Friday, December 16, 2005

A Touch of Self-Censorship

If you happened to be looking at my other site between
roughly 1:30 and 2 this morning, you would have seen
something I’m not proud of. I wrote a stupid little story,
posted it up there, and then thought better of it. I’ve
taken it off now, and I sincerely hope no one got the
chance to read it. It was awful. It was cruel and dim-
witted and, worst of all, it just wasn’t funny enough to
get away with it. I can usually spew out reams and
reams of bad taste without a qualm, then merrily stick
it up on the internet for everyone to see without a single
worry that someone out there will be distressed or dis-
gusted by my sense of humor. This piece bothered me,
though. I didn’t want to be associated with it. I’m a bit
ashamed to have created it.

The problem, I think, is that I tried to make a joke out of
gross brutality. This is a tendency in our current popular
culture that I don’t want much to do with. I fully admit
to being fixated on violence. I am fascinated by crime,
revenge, and human awfulness. Many of my stories, both
here and elsewhere, are violent. Yet one has to be careful
when it comes to that kind of stuff and comedy. Too often,
it comes off as crass and nihilistic. It comes off as a childish
attempt to shock. I want my attempts to shock to be mature,
I guess. Perhaps that’s an absurd way to be, but it’s probably
better than trying to get people to laugh at the worst things
the world has to offer.

Although, in all honesty, I’ll probably dust it off one day
when I’m hurting for material. I can probably just take
out a sentence or two, clean up a few bits, and then not
feel overly guilty about it. The line between good bad
taste and bad bad taste is perhaps the thinnest one there
is, after all.