Does Heavy Metal Cause Teen Violence?

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Heavy metal has had a bad beat since the dawn of the genre onto the music scene. Slipknot, Ozzy Osborn, Marilyn Manson, Judas Priest, and Slayer are just some of the household names on the metal scene to have come under fire for supposedly inciting suicide, and in some cases murder. It’s a fire that the media has been more than happy to stoke, quick to insinuate links between the brutal lyrics and acts of violence. To quote Twisted Sister front man Dee Snider, “Every time a serial killer, mass murderer, Satanists, or any “evil” person in our society… anytime the media’s found out that they’ve listened to heavy metal music it has been blown up as the reason for why this person is doing the things that they do” (Dunn). And he couldn’t be more right. As in the case of Marilyn Manson and the Columbine shootings, the media is more than happy to stoke the flames of controversy, even if the evidence points to the contrary.

“Violence has been around a lot longer than we have,” says Corey Taylor, lead vocalist and lyricist for the band Slipknot. Though violence and heavy metal seem to be intimately intertwined there is a difference between seeing and doing. "I have listened to enough metal for me to essentially be a serial killer," says James McMahon from UK music magazine NME, "But there's something in me that says no, that's not what I believe life is about. Serial killers existed before Slayer, you know. I'm a big fan of horror movies but Hostel, Saw, those torture-porn films, I find myself repulsed… metal is pantomime comparatively." As one young Norwegian metal fan told the UK's Guardian newspaper, "It's all fantasy… none of this is real… you can't take this seriously… it's just like a movie." According to Sam Dunn, anthropologist and director of “Metal: A Headbanger's Journey”, “People look at heavy metal and label it for all sorts of things because we need easy answers to complex questions. I think that it's easy to target a heavy metal band for inciting...
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