Home / Murder and Art: The deviantART Connection, Part 2

Murder and Art: The deviantART Connection, Part 2

Please Share...Print this pageTweet about this on TwitterShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

I’ve decided to write a followup article to Part 1 because apparently many of my points were missed or buried beneath the mountain of personal attacks and poor debate tactics. For those of you who posed questions or want to know the truth, read on. For those of you more interested in bashing Scott Jarkoff or me personally, then close your browser because the truth doesn’t matter to you anyway. (To read Part 1, click here.)

I did not get fired from deviantART. I voluntarily stepped down from my dual position as Manager of the Message Network Administration and a Policy Violation Administrator. I did not step down solely because of Scott Jarkoff’s termination; that act was however the last straw. For me, it was the last in a steadily growing list of things I was dissatisfied with. Those who have put forth the rumor that I was terminated obviously haven’t taken the time to do any sort of research whatsoever, and should do so in the future if they plan to spread information. My resignation post is quite easily found on Euphoric Reality and at deviantART, and has been readily available to the general public since the original date of posting.

I mentioned several issues with site content and policy during my stay at deviantART. Daniel Sowers, the head of the Policy Enforcement Department, can attest to this. We had several differences of opinion throughout the years. Other members of the PV team both current and former can also verify this. Therefore, those who have attempted to cast a bad light on me personally by claiming that “I should have said something beforehand” are, quite simply, speaking in error.

I was not a paid employee until 2005. For over two years, I was a volunteer admin who spent an ungodly amount of time at the site and in the community. The accusation that I “kept quiet” about my misgivings because I was earning a paycheck is also unfounded. While I will not disclose the exact amount of my compensation that began in 2005, I can tell you that it is slightly more than minimum wage, and less than a typical McDonald’s employee makes. Keeping quiet about misgivings is not only not in my nature, but it would have been pointless in this case.

I have a subdomain of Scott Jarkoff’s site. This hardly falls under disclosure rules, as it was never hidden. Even though I own the domain euphoricreality.net, anyone who plugs that into a browser will see it change to euphoria.jarkolicious.com. In fact, it’s never been hidden. Anyone who’s a regular visitor to my site knows what the domain is. The fact that I have a subdomain doesn’t mean Scott is responsible for what I write, or even that he’s aware of it. In fact, there are a great number of things that Scott and I disagree on, and he personally “condones” only a portion of what I post on my site. The accusation that Scott and I somehow violated full disclosure is pure, unadulterated BS. Scott was not aware of the article, and I don’t control what he chooses to link to. If you have a problem with the article then come talk to me, because I stand by what I wrote.

I am a female. Again, if you can’t be bothered to pay attention to basic things like gender, then you shouldn’t be spreading information.

I believe it is ultimately a parent’s responsibility to know what their children are involved with. Apparently no one noticed this in the article, and perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. My statement that I will actively campaign to let parents know what types of content exist on DA was pursuant to my belief that parents need to step up and parent their kids. That being said, DA has a responsibility as well.

I agree that society is screwed up as a rule. However, what is society? Is it not you and me? Is it not every company and every individual coming to complete the big picture? Society is the sum total of cultures and beliefs in our country and our world. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. To say that “it’s not DA’s fault, it’s society’s fault” is a cop-out. DA is a part of society, and as the largest art community on the internet, they need to decide what types of people they wish to cater to. Offering all types of material is fine, if they take steps to shield the potentially offensive or particularly violent material from children.

The idea that “if they don’t get it at DA they’ll just go elsewhere” is also a cop-out.
Should DA offer a section for snuff films? Bestiality? Child porn? There are already policies in place about discussing drug use in a glorifying manner, or using the forums to gain warez serial numbers or cracks. Why does the “they’ll just go elsewhere” argument not apply there? Wouldn’t you think that violence is inherently more dangerous than a serial number?

It is a proven fact that people immersed in violence learn violence and exhibit violent behavior. Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, but this is overwhelmingly true. Why else do people from violent homes often grow to be violent? Abused children grow up to be abusers, pedophiles and other sexual predators were often molested. This does not excuse their choices or their behavior in the least. However, it’s basic psychology to know that when you see something often over a period of time, you become desensitized to it. This is not opinion, this is fact. Children become desensitized to violence through TV, movies, video games, and violent imagery. I’m not blaming anything for one person’s choices except that person. But it’s ludicrous to think that you can put a steady feed of violence into a child’s mind and not have it affect them.

Being an admin meant I had access to information you did not. The situations I mentioned in the first article were completely true and real, and can be backed up by other staffers. They were also a very tiny portion of what I saw and dealt with on a daily basis for 3 years. I saw the behind the scenes, the inner workings, the help desk cases. I talked to kids, their parents, their friends. I saw the staff reactions behind closed doors. I saw a lot of things that you did not see, and will never see. To say that I am “sensationalizing” is ridiculous. I simply reported a few actual situations that I dealt with.

I am not advocating censorship. My point was not that DA should stop offering violent content. My point was, and will remain, that they need to do a better job at keeping that section of the site off-limits for people under 18 or 21. While I personally don’t subscribe to the belief that gore is “art”, I do believe that if an 18-year-old wants to create it or look at it, it’s his right under the law. An 18-year-old is better equipped to deal with it than a 14-year-old who may already be emotionally traumatized through some home or school issues. Putting a steady stream of violence and gore in front of a child and glamorizing it as being accepted and encouraged is not a healthy thing.

You can say all day that it’s the parent’s fault. You can claim that “censorship is bad”, and you can misinterpret the meaning of free speech all day. However, each individual person has a responsibility to claim his or her own actions. The fact that parents should be taking care of their children doesn’t excuse deviantART from all responsibility. They have a duty to “society” to not be part of the problem.

If you want to scream that “it’s the parent’s fault”, then try this one on. It’s my duty as a citizen of “society” to ensure that they are informed about the amount of material on DA that is inappropriate for their children to view. I guarantee you that most parents aren’t even aware of what their kid is doing on DA. Maybe it’ll make a difference if they are.

This article is also available at Euphoric Reality.

Powered by

About Kit Jarrell

  • Not to be snarky or anything… but if people aren’t getting what you’re saying the first time, perhaps the blame lies in you in not presenting your information and opinions as clearly as they could have been presented?

    As writers, I feel the burden of proof lies with us, and blaming the commenters for “not getting it” and going so far as to write a follow-up post here, explaining yourself, when the issue at hand is, pardon me, rather bigger than you… seems a little egotistical.

    I mean, is this about you or about the fact that deviantART has some policies that could aid predators into choosing victims and/or offers a community that allows troubled youth to find influences that hinder rather than help?

    I’m not sure I agree with those points, but I’ll tell you, I find that discussion rather more interesting and important than I do a rundown of your relationship with the site, which is given more weight than your opinions on the situation at hand.

    Is the fact that you’re a woman more important than the murder of a 17 year old girl?

  • George Bush


  • Kit Jarrell

    I simply replied to the accusations that were leveled is all. Not trying to be egotistical in the least. To be honest, I’d prefer that people stay on the topic of violence-based art. However, in certain places the issues got messed up with personal attacks and other such things. Just wanted to clear the air for those actually interested in the original points. Thanks for the comment. =)

  • My only quibble is your paragraph on people being immersed in violence learn violence and exhibit violent behavior. Like many young people during the sixties, I was exposed to a number of violent deaths on TV, both through the news and entertainment programming. I grew up in a violent neighborhood, and experienced violence on a first hand basis. Yet, I do not fit the paradigm you mention above and neither to millions of others.

    While these factors certainly can make one desensitized to violence, these factors alone do not make a violent person. For some reason, we have difficulty accepting the young people can be mentally ill, and often act out violent fantasies as a way of responding to factors s/he doesn’t believe can be controlled. There are often a number of warning signs which parents, teachers or authority figures miss or cast off as “a phase” in the child’s development. This is what we saw in the Columbine school shootings, and the myriad punk and heavy metal suicide packs from the eighties. In each case, these kids were struggling, often alone with their disease. No one qualified to recognize the symptomology was around to curb the behavior in its beginning stages.

    Perhaps before presenting something as a ‘known fact’, do a little more research into the history of psychological behavior among young people. You’ll find that the conventional wisdom on the subject just doesn’t fit what really is known.

  • Kit Jarrell

    I specifically said that there are exceptions to the rule. Obviously no situation is 100% true all the time.

    My personal opinion is that people CAN make healthy choices regardless of their upbringing and/or environment. However, when you have kids who are already having problems, or who don’t have good role models showing them HOW to make healthy choices, isn’t it normal to expect that they will follow the same road?

    Thanks for the comment. =)

  • Well, I think its important for adults to recognize symptoms of mental illness in young people before their behavior is uncorrectible. If the child is diseased, good role modelling will do nothing to help that child make healthy choices.

  • Sya

    I think your message could have been more effective if you had addressed the broader issues of internet safety as a whole rather than trying to pin-point the blame on one community that you were once a part of. If you expect people to take your articles seriously, you need to approach the subject with objectivity. Do your own research. Carefully proofread what you have read and think about how it might sound to the people who will read it.

    You say that what you wrote is not sensationalism, but I wonder if you even know the definition of the word. Here is a wikipedia link so you can research it yourself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensationalism

    I don’t mean to be confrontational, I’m just making sure that people know there is another side to Deviant Art, which has been for me a very friendly, supportive, helpful and enjoyable community to be a part of. If you had been less biased, you might have mentioned somewhere in your article that the members who participate in the dark arts section of the site are only a percentage. How big of a percentage? Well, that would have been something interesting for you to research and report the facts about.

    You also failed to mention how the current staff have been cracking down on the mature content for many months now and how members have the ability to turn it off so they don’t see it while they browse.

    I also fail to see how being a female relates to the issues you are trying to bring to light.

    Kit, I sincerely hope that your next article offers a little less psycho-babble and more facts. Wikipedia is a great place to do research and it’s free.

  • Don’t misinterpret me when I say that no one is proposing real solutions. This isn’t a personal attack or criticism, it is an observation by which I stand.

    But now that you’ve explicitly stated what you feel needs to be done, I have to say that it doesn’t sound possible. Without some form of irrefutable identification, these things will happen. I agree that DA has a responsibility to its members as an element of society (obviously parental control can only go so far), but its operators only have so much power to control content and access and still remain open to such a large membership and to the public. Simply changing their explicit focus won’t solve the real problem of internet anonymity.

    It’s simply a matter of what we do when people aren’t looking–because that’s what we’ll do when we aren’t held accountable.