moral panic

Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I’m fascinated by weird religious panics about kids’ pop culture from the last few decades, from D&D being accused of teaching kids witchcraft to He-Man being picked apart for occult symbolism. So I’m honestly surprised there hasn’t been some loud, widely-publicized moral panic about Steven Universe from the religious fundamentalist crowd yet. I mean, think about it, we have a popular cartoon show aimed at children that features:

  • At least one canonical same-sex couple, as well as at least a couple major examples of same-sex attraction
  • A main character who is stated to have been born out of wedlock and raised by a non-traditional family unit
  • At least a few instances of “suggestive” dance moves
  • Magic and violence being shown as a good and positive thing
  • A major symbol for the good guys being a five-pointed star
  • Use of mystical/magical crystals (fundies are still suspicious about that aspect of new age culture, right?)
  • Seeing the future via a “third eye” (this is one thing I recall that fundies complaining about occult elements in cartoons back in the 80s LOVED to rail about)
  • A character who uses shapeshifting to turn into animal forms (another aspect of “occult” religions and beliefs that 80s-era fundies got their undies in a bunch over) or even to transform from a female form to a male one
  • A character who defies the gender binary and is attractive to both men AND women

I mean, I certainly wouldn’t agree with such a moral panic, but in a world where The Loud House can get yelled at by One Million Moms for featuring a pair of gay parents in one episode, I’m honestly baffled that this entire show managed to slip by the religious types’ radar.

Man, fundies really lost their touch since the Satanic Panic ended, huh?


It was only a matter of time before Dark Dungeons surfaced on this feed.

The ultimate Dungeons & Dragons opposition text, this 1984 religious comic by the infamous Jack Chick is a shrill, inaccurate attempt to stoke moral panic about roleplaying games. For anyone who has ever glanced at a D&D book, it is idiotic but, thanks in part to Chick’s distinctive style and the story’s sheer outrageousness, it’s also kind of…awesome?

We begin at the game table surround by teens, presided over by a (vampy) older woman named Ms. Frost in the role of Dungeon Master. Marcie gets her thief, Black Leaf (maybe one of the best names for a thief I’ve ever encountered?) killed and is exiled from the group. Meanwhile, Debbie’s cleric, Elfstar, gets to 8th level and the DM invites her to join a witch’s coven where she learns real magic. Later, Marcie, distraught over getting Black Leaf killed, commits suicide. This leads Debbie to a crisis of conscience and, from there, into the arms of an unspecified Christian church. The pastor drives off Debbie’s demons and together, they burn all her D&D books. The end!

I don’t know about you, but I wish my high school DM looked like Ms. Frost…

And here you have it, folks

the costume and the dance that apparently caused enough Moral Panic to necessitate multiple calls to the studio owner from Concerned Citizens

*sigh* I would just like to point out that the costume was one I already owned, from when I danced at a different studio. It’s–it’s just a dance costume. 

Anyway, so after those wonderful conversations about my costume and dancing being ‘inappropriate for children’ I was pretty freaked out, obviously.

but I’d also like to point out that, during the night of the second performance, a whole bunch of kids came up to me separately to tell me that they’d liked my dance, and that they wanted to make sure they got to see it again tonight, and would I tell them what number it was?

and not, like, in a ‘tee-hee, I like something inappropriate’ kind of way, like kids will sometimes tell you that their favorite song is a one with a bunch of profanity, or that they’ve seen a movie with a sex scene in it.

just–they just thought the dance was fun.


(wore a leather jacket the second night, and danced it with less slink and more fuck-you attitude. also.)

so many people wanna defend hiv criminalization but virtually none of them know even the first fucking thing about the current science of hiv treatment and transmission. smh. stop pretending your opinion is based on anything but fear and moral panic when you’re ignorant on the subject and you’re supporting laws that literally disincentivize testing which makes them an actual threat to public health


((previous: sent.))


Anxiety: logan fck i rcewed up its alle my fauly

mr serious: Anxiety? Are you alright?

Anxiety: i dint fuxkinf know crap logic prinde hayes me i sctewed up

mr serious: Where are you? It’s five in morning, you’re obviously not okay. I’m coming to get you, and then you can explain.

Anxiety: ni just let mf fucking rot here okat i dony deserve yoi

mr serious: You’re worrying me. Tell me where you are or I’ll get the others to help me look.

Anxiety: im fune altight?? perfwctky fien. i jusy need you to use your dimb logic or whatevet to talk me out ot this dumh attack

mr serious: You’re having an attack?! If you don’t want to tell me where you are, can you call me?

Anxiety: ni too harf to breathe lrt alone tslk

mr serious: Alright. Then tell me how this happened. I think you mentioned Prince? Did Roman say something?

Anxiety: princet didnt ssy anything. i messed uo and didnt help him hwen he needed me and i dont even deserve your help right now

mr serious: What do you mean?

Anxiety: i got upsetbbevause he didnt want me as a friend and thsys stupud i know but then i was already freaking out and then he tells me hes been having nightmared and nust wanted to talk to me and logann i messed up

mr serious: Would it help you if I checked up on Roman, since you won’t tell me where you are? Also, I know I’m not the best with understanding and interpreting emotions but it’s easy to tell that Roman is fond of you.

Anxiety: yes please and why would he like me

Anxiety: i mesn im literally the worst person alive so like ??

mr serious: We talked about this, Anxiety. You need to learn that your negative thoughts aren’t based on fact.

Anxiety: im sorry.

mr serious: If it would make you feel better and ease your mind, we can check on him together?

Anxiety: what if he doesnt want to see me

mr serious: Then we’ll find out together.


logan!!: Anxiety and most likely Roman are in distress. I know it’s early but when you wake up, can you please make them breakfast? There are things they need to sort out.

Pat: of course!! I’ll get on it right away. what’s up with them?

logan!!: Anx texted me earlier saying that he screwed up, and I finally managed to get a little bit of the story out of him. He’s a bit incomprehensible right now. I’ll keep you updated.

Pat: thank you!!


Tie Guy: Anxiety and I are outside your door. I know I’m probably not the one you’d want knowing about your nightmares but Anxiety’s a mess. He needs you, Roman.

If kids can’t socialize, who should parents blame? Simple: They should blame themselves. This is the argument advanced in It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, by Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd. Boyd—full disclosure, a friend of mine—has spent a decade interviewing hundreds of teens about their online lives.

What she has found, over and over, is that teenagers would love to socialize face-to-face with their friends. But adult society won’t let them. “Teens aren’t addicted to social media. They’re addicted to each other,” Boyd says. “They’re not allowed to hang out the way you and I did, so they’ve moved it online.”

It’s true. As a teenager in the early ’80s I could roam pretty widely with my friends, as long as we were back by dark. But over the next three decades, the media began delivering a metronomic diet of horrifying but rare child-abduction stories, and parents shortened the leash on their kids. Politicians warned of incipient waves of youth wilding and superpredators (neither of which emerged). Municipalities crafted anti-loitering laws and curfews to keep young people from congregating alone. New neighborhoods had fewer public spaces. Crime rates plummeted, but moral panic soared. Meanwhile, increased competition to get into college meant well-off parents began heavily scheduling their kids’ after-school lives.

The result, Boyd discovered, is that today’s teens have neither the time nor the freedom to hang out. So their avid migration to social media is a rational response to a crazy situation. They’d rather socialize F2F, so long as it’s unstructured and away from grown-ups. “I don’t care where,” one told Boyd wistfully, “just not home.”

The assassination of queer subcultures by mainstream respectability politics is transparent as hell and I don’t know how so many people who think they’re Doing Good let it slide, but, come on.

Kink, and fur, and a host of other subcultures are dominated by queer people. They were largely founded by queer people are still propelled by queer people. Individual kinksters, furries, whoever else, are overwhelmingly gay, or bi, or ace, trans, genderqueer, whatever else you can think of. A lot of them are only into what they’re into because it’s the easiest way to surround themselves with other queer people. A lot of them are there because it’s the only way they feel safe exploring or expressing their sexuality. A lot of them are just super freaky, and that’s A-OK.

“[kink | fur | etc.] doesn’t make you queer” isn’t recited like a moral precept because there’s any real movement of Straight kinksters/furries/whoever trying to infiltrate our spaces. Its purpose is to firmly divorce those concepts in your mind before you have a chance to realize how linked they are by nature. It’s meant to build a brick wall through your perceptions of the world around you.

If you have “kink doesn’t make you queer” drilled into your head for long enough, it becomes an instinct to see a woman in leather and think, “Not Gay.” If you hear “fur doesn’t make you queer” often enough, then seeing a fursuit at Pride will fill you with a moral panic: They Don’t Belong Here, you say to yourself, they’re not queer, even if they are. So you make them feel unsafe, evict them from all of our spaces, and all of a sudden, we have a Nice, Sterile, Respectable Image of a queer community who Definitely Isn’t into any of That Weird Shit, please Straight people, can’t you see we’re just like you?

Be better than that.

Scott makes his future self facepalm in the afterlife and Viv kicks ass in Champions #1.MU. Seriously, Viv is on the roll in this issue – she takes down two dangerous members of Freelancers, saves a bus full of people and later saves Kamala’s life.

Freelancers themselves are an interesting bunch. They are a diverse team with an interesting combination of personalities – Might seem to be a very confident leader, but to a point. Panic seems strangely bored of everything, probably because she has an insight into people’s fears. Crush is flirty and a bit manipulative and Hotness made me think “That’s how evil Chase Stein would look like” and now I want to see them fight one day. And Cursed Cass seems like one with a nice combination of powers, personality, and approach – she seems to be sad and pessimistic, calming to be unlucky at everything. She also is invulnerable but has nothing more to it, which can be a problem, as past comics have explored with characters like Butterball. How you make yourself useful with such power? Her answer was to go the same path as Mad Stan.

The story is very simple and straightforward – Freelancers are hired to get rid of people protesting against building an oil pipe through national forest by framing them into starting a riot, getting rid of the media and then beating them up (if that sounds like an implausible thing, please check what is happening in America right now) Champions try to stop them but later both teams have to team-up against monsters falling from the sky. While the issue has an extra number of pages, it’s still impressive how dense with events the story is, with very quick and brief setup, followed by action that allows showing some nice characterization as well as cool moments. We had Kamala wrestle a giant monster, for one, the entire scene with the bus was very cool, Sam and Miles got hit by a meteor. It was fun in a very old-school way I really hope mark Waid will keep this good level with Freelancers, once he gets to write them.


A/N So I said I was going to do a drabble and then I liked two particular prompts and it turned into this… thingie…

Pairing: moxiety (Morality/Anxiety) - can be read as platonic

Genre: fluff, hurt/comfort

Word Count: 980

Warnings: self-deprecating thoughts


Virgil doesn’t like himself. Patton loves him regardless.

He stares into the mirror and his reflection frowns back. His eyeshadow is thickly applied today so, if he does decide to drag himself out of his room, the others won’t notice the dark bags sinking into his skin. His hair is a mess and he shrinks into his hoodie to compensate for this. The more things he hides about himself, the better he looks.

Virge sighs, and turns away from his own glare. It’s no secret that he isn’t exactly… fond of himself. A better description would be just ‘he hates himself’, but he never really had been as dramatic as a certain other side. It takes another minute of staring blankly at the bathroom tiles before he gives up and decides that today is just going to be one of those days where he doesn’t leave his room.

Keep reading


Dungeons and Dragons, The Devil’s Board Game,

The granddaddy of all role playing board games, Dungeons and Dragons is perhaps also the most popular and important RPG in gaming history.  Introduced in 1974, D&D quickly became a hit game among youngsters, teens, and college aged gamers.  By 1980 it was the most popular game board game, with an estimated 3 million players and 750,000 copies being sold annually.  

Like all things new, it wasn’t unusual for D&D to earn the suspicion of older generations.  Many people thought the D&D was a corrupting influence on American youth, blaming the game for moral decline and leading to psychological illness.  Then in 1979 the disappearance of a college student named James Dallas Egbert III fanned the flames into a roaring inferno.

Egbert was a student of Michigan State University, and a troubled teen who was being forced by his overly controlling parents into a career he did not want to pursue.  On the night August 15th, 1979 Egbert disappeared after entering a steam tunnel.  A large search was conducted but the boy was never found.  His parents blamed his disappearance on his favorite game; Dungeons and Dragons, claiming that in a fit of D&D induced mania their son had a psychological break from reality and went off on a real life D&D adventure.  The story made national headlines, and faster than the roll of a dice the evils of D&D spread across the country.  As it turned out Egbert had entered the tunnels to commit suicide, but instead ran away to become an oil worker in Louisiana.  He was discovered several months later and forced to resume his education by his parents. He committed suicide a year later.

The truth behind Egbert’s disappearance did little to stem the tide of anti-D&D sentiment, especially when the cause was taken up by the growing Christian Conservative movement.  Soon preachers and televangelists such as Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, and Jerry Falwell were railing against the board game at the pulpit.  Fundamentalist Christians accused the game of having satanic influence, encouraging occultism, black magic, and witchcraft.  Christian groups decried the game as an instrument of the devil and a propagator of evil among the nation’s youth, causing murder and suicide. 

Reaction against D&D was far from rational.  Christian Groups often successfully pressured schools and colleges into banning the game. A few successful groups even convinced local government officials to adopt ordinances forbidding the game within their boroughs or towns.  Inspired by MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), a woman named Patricia Pulling founded BADD (Bothered By Dungeons & Dragons) with the aim of banning the board game everywhere, and if that couldn’t be done, then suing the game into bankruptcy.  Other groups raised money from donors, bought as many D&D sets with it as possible, and destroyed them in large bonfires.

Dungeons & Dragons was not the only victim, but a host of other 80’s icons such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Care Bears, Transformers, GI Joe, and many others faced similar accusations of satanic influence and evil.  In fact, the whole country was awash in a moral and religious panic over occultism and devil worship.  The subject became the focus of every talk show on TV.  The corporation Proctor & Gamble was accused of being a satanic company due to its centuries old logo, while rumors abounded that it’s president donated much of the company’s profits to The Church of Satan.  Hundreds of childcare workers were imprisoned on the charge of child abuse based on the claim that they had conducted “satanic rituals” on the children.  Many of the kids were toddlers, who were dragged into interrogation rooms and shouted at by detectives until they broke down and admitted to being the victims of weird satanic abuse. BADD head Patricia Pulling made the claim that 8% of the American population were satanists, which at the time amounted to around 20 million people.  When questioned by a reporter where she came up with that number, she claimed that 4% of teens and 4% of adults were satanists, hence 8%.  There was even a ridiculous claim parroted by the media that around 1 million people a year were murdered in occult human sacrifice rituals.  

The war on D&D and the satanic panic ended in the 1990’s when a number of scientific organizations debunked the rumors.  Among them were studies by Centers for Disease Control and the American Association of Suicidology which found that D&D had nothing to do with murder, suicide, or anti-social behavior.  Regardless the stigma is still held by a few.  In 2013, 700 Club leader Rev. Pat Robertson claimed on national TV that D&D, Harry Potter, and other “demonic games” was the source of teen suicide.

Hi kids! here’s a little message for you,
Why don’t you go shoot up your school?
Steal your daddy’s gun and shoot for fun
At the bullies and teachers. Won’t that be cool?
We are the media, who glorify the killers,
And we need more killers as we need more filler
Material. The why’s; the ways in which we psycho-analyse you
(And torment your parents) for doing what you do.
We need people to tune in, welcome back to columbine revisited
A twenty-four hour special, news recycle, the same stories,
Different scenarios. Different schools. So you’re a loser
And a loner, and also a violent video game owner,
Well here’s a rifle and a couple of magnums.
You’re the prime candidate,
See if you can get that death toll up to eight or so,
You know, we’d love to hate you on our show.
Surely being infamous is way better than being anonymous?
And best of all, no-one will know the blame is really on us.

Glory Killings

By Ryan Havers

Me: So about that police brutality in Hamburg right now that’s-

Liberals: Error! Conversations about police brutality can not be initiated without a signed statement in threefold completely embracing non-violence and formally distancing yourself from all the ‘bad activists’. Any conversations on police brutality initiated without the proper paperwork will be diverted back to a moral panic about property destruction.

I honestly think it’s much more likely that the reason tumblr hasn’t been removing Nazi blogs is that they’re just that incompetent and out of touch with their userbase and the definition of what a functional website is. I’m not completely disregarding the idea that some of the staff are Nazi sympathizers, but incompetence seems much more likely as the direct cause. I mean, they still haven’t switched to https, and they took years to even start to try to deal with pornbots.

And in this case, the obvious hate blogs are just a symptom of a greater sitewide problem. Tumblr is definitionally memetic. It also has a fairly young userbase. Combine that with a lack of administrative moderation or competence, and use of the site as a radicalization tool happens very, very fast. You get Nazis that way, but most people who are old enough to use this site do have a basic awareness that Nazis are considered bad and that many people consider overt racism to be bad. Meanwhile, other radicalizing hate groups or ideologies fly completely under the radar. TERFs and SWERFs, for one. People don’t generally know what their ideology is beyond what is apparent in the name, so it is easy for it to spread memetically. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be entire organized groups; remember when everyone was convinced that all emotionally abusive parents had NPD (because of one post that spread a lot), or that otherkin were transphobic (because of nounself pronouns, a couple people freaking out, and general confusion about what exactly an otherkin was)? Ideas roll around in any environment, but tumblr is like an ideological tennis court where every time you hit the tennis ball, you get two identical tennis balls, and they’re all bouncing everywhere, and some of the replicating tennis balls are filled with explosives. And if there’s no moderation, there’s no bomb squad.

It’s definitely possible for a site to have too much moderation. (Writscrib, to give an example of an upcoming alternative, seems to be against both sex workers and fictional media depicting underage characters in sexual situations, the latter despite being based in the US.) However, specifically in a memetic environment, it’s probably better for there to be a slight excess of site moderation that can be negotiated down, than too little moderation, especially if what isn’t moderated is negative exhortations or hate speech. We’ve seen the result of too little.

Yes, it could also be leveraged against people doing good. However, it’s harder to create and spread a shutdown campaign when memetics is regulated, or, for that matter, if the regulators and moderators are actual people. One of tumblr’s many problems is that it keeps trying to do what little moderation it does have via algorithm. Algorithms are a lot easier to trick than humans. (It’s not just about abuse report abuse. Tumblr’s new safe mode algorithm tries to identify nudity based on the percentage of flesh-toned pixels. This has led to numerous instances of sfw pics being flagged because they showed beige furniture or carpets, and probably nudity could avoid being flagged by simply using a color filter.) Having moderation done by carefully vetted real people, with good diversity training and with a focus on harm reduction and anti-bullying rather than moral panic, would be the best idea.

Note that the level of acceptable moderation for a site is directly linked to its reliance on memetics. Tumblr? Highly memetic; most posts are reposts, not original content, and memetic spread is very fast, with memes and even discourses often becoming passe in a matter of days. Twitter is similar. AO3 or WordPress? Low memetic. WordPress has reposting capability, but the format of its posts means that it does not have rapidly spreading memes or slogans. AO3 has no reposting; the closest thing it has are the “inspired by” field and the ability to post to collections, plus its tagging system. Both allow users to moderate comments on their own posts. Tumblr, Twitter, WordPress, and AO3 all have similar levels of staff moderation—fairly low, especially in terms of moderating content (most of AO3’s moderation in particular is concerned with searchability formatting). Guess which of these sites have more problems with harassment? The memetic ones, tumblr and Twitter.

A Nazi is still a Nazi wherever they post, but their ideas will spread and be reinforced more on a high-memetic site than a low one, so letting them alone on a high-memetic site is much worse than on the low one. Advocating for more moderation of content on tumblr and advocating against more stringent moderation on AO3 is not hypocritical; it’s simply acknowledging that the situations are different and that they require different actions, and that the real harm of hateful ideology, on the large scale, is not “does someone have it,” but “is it being reinforced and how fast,” and “what capacity do they have to spread it?” Moreover, ideological memetics on tumblr and twitter, tend to be presented as philosophy that one should believe, whereas the closest thing to memetics on AO3 is erotica tropes that are specifically presented as fictional and often as things that should not happen in real life, and that is an important difference as well.

Probably, someone with more experience in sociology and/or web design should take over this topic from here, but that’s my onion.


So I don’t really post games I’ve played here because I don’t like to brag, but I’ve just had one of the craziest endings of my life.

I’m playing my Tasigur deck. Its a deck that began as a Lovecraftian self mill and evolved into a Sultai political scheming EDH. It faced Kami of the Crescent Moon, Meren, and Mayael.

I used Tunnel Vision to dig for Morality Shift as a panic button in case I milled myself too hard. In the process I milled myself too hard and Kami drew me down to 3 cards in deck. On my draw step I would draw 5 cards and mill out.

Mayael and Meren both tried to help me with the promise of Sultai bargains and rewards. They were Stifled by Kami. On my upkeep I played Treacherous Urge meaning to spite the Kami deck by seizing a creature and exiling it as I left the game.

The only creature in the tapped out Kami’s hand was Lab Maniac. Treacherous Urge, a card I put in the deck as I made it four years ago and has done absolutely nothing for me in any of those four years, stole Lab Maniac the turn I was about to mill out and won me the game on my draw step.

Speaking out: The corrosive effects of moral panic

Here are some of the effects that “blocking online porn” will have:

The technology necessary for large-scale filtering and censorship can, and will, enable the government to engage in scope-creep.

  • First it’s “violent porn…”
  • And then? Politically or socially sensitive material? Activism? Civil disobedience? Alternative lifestyles? File-sharing? 
  • Censorship, no matter how noble its motivation, has historically always been open to abuse.

People who run blogs and other websites concerning themselves with sexuality will feel a strong pressure to self-censor so that their message will still be available.

  • Self-censorship will have a damping effect on legitimate research into and discourse about human sexuality.
  • Self-censorship will have a damping effect on human sexual expression, driving people with marginalised forms of sexuality back into the underground.
  • Self-censorship will lead to psychological harm in people whose sexuality does not conform to the “moral standard” of their society.

It will have no measurable effect on the occurrence of rape. 

  • For every person possessing ‘violent pornography’ who goes on to commit a sexual crime, there are many more who do not. 
  • It denies moral choice and agency to those people who are not inclined to sexual crimes but who do wish to explore the nature of their own sexuality.

It will not protect children.

  • Children have been abused for thousands of years without 'the corrosive influence of online porn’ to drive it.
  • Meanwhile children continue to be subjected to a barrage of palpably-damaging media, ranging from sexualised, body-shaming product-shilling to the acceptance of a militarised security- and state-apparatus. TV continues to broadcast images of violence and bloodshed, but somehow society gets its knickers in a twist when a nipple is shown.

It will not prevent people from accessing pornography. The technology to circumvent this kind of filtering is trivially easy to use.

'Opt-in’ schemes, as proposed in the UK, are disingenious and cynical.

  • Who has access to the list of subscribers who don’t wish for their internet to be filtered? And for what purpose?
  • Will the fact that a person has chosen to receive pornography constitute proof of moral untrustworthiness? Could it be used as incriminating ircumstantial evidence in a trial?
  • What reliable safeguards exist that a person’s choice to consume pornography will not be used as leverage against them at a later stage?

The surveillance that this scheme entails subjects society to further scrutiny. People will ultimately have no more privacy at all, whether caused by commercial or governmental data-mining.

It raises the ghastly spectre of censorship not only of pornography, bit also of art and literature in general.

anonymous asked:

so today some news channel reported on pauline hanson asking parents to test whether their children are allergic to vaccines and they got a vaccination expert or something on and she said "pauline hanson's obviously developed her own phd from the university of alternative facts" anD I FUCKING DIED

During her studies she took such units as:

  • Sample Bias 101: The Great Barrier Reef is Doing Just Fine if You Only Look at the Healthy Parts
  • Anecdotal Evidence: Totally Counts as Real Evidence, Right?
  • Intro to Fearmongering and Moral Panics: How ANYTHING You Don’t Understand Can Be The Enemy
  • Proper Toilet Use: Sit Not Squat