27 May 2014

Elliot Rodger's case and the gurus

Elliot Rodger's tragic murder spree simply couldn't be passed over by the press, I fully realize the impossibility of at least a week of expectant silence before some serious information and professional analysis of the case is released.

Without intending to (I wanted to give myself that week of ignorance before starting to read about the tragedy), I have stumbled today on a mind-boggling in its venomous stupidity article in Salon.com, by one Ms Brittney Cooper, who "is a contributing writer at Salon, and teaches Women's and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers". The contents of her fairly long piece could be distilled to one sentence: the tragedy is only an expected outcome of being white, heterosexual and middle-class male, full stop. It is the privilege of being all of the above that led to the murder spree. That the same statement is repeated endlessly all along this massive and tedious article shouldn't count for "analysis", I humbly submit.

At this point I was too incensed to stop. Follows a (random, as Google produced) small collection of unbelievable nincompoopery from all kinds of self-important and self-inflated experts.

The next guru comes out with a totally fresh angle:
Fox News expert says 'homosexual impulses' could have caused Elliot Rodger's killing spree. Dr Robi Ludwig, a licensed pyscotherapist, was appearing on the channel’s Justice With Judge Jeanie programme when she made the remarks. A guest speaker on Fox News has suggested that Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger could have been acting upon “homosexual impulses” when he targeted his victims.
Yep, it takes a "pyscotherapist" to discern a latent homosexual, for sure...

The third angle is even more interesting: Racism played a role in Elliot Rodger's Santa Barbara murder spree: experts. This conclusion (unequivocal as death and taxes in that article) comes based on the following quote:
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.
To me it looks like an attack of rage directed at a specific black boy (ugly or not is subjective) that cut him off some attractive girl at a party. But the confession by the authors of that same piece that Rodger is a product of a mixed marriage (British father and Asian mother) somewhat undermines this beautiful theory.

Now let's listen to Ann Hornaday, critic, in WaPo, with another recipe: mental illness and Hollywood:
Indeed, as important as it is to understand Rodger’s actions within the context of the mental illness he clearly suffered, it’s just as clear that his delusions were inflated, if not created, by the entertainment industry he grew up in. With his florid rhetoric of self-pity, aggression and awkwardly forced “evil laugh,” Rodger resembled a noxious cross between Christian Bale’s slick sociopath in “American Psycho,” the thwarted womanizer in James Toback’s “The Pick-Up Artist” and every Bond villain in the canon.
And here comes (but of course) the weapon of last resort: blame the police. In this case the blame is apportioned by one Dr. John Grohol, "the founder & CEO of Psych Central". "And why didn’t the police pick up on this soon-to-be killer?" - asks the Psy D., after uttering a totally jaw-dropping statement in that same article:
Luckily for the rest of us, his “Day of Retribution” apparently lasted about 20 minutes. Which is a fitting end [emphasis mine] to a man who appears to have been at least a little bit narcissistic.
This is what a learned Psy D., who is a "researcher and expert in mental health online", considers to be a fitting end to all narcissists - even ones who are "at least a little bit narcissistic" - I dare to ask? Oh boy, oh boy...

And then, at the end of my tether, I have found someone who, at least, made an attempt to move past the insufferable crapola that the other "experts" provided so copiously on no basis at all. A blogger, Ann Theriault (I am almost sure), writing under a masthead "The Belle Jar", brings a few relevant facts in her post Elliot Rodger And Men Who Hate Women. While she rushes to some pretty unsupportable (at this stage) conclusions too, she, at least, tried to use some hard facts that put the other above mentioned gurus to shame.

First of all, Rodger suffered from Asperger syndrome. If you look at its basics, like in Wiki, there is some indication of what might have caused his inability to make contact with women:
Asperger syndrome ... is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.
Then, there is the issue of Rodger being a Men’s Rights Activist, or MRA:
He was an active member of the “PUAhate,” an online forum (which has been down since the shootings) dedicated to “revealing the scams, deception and misleading marketing techniques used by dating gurus and the seduction community to mislead men and profit from them.” And just to clarify, they’re not revealing these scams because of how vile and misogynistic they are, but rather because these men have tried these techniques and still failed to trick women into sleeping with them.
Rodger went through a traumatic experience of being uprooted from his country of birth (Britain) and from his relatives and through another traumatic experience of his parents divorce.

Finally, as all the experts agree (at least), he suffered from the fact that at 22 he still remained a virgin...

And no, unlike the luminaries mentioned above, I am not even dreaming about coming to any conclusion. After all, many kids with all (or more) of the problems mentioned above, don't buy an arsenal of weaponry and go on a hunting expedition.

Actually, I do have one conclusion to offer: why don't you all stifle for a while?

P.S. At least CNN in this case has done a professional job, offering the facts without getting on the high horse of "expertise".