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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Nice Guys Finish Last, Then Go on Killing Sprees

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
"How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me? I am beautiful, and I am half white myself. I am descended from British aristocracy. He is descended from slaves. I deserve it more." - Elliot Rodger's manifesto, My Twisted World

     The case of Elliot Rodger's shooting and stabbing rampage at the University of Santa Barbara last Friday that ultimately claimed seven lives provides commentators both professional and amateur alike with a crossroads of much that's wrong with this once-great nation of ours. It is about male entitlement. It is about white entitlement. It is about the sense of entitlement gun owners feel. The number of touchstones this latest mass shooting provides is mind-boggling.
     While it would be a stretch to say the late Mr. Rodger represented virtually everything that is wrong with the country, it would be an equally reckless stretch to say that Rodger was an anomaly, the exception rather than the rule. And Rodger's horrifying rampage through the USB campus is like a cross between Leo Durocher and Bret Easton Ellis- It's a case a "nice guy" finishing last for the last time and getting some payback.
     What you see above is a reproduction of the video Rodger put up on Youtube mere hours before Friday's rampage (Youtube's "community," oddly, took it down right after the spree because, apparently, the threat of violence is much more intolerable than the videos of people actually getting killed that Youtube keeps in circulation). If you can stomach his jeremiad against women who refused to sleep with him, you'll note he comes across as a bad amateur actor essaying a screen test for a badly-written villain, complete with the bitter fake laughs.
     The performance (and this is a preamble for horrid performance art, make no mistake about it) is chilling only in retrospect when one combines it with the killing spree that was promised. In it, Rodger essentially whines about being 22 and still a virgin and unmistakably makes a case for white male entitlement. His 141 page manifesto/autobiography on Scribd, which is getting roughly 1000 hits a minute (At this writing, it's up to 158,600 reads), is about as repugnant a commercial for white, male entitlement as the laudatory comments it's received from people tuning in for the freak factor, the cybernetic equivalent of police ban owners running to the scene of every accident or natural disaster.
     Looking at this kid's sense of histrionics, it's not difficult to see why females by and large found this young man so repugnant. He felt women should have willingly given their vaginas to him by dint of his alleged descent from British aristocracy and he was a racist. We have no idea what his family's finances are like but one gets a strong sense he came from the landed gentry and the sense of entitlement that goes hand in hand with what one lawyer successfully argued was "affluenza."

Mr. Rodger's Neighborhood
      It's inconceivable to those of us still in full possession of their mental faculties to see how a self-proclaimed "nice guy" can then justify going on a killing spree. But this is part and parcel of the necessary delusion that monsters like Rodger require. The fascists felt they were doing a public service ridding the world of Jews. American presidents of both parties think little if anything about ending human lives from thousands of miles away as long as they were ended against a backdrop of Communist aggression or Muslim terrorism. And Republicans think they're doing a public service by denying the neediest among us food stamps, Medicare and Social Security.
     Elliot Rodger had, at best, parochial ambitions, most likely personal ones. Like many young men with raging hormones, he simply wanted to get laid and be accepted by the opposite sex. But never once in the face of these countless rejections had Rodger looked within himself, as would many of us, for the root cause of this rejection. And his mindset, while personally motivated, is absolutely indistinguishable from the almost invariably white entitled male gun fanatics who'd begun targeting women with terrorist tactics just before Rodger's rampage.
     Violence, as I'm sure many of us can agree, is the first refuge of the morally and intellectually defeated. They're too immature or too willfully ignorant to engage in a fruitful dialogue and think using domestic terrorist tactics on those they perceive to be weaker makes a suitable substitute for rational debate. The persecuted mindset is also as common a trait as the psychological protocols we see in serial killers: Everyone's out to get us (despite still comprising the vast majority of the population), everyone's out to get our guns (despite the Obama administration doing or threatening no such thing).
     And the sense of entitlement is encouraged when one white man after another gets away with taking innocent lives and having his spoiled upbringing blamed. George Zimmerman, an honorary white man, proves with every violent incident of just how much this country has gone to the dogs just by staying out of prison despite being every bit the loose cannon Rodger was.
     And it would be easy to say that somebody failed young Elliot and perhaps somebody or some people had. He was, after all, under mental care but even the best psychiatrist or psychologist is powerless to overcome and counteract an ingrained sense of white entitlement that, more often than not, is infused with an unhealthy dose of racism and misogynism
     Until we as a nation grow a set and learn to connect the dots and note that most gun fanatics are angry white males, exactly the type still surrounding Cliven Bundy and sighting down on federal agents, then nothing will ever change. There's no substitute for pushback. And it seems the only ones doing the pushing back, and successfully at that, are those selfsame angry white males acting against the public welfare with an inexplicable sense of entitlement and persecution.
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Anonymous e.a.f. said...
another reason to implement stronger gun laws. yes he killed people prior to using a gun, but he killed fewer.

White male entitlement, it isn't restricted to men or Caucasians. There is a general theme in our society of, "I'm entitled". It may have started in the home, in school, amongst friends, who knows. I do know it is much more prevalent than it was in the 1970's and became of age in the 1980s. People began thinking they were entitled, to this, that and the other thing. It may have been because economic inequity became more prevalent in the 1980s. Who knows.

What we do know, caucasion males act out more than other groups. Access to guns makes it more dangerous for society in general.

He wanted to get laid??? Couldn't daddy "rent" him someone? IF you are 22 and still can't get laid, you have the problem and killing others, isn't a good way to go.

Blogger jurassicpork said...
I don't where you're coming from, pal, but white and/or male entitlement is what gives us groups like the Tea Party, militias, and various hate groups. White male entitlement also seems to be the most toxic strain. They want "their" country back and Cliven Bundy even said he'd love to bring back slavery.

They want everything back and they're infuriated and baffled they're not.

And equating white racists and their unreasonable expectations with the women, African Americans and gay community in the 60's, who simply wanted to share rights equally with everyone else, is disingenuous at best, dangerous at worst.

Blogger Unknown said...
Although I avidly and vociferously support far more stringent laws regulating firearms, I worry that, like so many other issues carved out of our social environment and stuffed into some hyper-focused microscope, perhaps we focus too hard on trimming one single blade of grass when the whole damned lawn needs to be mowed (or hell, maybe burned and replanted).

I’m a voracious consumer of international news reported by various small media outlets outside our MSM. From a perspective gained in doing so, the culture in our nation seems unlike any other among the developed nations on the planet in that it repeatedly breeds violence, racism, misogyny and murder like rats receiving daily injections of testosterone.

I'm neither educated well enough, nor equipped with the natural intelligence it would take to find any single factor, or even a group of prevailing cause(s) to pin the parade of horrific violence that streams endlessly across the idiot tube, over the radio waves and through the Net (almost sounds like a Christmas carol).

As much as I would love to blame this on what is likely the most repulsive lobbyist group that has ever evolved, the NRA, there’s more to the problem; there must be.

As much as I would love to blame it all on the evangelical extremists, spewing adlib Christianity while they promulgate hate against other religions and diversity; on myopic politicians owned by special interests; on apathetic white middle class living in the comfort of our indifference, I cannot find a diffinitve connection.

Regardless of where I look, I can’t seem to connect any group(s), or philosophical root to the collective problems we face here.

Is it the culture of exceptionalism we’ve heard from the moment we could find our way to K-12?

Or, is it the incessant barrage of all the mind-numbing drivel combined, scrambling our brains to the point we’re incapable of collecting our thoughts well enough to fix any of them?

I’m not one to even read what looks like a conspiracy theory beyond the first paragraph, much less subscribe to them. But, is there some grand scheme devised by a Lysistrata throwback escaped to the future to wage, rather than end some new Peloponnesian wars?

It’s all very baffling and frustrating, especially when we continue to hear the same horseshit rhetoric, from the same horse’s asses, while nothing is resolved.

The only fix, and perhaps this is also a connection to the cause, I can see is personal responsibility, personal accountability and self-improvement. Maybe we spend too much time seeking others to fix the things we can fix ourselves.

Anonymous e.a.f. said...

you're third par. is a misinterpretation of what I was writing. I never said, that. lets try again.

Blogger Unknown said...

"White male entitlement also seems to be the most toxic strain."

Right on the mark. And here's another little tid bit everyone seems to be ignoring; a piece of information that will have lots of folks out there scorning this as vehemently as climate change deniers scorn science - gun ownership by whites is more than double that of blacks.

Percent of households owning guns: Black households 21% and white households 46%.

Percent of individuals owning guns: Black households 15% and white households 31%.


I'll enjoy seeing the racists and gun freaks battle those statistics with their usual fact-ignoring rhetoric.

Anonymous Syrbal/Labrys said...
Wasn't the weekend news a kick in the head? I swear, every time some gun-toting "stop being mean to me and worship at my feet" sort goes out and kills folks who never did a THING to him (and it is always a 'him'); it takes me longer to pull myself back up to the bar.

I'm not sure what commenter ! was saying either; this guy couldn't have killed the people he did on the street without a gun; he'd never have had the balls to use the knife he began with once out of his apartment.

Blogger elizabeth said...
Over the last week, I was the recipient of a string of emails, text and phone calls loaded with profanities and vile descriptions of violent sexual behavior by a man I had been on one date with the week before and who's calls I had not returned. In these screeds, he threatened to burglarize my home and rape me. I spent all day at the local police department, filing a complaint. After that, i spent the rest of the day deleting my FB page, my LinkedIn account and changing my email address and phone number, as well as sending the emails to the administrators of match.com, Google and MSN.

This behavior and sense of entitlement is everywhere.

Blogger jurassicpork said...
I am so sorry to hear that, Elizabeth. Let us know how that turns out.

Blogger Jill said...
Yes, elizabeth, please keep us posted. When I think of the risks I took when I was dating in my 20s, I'm appalled. I was very lucky. I only had one guy who was even slightly stalkerish and even he gave up after a few weeks and was never threatening. I hope the jerk who's been threatening you leaves you be.

Blogger Bartender Cabbie said...
Typical JP.

Blogger Bartender Cabbie said...
typical JP. Take a sick twisted person and make it a "white" thing.

Blogger jurassicpork said...
Dear white apologist:

While it can't be said that every white man is a murderous gun-toting psychopath, every murderous gun-toting psychopath, to paraphrase John Stuart Mill, seems to be a white man.

Or is the entitlement of blacks who demand equal treatment under the law on a par with white entitlement?