Panic! At the newspaper

I wrote about moral panics in my book:

When I was younger, there were moral panics over heavy metal records and the board game Dungeons & Dragons; the former allegedly contained backwards messages to worship Satan and/or kill yourself, and the latter was accused of pretty much everything. Similar panics occurred around video games, the Harry Potter books, the urban legend of Killer Clowns and so on.

I’ve lived through other moral panics too, including the Satanic Panics of the 1980s and 1990s and the attempts by the Keep The Clause campaign and campaigners against equal marriage to persuade people that gay, lesbian and bi people were dangerous predators.

The problem with moral panics is that while the subject is fictional, the damage the panic does is not. And it can spread far beyond the original subject of the panic too. Scientific American on the current anti-trans panic:

The anti-trans laws send a message that nonreproductive sexuality, reproductive health and bodily autonomy are not acceptable. Ultimately this tells a story about who has power: if we can erase trans people then we can erase anyone; if we can remove gay books we can remove any book; if we can silence drag queens, we can silence you.



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