Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Loneliness of the long distance thinker: My thoughts on the Isla Vista spree killer (and Star Wars)

Trigger warning: I'm going to talk about the latest spree killer.  I'm also going to talk about Star Wars.  Although I didn't intend it to be, some may find this disrespectful to the victims. Some may find it triggering. If you think you might be among them, skip this.

Unlike all the previous ones, the latest spree murder by an ill-socialized little ratbag has fascinated me.

I watched his video and it's quite a piece of work. He sits in his black BMW, carefully positioned in the sun at Golden Hour, so liquid orange light flows across his face. Behind him stately palm trees form a backdrop  In a rehearsed tone, he reels off how much he hates women, and hates the men that have women's love. He punctuates it with a Z-grade Batman cartoon villain muahaha laugh and at times actually strokes his chin. There's something knowing and polished yet thoroughly amateur and lame about it that makes it hilarious, despite the subject matter and the later consequences of his hatred.

But the thing that stands out for me is: He quotes Anakin Skywalker. He says, "You're animals and I'll slaughter you like animals."

The evil murdering villain that comes to his mind when talking about revenge against all the multitude of wrongs he thinks he has suffered is the young, whiny, pre-mask Darth Vader.

Here's the video [3:50].

The killer was a big Star Wars fan – he talks about all three of the prequels in his 'manifesto'.  He loved them. There's something irredeemably banal about this son of a Hollywood assistant director basing his stupefyingly humdrum revenge fantasies on Anakin Skywalker.  Anakin is also a mass murderer of youths, of course. He killed the Younglings, the little Jedi-in-training at the temple.  I was never sure why, except that the plot demanded that all Jedi were to be wiped out before Episode IV: A New Hope. The adults could be taken care of in plausible battles, but how to get rid of the Padawans? Ah, we'll have Anakin kill them five seconds after he's turned to the Dark Side.  As far as we can tell from the film, Darth Sideous didn't order him to do it, he just went nuts and mowed down the kids.

There was a precedent to the murder of the Younglings – and that's where the phrase, "They're like animals and I'll slaughter them like animals" comes up. After learning that the Tusken Raiders have yet again attacked the moisture farmers, killing and maiming them and taking his mother captive, Anakin goes berserk and kills a whole village full of them.

I didn't care that much about the Tusken Raiders. I think we were supposed to take their local name – Sand People – and assume they had sentients' rights, but they were torturing his mother to death at the time, so you know, that's an excuse. [1] Slaughtering the Younglings, though – where did that anger come from?  It's remarkable that we have a better answer to that question from a horrible little dweeb in a BMW than we got from a world-famous and extremely rich film producer.

The killer's 'manifesto' is a similar mix of high aims and ludicrous execution. If you're not easily triggered by the mountains of loserdom, racism and violent misogyny, it is also comical. Here's an excerpt:

"The girl was a pretty blonde! They looked like they  were in the throes of passionate sexual attraction to each other, rubbing their bodies together and tongue kissing in front of everyone. I was absolutely livid with envious hatred. When they left the store I followed them to their car and splashed my coffee all over them. The boy yelled at me and I quickly ran away in fear. I was panicking as I got into my car and drove off, shaking with rage-fueled excitement. I drove all the way to the Vons at the Fairview Plaza and spent three hours in my car trying to contain my tumultuous emotions. I had never struck back at my enemies before, and I felt a small sense of spiteful gratification for doing so. I hated them so much."

It's not possible to write anything more spirited about an interaction and a landscape so vastly mundane. It's the very definition of bathos. He was livid with envious hatred! Oooh! So he splashed them with coffee and drove all the way to the Vons at Fairview Plaza. Ohhhh. (He went on to splash his drink over quite a lot of people who offended him this way. It's a terrible shame that he made progress on making his assaults match the depth of his feelings.)

At times, his lonely nerd ambience is so profound it sounds almost faked, as if the CIA wrote the entire manifesto to deflect attention from the chip they put in his head that activated his false flag murder spree.[2] He adores Star Wars. He liked the Lord of the Rings movies. He plays all the latest videogames.  He plays World of Warcraft online. He loves A Song of Ice and Fire. A Game of Thrones is great. He mostly lives with his mother.

It's 137 pages of absurdity. He's domiciled in the easy living part of Southern California and obsessively details SoCal things that are familiar to me, and quite banal, with an artless earnestness. It's terribly hard to make things like Encino and Calabasas in any way evil, or despotic, or even romantic, or indeed anything but a collection of upscale and downscale malls and associated mallrats.

Then there's his methodology.

He wants to be rich, so he buys a lottery ticket. That doesn't work, so he buys another one.  He eventually uses the power of his mind to win the lottery, buying a book on making things happen by thinking hard, building himself up for the big win that's sure to come. He doesn't win. So he buys another and wills really hard at it and is devastated at not winning.  This continues. He's told that writing an epic, a bestseller, would make him rich, which he researches on the webs and learns it may take some time before he gets rich from his bestseller, so he gives up.  

His strategy for attracting girls is to sit by himself and send out loneliness vibes at passing women, which unfortunately for him, isn't successful.  Time after time, he goes out somewhere and thinks hard at the young women, and they fail to respond.  He's infuriated.

At times, his deadpan self-regard is so similar to that of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4, except he's twenty at the following point, that you can't help but laugh:
"Even though she [his mother] was no longer seeing Jack, she dated other men of high class. She had a special way of charming them. I continued to pester her to get married so that I can be part of an upper class family and enjoy all the benefits that would come with that, but she always refused, claiming that she never wants to get married due to her unpleasant experiences with my father. I told her that she should suffer through any negative aspects of marriage just for my sake, because it would completely save my life, but she still refused."
Did she, pet?

Some of the delivery is pure Adrian Mole comedy, too.
"Her status as a reality T.V. star, coupled with my father’s important association with Gary Ross, enabled us all to attain VIP tickets to the red carpet premiere, including  admittance to walk on the red carpet itself, which was actually a black carpet, in a literal sense."
Huh. A black red carpet. Tell me more.

And then, after details of hundreds of relatively commonplace events, many of which get him angry and cause him to throw his drink, he reveals the sudden splatterpunk ending. He details how he will kill his roommates so he can have privacy in his torture chamber, then he will go out hunting at a sorority for women to kill. We get a passage that once again sets out his weird, long-distance Theory of Mind.

"I will then make my way to Del Playa, splattering as many of my enemies as I can with the SUV, and shooting anyone I don’t splatter. I can only imagine how sweet it will be to ram the SUV into all of those groups of popular young people who I’ve always witnessed walking right in the middle of the road as if they are better than everyone else. When they are writhing in pain, their bodies broken and dying after I splatter them, they will fully realize their crimes."

They will fully realize their crimes? How? He has never communicated to them what their "crimes" were.  If a nutcase in an SUV ran me over, assuming I did have time for a last thought,  it would most likely be, "Ow, this fucking hurts. Why didn't you watch where you were going?"

I can guarantee you it wouldn't be, "Oh that was that guy I failed to ask out five years ago when I saw him sitting alone at the mall. I am such a criminal degenerate that I deserve this." That would be impossible, a violation of causality. I would have to see the video he posted about it before I died, which wouldn't be possible.

He's completely missed a step in his understanding of people.  Which is that, unlike Anakin Skywalker and the other Jedi, people are not telepathically able to feel a great disturbance in the Force.

On the other hand, although he doesn't know it, he could have realized his ambition to write a bestseller. It's all here, and apart from a few copyediting suggestions and some editorial changes to make the action-at-a-distance Jedi Mind Tricks more realistic, I think it would have gone over well. It has a lot of similarities to Carrie, for example. He even recorded a video promo – good marketing skills. Shame he epublished it for free. Could have made him rich.

[1] I'm not going to go into this in more detail here because reasons, but I can elsewhere.

[2]I made this bit up. This is real though.

05/29 Edited to add:  Some of the dialogue he uses in the video also comes from World of Warcraft - a character called Garosh Hellscream's mountains of skulls and rivers of blood. The people picking up on this are WND and Breitbart, not my usual cup of tea.


End note:

I didn't get into it above, but I've found it infuriating that he wrote 137 pages and left ten minutes of video on how much he hated women and wanted to kill them and yet the majority of responses to it I have seen, and I've seen a lot, are "It's not misogyny!" Just SMH. If wanting to kill women isn't misogyny, what does the word mean?

"There is no creature more evil and depraved than the human female. Women are like a plague. They don’t deserve to have any rights. Their wickedness must be contained in order prevent future generations from falling to degeneracy. Women are vicious, evil, barbaric animals, and they need to be treated as such."

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