or not? Ke$ha was assaulted by her producer but is still stuck in a contract with a guy, even after several legal battles with him. A former Speaker of the House raped young boys in the shower (without putting on a dress, I might add), but nobody seems to care that he was only convicted for another crime. A well-known media critic has been constantly harassed online by people threatening to rape and kill her, but where’s the rush of politicians and clergy to pass laws to protect her? I find it very odd that the outrage only comes when there’s transgender people involved. Like allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms of their choice, rather than forcing them to use one aligning to their biological sex and possibly face physical assault, is somehow a recipe for increased assaults.

We should not be punishing the trans community for an imaginary fear!

Which it isn’t. Look at the research. A non-discrimination ordinance doesn’t increase sexual assaults. There are no recorded cases of NDOs leading to an assault in a bathroom. This is fact. This is just trying to punish transgender individuals. Sure, perhaps some of it is actual fear of sexual assault, but if this was the real focus, then we’d be seeing bills that more heavily punished sex offenders or took steps to do away with rape culture and the systemic causes of it. We’d be seeing all this outrage 24/7, no matter who is perpetrating the raping.

But these aren’t the only reasons this bill shouldn’t be passed. Oh, all that I’ve talked about are definitely the most important reasons, but they’re not the only reasons. No, there are other reasons, and these are the reasons that politicians who aren’t that sympathetic to the transgender community. The reason that they should get these folks against this bill is that if it passed, all of Ohio would be punished. Not just the transgender community in Ohio. All of Ohio.

Since North Carolina and Mississippi passed their bills, they’ve received such a backlash. Celebrities have canceled concerts or filming movies in those states due to these laws. Large companies like Paypal or the NBA have said they won’t do or expand business in North Carolina or Mississippi if these laws stay on the books. Entire towns and states have even passed resolutions not to have business with these states unless absolutely essential (my own Columbus passed such a resolution for North Carolina).

What would happen if that happened in Ohio? I don’t think we’d lose our swing state status come November (especially with the GOP convention in Cleveland in July), but we’d lose a whole lot in the process! Nationwide has its headquarters here in Columbus, and a lot of other major businesses have important branches in our metropolitan areas. We have several sports teams throughout the state at the college and professional levels. And prior to contrary belief, we get a lot of musical stars in Ohio during their tours. If this bill gets passed, those businesses may want to halt expanding in the state or relocate elsewhere, hurting our economy. Sports teams and celebrities may not want to play in our state, to the detriment of people who just want to see their favorite celebrities do their thing.* Entire states will say, “Sorry Ohio, we don’t agree with your human rights laws. Unless it’s absolutely essential, we’re discontinuing our business with the Buckeye State.”

This bill won’t deter sexual predators. It’ll just hurt Ohio, hurt its citizens, no matter if they’re trans or cisgender. So even if you don’t care for or dislike the the LGBT community, you should be worried for that very reason.

Now the good news is that there’s at least one petition out right now against this bill. At the time I’m posting, it’s got 7,022 signatures out of 7,500, and depending on how many people sign, it may go for even more signatures. This is great, and I hope more people, including you, my dear Followers of Fear, sign this petition. However, it’s not enough. It’s far from enough.

Not now. Not ever.

In order to stop this bill from becoming law and damaging Ohio, we need to make our voices heard. Writing blog posts, or writing or calling or tweeting Ohio representatives and Governor John Kasich, telling them that this bill is just plain wrong and that Ohioans will not stand for it. We have to make sure that when Representative Becker comes to the Legislature in Columbus, which happens to be one of the LGBT capitals of the Midwest,** that this bill is dead on arrival, and that no one is going to support such a hateful bill.

So do what I’m doing now. Make your voices heard, and don’t let anyone shut you up. Encourage others to speak their minds. Start petitions, talk to your elected officials. Make sure they know how the public feels about Becker’s bill. Because we can’t afford a bill like this, and we can’t afford hate in the Buckeye State. Not under any circumstances.

*We have a heavy metal festival in Columbus every year called Rock on the Range, that attracts bands and fans from all over the world. Imagine how bad next year’s festival will be if this bill is passed! Believe it or not, we heavy metal fans can be pretty liberal, and so can our bands.

**No seriously, Columbus is an LGBT power center! Our Gay Pride Parade and Festival attracts thousands of people every year. Not to mention that the rest of the year, we have a vibrant LGBT community active in our city. And a couple of really fun gay bars, more than a few within walking distance of each other. Believe me, I know.

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I’ve mentioned it before, but being a fan of horror (let alone a writer of horror) can be very difficult sometimes. We’re not even in the Top 10 Most Popular Genres. We might be in the Top 20…I think. Such is the fate of a group that likes to be scared, when most people would rather avoid the feeling of having something evil and murderous lurking over your shoulders. Because of that, I thought I’d make a list of problems that is mostly unique to the horror genre. Here it is for your humor edification.

1. You’re not dangerous or creepy, you’re actually well adjusted. For some reason the popular image of horror fans is that we’re a dark, moody bunch who got bullied a lot as kids and we’re just looking for the opportunity to get our revenge on the world in the most depraved of ways. Why does anyone think that? Is it because we like movies where serial killers find half-naked girls in the woods, throw them against trees, and then cut them in half?

I don’t know. But if I’m anything to go by, I’m not that image. True, I was bullied a bit when I was younger, but it definitely didn’t affect me that badly! People tell me I’m a funny and really nice kind of guy whom they generally like. And most other fans I know are good people, we just like a good ghost story or slasher flick on the weekends rather than the latest Sandra Bullock comedy or have a fantasy football league. I mean, some of us do those things as well, but we also like to shout “Redrum” when we’re angry or go see Slipknot when we’re in concert. It’s just how we roll.

2. It’s hard to get people to go to the movies with you. Is there a new Avengers flick out? You’ll probably find someone to go with you by simply sending a text message. Comedy or romance film? If no one in your immediate social circle is available, chances are someone at the office will go with you. Horror movie? Yeah, unless your date or your friend is super brave or tolerant of scary stuff, you’ll be sitting in that theater alone for the most part. I speak from experience.

And speaking of which…

3. You can’t make people see why Cary Fukunaga’s departure from the new adaptation of IT is such a disaster. In case you didn’t know, Fukunaga, who’s directed True Detective among other things, was set to direct a two-part adaptation of the Stephen King classic. Sadly he split after he and New Line couldn’t see eye-to-eye over certain aspects. To which many say, “NOOOO! Why?” Most people just assume we’re being drama queens, especially since there’s already an adaptation of IT out there that scared them as children.

Really not scary.

Really not scary.

Yeah, as children. Truth be told, you watch it again, it’s a crappy adaptation, sanitized for TV audiences and with so much changed from the original story fans of the novel are left with a bad taste in their mouths. And Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown isn’t even that terrifying. Mostly he just laughs at a distance and talks about making corpses float. The kids are never shown in real danger. I’ve seen scarier things in a college final (for more reasons why the IT TV miniseries sucks, watch this review by the Nostalgia Critic and laugh yourself silly at how you ever thought this could be scary).

So naturally, we were hoping that we would get the adaptation IT deserves. Without Fukunaga, it’s about as dead as a corpse floating in a sewer, and we’re all disappointed.

Hey, maybe I did make you see why Fukunaga’s leaving is such a disaster. Go me!

4. You can’t wear your horror fan badge with pride on first dates. Horror fans do date, and a lot of us have great relationships and families. However, declaring you’re a horror fan on the first date and several subsequent dates is like romantic suicide. People assume that, if you’re male, you’re some wannabe serial killer creep who spends too much time peeping on girls, looking at graphic porn, and practicing killing in a dark and moldy basement. If you’re female, they think you were one of those goth girls in high school whom nobody got along with and who has anger and break-up issues.

Like I pointed out above, we’re not. Most of us stay out of those basements, get along with plenty of different people, and would never dream of hurting anyone. Not as if we can point that out on the first date though. Maybe pull out a Stephen King novel when you start staying over at one another’s places, and that’ll signal that you like to dip into terror every now and then. After a few more sleepovers or whatever and the books consistently stay scary, they’ll realize that yes, you like horror, but you’re not going to hobble them with an axe or mallet and chain them to a bed in your house.

As you can see, Halloween's a big deal for me.

As you can see, Halloween’s a big deal for me.

5. Halloween is more than just a single day of the year for you. No, it’s an entire freaking month, and a lot goes into it. You want the perfect scary costume, the perfect creepy decorations. You have to decide what scary movies coming out you’re going to see, what scary movies you’re going to revisit on DVD, what books you’re going to read. You’re going to want to discuss how the new season of American Horror Story is doing leading up to the two Halloween episodes. And you’re going to want to find the perfect party to show off your Halloween love.

You see, Halloween for us is kind of like how moms treat their daughters when they enter beauty pageants for children. We want to show the world how good we are, we want it done right, and you all better cooperate with us and with our zeal for this or there will be plenty of hell to pay! Happy Halloween, bitches! You just try and beat me at my own game!

6. Our love of metal is probably much healthier than being a fan of Justin Bieber. Again, we’re back on that negative image. Most horror fans have a pretty wide-ranging taste for music. Stephen King’s a rock fan, and I have an eclectic mix of J-Pop to classical on my iPod. Yes, I like metal too and so do a lot of other people, but it’s all just fun. We’re not actually looking to submit to Satan or in danger of turning into gunmen. Most metal artists are apparently pretty decent people when you meet them too. They have normal lives like you or me, they just are good at reaching our inner angst through music. It’s much better than listening to an overgrown toddler still going through puberty and acting like a total idiot when he’s not on tour, anyway.

7. It’s hard to discuss serial killers, fictional or real, in the company of others. I learned this the hard way, and to this day I still wish I’d shut my mouth before it made people give me stares. Sorry if I’m a little passionate about explaining how Ed Gein helped inspire Hannibal Lecter, Norman Bates, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You’re the one who asked if that last one really was based on anything real.

 

8. Most importantly, we go to great lengths to find gold in a pile of shit. I mean that metaphorically, of course. But it applies so well. There’s a lot of horrible horror novels and films out there, and horror fans will go to great lengths to find a film if they think it’ll be interesting to watch, much more than fans of other genres. Fear for us is like a drug, and we’ll try the gamut of bad films if it’ll give us the high we’re looking for. And even if we get a couple of bad ones, it’s well worth it when we find a really awesome one that scares us to our core.

Like Fukunaga’s IT would’ve been. And now I’m sad.

~~~

If anything, this post is meant to show you that horror fans are normal people, just like you or bronies. Are we perfect? No. Are some of our interests very macabre? Yes. Have I been to a morgue? Once or twice, but in the long run, does it really prove anything? Not really. It just shows, like everyone else, we’re all a little different and have our own special quirks.

So the next time you meet a horror fan, do us all a favor. Don’t discuss serial killers with us until we know you better. Instead, talk about the IT adaptation we wish we had and about how hard it is to get a good scare these days. Or the economy, that works just as well.

Was there any particular problems about being a horror fan that I missed?

Do any of these items stand out to you at all?