Shooting The Messenger Involves Shooting
I don’t have much to say about the gender-politic cries of misogyny pertaining to the mentally ill Elliot Rodgers who went on a spree-killing, and has made the headlines for the usual wrong reasons. I’m always bemused-but-incensed by the people who want to point fingers at computer games or books or music or films or TV shows for the reason a crazy person decides to go and shoot people. It’s like all the boring people on the planet want to make the planet boring down to their level of boring-ness when in fact life is pretty complicated and interesting when it involves the arts.
I collect media. I’m not a manic collector, but accrue them out of love, labour and legacy; and I have done so for decades with enduring respect and joy. I haven’t gone on a spree killing rampage at all. I do have my dark moods, and some pretty fucked up depressive thoughts that fucked up depressives get when the black dog comes barking. The crucial thing might not be the media I own so much as the fact that I don’t have guns. The most evil movies I own, the most radically obnoxious sounds I own, the most nasty books I own have combined to make me kill zero people. And this is true of 999 out of 1000 people. It might even be 999,999 out of 1,000,000. People who own media products, does not correlate with spree kills anywhere near as much as people who own guns.
People who go on a spree kill might have all kinds of media experiences but it’s not what really enables them to do it. In the case of Americans going on a spree kill, we can safely say it’s the lax gun laws – and how could it be anything else, really. He had a gun in his hand. Not a DVD of Season 2 of ‘Dexter’. If the ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ argument holds any water, then surely nobody ever died from a fatal playing of ‘Cop Killer’.
I understand the impulse to blame something that seems like it’s related in some way, but the focus people give on media products after spree killings is ridiculous. Wade Frankum who went on the Strathfield massacre possessed both ‘American Psycho’ and ‘Crime and Punishment’. After the incident the media went to town on his possession of ‘American Psycho’ demanding it be banned – most likely because they couldn’t realistically mount any argument to ban a literary classic like ‘Crime and Punishment’. It’s amazing that the very same people say they can’t imagine what goes through the minds of spree killers. This lack of imagination might be alleviated if they bothered to read ‘American Psycho’ and ‘Crime and Punishment’, watched a season of ‘Dexter’ and played a bit of ‘Grand Theft Auto’. Contrary to this banal, asinine media construction, quality media products have gone a considerable way as to enlighten us exactly how these things go.
Seriously, it’s time America looked at gun law reforms.
That’s Not Misogyny, That’s Just Insanity
Oh why the heck not. I do have this much to say.
The other word that’s getting bandied about in the wake of the Elliot Rodger shooting is ‘misogyny’. It’s true, he hated women by the looks of his ‘manifesto’. He hated women for being women, so he probably was a misogynist. But once again there are plenty of people who go about their daily lives and don’t necessarily go spree killing. Seeing that we are using the word that got so famously re-defined by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, it has to be said that even Tony Abbott – who is the walking-and-talking billboard example of a misogynist – most likely won’t go on a killing spree. I don’t know; it’s just a hunch. You can come shoot me if it proves to be wrong.
As with the media products that get faulted so much, I would have to say the misogyny of the man had less to do with the killings than the readily available guns. Once again, it seems unlikely that he killed the 2 women out of his 6 victims with the lustful hatred for women, he used his weapons instead.
If this seems really obtuse, I should direct you to this well argued piece by Helen Razer.