Jack Chick passed away this week. A lot of people blame him for the Satanic Panic and say good riddance, but the Chemung Shamans know it was really Geraldo Rivera who caused the Satanic Panic, and we say the work of Jack Chick was meant exactly in the way we have taken it: as a clever inside joke.
Jack Chick never tried to stop me from playing Dungeons and Dragons, but I know a lot of other people in Byron, Illinois, who did. Teachers and librarians and vice principals and jocko homo bullies and Baptist youth pastors and on and on. None of them were taking their marching orders from Jack Chick, the Attorney General, Geraldo Rivera, or anyone else. It was simply who they were, and still are. Panicky, violent, ignorant animals constantly looking to scapegoat someone else because this Universe confuses them.
Movie like Mazes and Monsters were considered gospel to them, the same way they believed Satan was hiding in barcodes, in the Proctor and Gamble logo, and everywhere else they could imagine. The world must have been terrifying to them.
But not because of Jack Chick.
That's too simplistic, and not really accurate in any way. The Satanic Panic was real, and as a teenager in a small town who played Dungeons and Dragons, loved mythology, and was slightly off kilter, I bore the brunt of it, but I never saw a Chick Tract until two days ago.
As the resident D and D player, future poet, and lover of all things different and weird, of course I was the designated scape goat in our town. I was outnumbered and overwhelmed back then, but I wouldn't change it for the world now.
When they came for the books in the library, including Bradbury and several fantasy/science fiction authors I spoke up, and was told to be silent. But I stood up.
So a couple of days ago when I saw second and third generation RPG geek types celebrating a man's death I couldn't jump on that bandwagon. He wasn't the one who tormented me. The ones who did that probably had never heard of Jack Chick.
I'm on a lot about a lot of shit, but something is sticking wrong in my craw this week. I saw a lot of people celebrate the death of a man with some views different than theirs. And I'll say something, because I was directly singled out and tormented during the Satanic Panic for being the designated weirdo in my town, and I'll tell you what, Jack Chick wasn't anywhere around. Those people probably never heard of him. They were primed and ready when the opportunity came around to persecute us weirdos. Those people have always existed and always will, but I don't celebrate the death Jack Chick. He didn't cause the Satanic Panic any more than condemning him to a Hell that never existed will make any difference now.
That's all the truth I'll take out of this scenario.