The Blame Game

Ann Hornaday at WaPo:

In a final videotaped message, a sad reflection of the sexist stories we so often see on screen

As deranged manifestos go, the final YouTube video made by suspected Isla Vista, Calif., mass murderer Elliot Rodger was remarkably well-made. Filmed by Rodger in his black BMW, with palm trees in the background and his face bathed in magic-hour key light, the six-minute diatribe — during which he vows revenge on all the women who rejected him and men who were enjoying fun and sex while he was “rotting in loneliness” — might easily have been mistaken for a scene from one of the movies Rodger’s father, Peter Rodger, worked on as a director and cinematographer.

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.

As Rodger bemoaned his life of “loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desire” and arrogantly announced that he would now prove his own status as “the true alpha male,” he unwittingly expressed the toxic double helix of insecurity and entitlement that comprises Hollywood’s DNA. For generations, mass entertainment has been overwhelmingly controlled by white men, whose escapist fantasies so often revolve around vigilantism and sexual wish-fulfillment (often, if not always, featuring a steady through-line of casual misogyny). Rodger’s rampage may be a function of his own profound distress, but it also shows how a sexist movie monoculture can be toxic for women and men alike.

How many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like “Neighbors” and feel, as Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of “sex and fun and pleasure”? How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, “It’s not fair”?

Movies may not reflect reality, but they powerfully condition what we desire, expect and feel we deserve from it. The myths that movies have been selling us become even more palpable at a time when spectators become their own auteurs and stars on YouTube, Instagram and Vine. If our cinematic grammar is one of violence, sexual conquest and macho swagger — thanks to male studio executives who green-light projects according to their own pathetic predilections — no one should be surprised when those impulses take luridly literal form in the culture at large.

Both Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen defended themselves via Twitter, using words like “insulting,” “misinformed” and “idiotic.” Their comments are similar to those of gun owners and NRA officials whenever guns get blamed for one of this tragedies. Both arguments for blame rely on truthiness and/or partial truth rather than Truth.

Obviously if there were no guns there would be no gun crimes. But that’s like saying if there were no cars there would be no drunk driving. Rwanda is a prime example of what can happen when people want to commit mass murder and there are no guns available. They used machetes instead.

On the other hand, blaming Hollywood for our violent, sexist culture is a chicken and the egg argument. Which came first? Does Hollywood create culture or merely reflect it?

The media is in something of a quandary. The usual “blame the NRA” narrative doesn’t quite seem to fit. This murder spree took place in California where there are already very restrictive gun laws and the killer is directly connected to Hollywood liberalism. He was a privileged child of one of the Hollywood elites, and Hollywood is a bastion of liberalism. He was a fan of the “Young Turks” YouTube channel, which is to the left of MSNBC.

The killer’s deranged manifesto paints a clear portrait of misogyny, but the identity and ideology of the killer run counter to the Democrat’s “GOP War on Women” narrative. Attacking Hollywood is heresy for today’s liberals.

Once again, everyone avoids the obvious. A mentally disturbed young man did something insane. Lots of people knew he was crazy and was talking about doing something bad. The police had a chance to intervene before it happened but did nothing.

If we are going to blame someone besides the killer or those who knew but who failed to stop him, why don’t we blame the media? Every time they glorify a mass killer they encourage other lunatics to emulate him. We could make a law prohibiting the publicizing of these atrocities, but that would be censorship. Even worse, think what it would do to their ratings!

Or maybe we should just shrug our shoulders sadly at the high cost of living in a free society. Because when it comes down to it, freedom is really to blame. Every single option in the Blame Game focuses on taking away some of our freedom. If we had less freedom, perhaps we could eliminate some of society’s ills.

But then we would be less free.

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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82 Responses to The Blame Game

  1. The Klown says:

    This is my favoritest part of the WaPo article:

    Even if 51 percent of our movies were made by women, Elliot Rodger still would have been seriously ill. But it’s worth examining who gets to be represented on screen, and how. It makes sense to ask, as cartoonist Alison Bechdel does in her eponymous Bechdel Test, whether a movie features (1) at least two named female characters who (2) talk to each other about (3) something besides a man. And it bears taking a hard look at whether we’re doing more subtle damage to our psyches and society by so drastically limiting our collective imagination. As Rodger himself made so grievously clear, we’re only as strong as the stories we tell ourselves.

    Yeah, those kind of movies will really kill at the box office.

    Oh, wait . . . I said kill. My bad.

    • elliesmom says:

      I don’t know about movies that have two women who talk about something besides men being duds at the box office. One of the most popular TV shows in our house. Is Rizzoli and Isles. Two strong female leads who talk about more than men. It keeps getting renewed so it’s not just our house. I seldom go to the movie theater. It’s not because I can’t afford to or that I don’t have the time. There’s just nothing there I want to see. I outgrew comic book heroes 50 years ago.

      • 49erDweet says:

        Strange. I enjoy Rizzoli and Isles, too. Just think it is good entertainment. Didn’t realize it is #YesAllWomen-ish. Oh, that’s right, it isn’t.

        • foxyladi14 says:

          Lotsa cute guys there too 🙂

          • Constance says:

            Wait you can’t enjoy looking at men because the Hefners of the world have been able to decide that women are not visually stimulated and don’t care what men look like. Seriously they’ve run this past a committee of old guys and they all agree it’s true based on the fact that women don’t seem to like to look at them so that’s pretty much case closed.

    • Constance says:

      Some of the most profitable movie series there are were written by women, “Harry Potter”, “Twilight”, “Hunger Games”….. Given this fact Hollywood should be seeking out stories written by women. I for one am sick if seeing women characters through the distorted vision of male writers, directors, costumers, photographers, editors, etc.

  2. The Klown says:
  3. The Klown says:
  4. The Klown says:

    Speaking of entitled spawn of Hollywood elites:

  5. The Klown says:

    “Round up the usual suspects.”

  6. DandyTIger says:

    The stupid hurts.

  7. DeniseVB says:

    The boy was mentally ill and while he seemed to have the best care and lifestyle money can buy, the laws that seemed to protect HIM also killed him and others. The same law also protects the senile old Auntie with a zillion dollars under her mattress from being put away by greedy relatives. You have to prove they’re an imminent danger to themselves and others which is hard to do when they “act” so normal around the professionals.

    For some reason, all the school/mall/theater shooters seemed to have this in common. That and being bullied loners with access to guns, knives, bomb making materials and cars to run people over with. For every one of these kids that succeed many more have been “caught” before they could commit these horrible acts. We just don’t read enough about these “failures” but a blip in the news. I think it would be helpful to learn more about those kids too.

    • DeniseVB says:

      Wow, the National Journal is waking up 😀

      • swanspirit says:

        WOW is right !

      • swanspirit says:

        So many people are trying to make sense of this horrendous
        tragedy , .As an RN , with decades of practice and National Certification in in psychiatric and mental health nursing I have to say something ! . Blame Game is the perfect expression for what is happening . If this killer had been sane , this would indeed be a hate crime ,a sexist crime a “privilege crime ” or a gun crime ,or even a media induced crime ; but he is not .
        He had a history of hearing voices , had been prescribed and refused anti-psychotic medication. His “manifesto” and his video are not in any way a reflection of any reality , but a description of a very broken view of reality , which was deteriorating .
        These were the rantings of a paranoid psychotic , among other diagnoses , who was losing, or had lost , his grip on reality . He “framed it” ,success ; in his manifesto, as outward success with women , but in reality what he was experiencing had nothing to do with women . This is so
        sad,that so many are jumping on blaming bandwagons regarding this case . People are
        picking out parts of this manifesto this very sick kid wrote , and ascribing some kind
        of sense to some part , while acknowledging that the rest is “crazy”
        Because one or more sentences fit their particular cause and this supposedly proves their case in a manifesto of insanity?
        The pro and anti gun folks hop onto the phrase where he feels powerful owning a gun , feminists, point to all the vitriol directed at women , even though he killed four males of the six that are deceased , and three of them with a knife . The blame the media crowd wants to blame Hollywood violence , and even the privilege folks are getting in on the act . What are we supposed to do , redefine some crimes as crimes of privilege ? This one wouldn’t fit . Have we checked the music he listened to ? We might yet want to blame what was playing on his iPhone . It seems the
        only people who haven’t chimed in with some kind of blame are the climate folks . Give
        them time , they will come up with climate change anxiety crime .
        The guy was not “trying to get laid ” and sex would not have solved his problem . He
        did not know how to” be” a human being , and CONNECT with other people , and live his
        life . Reality was slipping away from him. The ability to relate to other human beings
        was slipping away .Sex can be a metaphor for ” connecting” in a much broader sense . He
        was losing his grip on reality , slipping further and further into a psychotic world and
        he was angry . He should have been in the hospital, when he refused his medications .
        Many many people who suffer this illness , and especially young people , refuse their
        medications as he did . They are hospitalized by their caring family and Md for
        medication non compliance , because they become a danger to themselves and others .What
        the problem is , is the STIGMA OF MENTAL ILLNESS . it kept him out of the hospital , off
        his medications ,allowed his anger to escalate , and his illness to progress to the
        point where he was so disconnected he killed . Psychotics have a great deal of
        difficulty directly expressing feelings, they frequently target and blame , other
        people ,family members , individuals , segments of society , fellow students , authority
        figures , teachers , etc .
        I know that people who have no background in psych struggle to understand , but you
        would think someone would speak out . Directly addressing whatever ” issues ” a
        psychotic person is speaking about, you get no results .You have to address the
        feeling content which is being expressed , which is obviously anger , and feeling
        disconnected .Modern medications help high functioning people suffering from these disorders live much more satisfying lives. I can’t help but wonder why he was not hospitalized , and why he was allowed to refuse medications . It is entirely possible the parents were in denial. Then
        again , when your son is mentally ill , buying him a new BMW is the thing to do yes?? How about no more BMW’s until you try medications?
        Also , did the psychiatrist #1 failed to educate them regarding their sons illness , # 2
        underestimate his patients potential for harm , or both? We may at one point become
        privy to facts, as to why this young man was not hospitalized , but until then we do
        not know the reason . I have spent too many hours admitting teen and young adult
        clients that were brought in by police by Emergency Petition , and almost just as many
        hours not admitting similar clients , because the “danger ” was not deemed immediate
        enough , or dangerous enough , by insurance companies , other doctors , psychologists,
        families in denial etc. Most of the time , if a client is not admitted they are
        eventually admitted later on under more emergent circumstances , but not as tragic as
        what happened in Santa Barbara .

      • foxyladi14 says:

        Bout danged time too. 🙂

  8. Lulu says:

    He describes the beginning of what sounds like a detachment syndrome followed by reactive attachment syndrome when he is three and in nursery school. Family dysfunction made his MULTIPLE personality disorders worse. This was a life long problem and it appears that his parents tried to get him help but were constantly stymied by him but it was easier just to give him what he wanted so he would stop bugging them. He is described as intelligent but his ranting shows a very stunted intellect or he wasn’t that bright. The claims of misogyny are misplaced because he hated his little brother (who he fantasized about killing) and the poor unfortunate roommates and random friend guy more since he used a machete and HAMMER to grotesquely with great rage slaughter them. I don’t know what basis will be used but his parents and therapists are going to be sued for not giving information about the level of his threat to his roommates and various girls around town. These people endangered the people of this community by their neglect to inform and not have him institutionalized. Many of their self serving statements are butt covering for lawsuits.

    • DeniseVB says:

      I read somewhere that the victims; families’ may sue the State of California because of the law that prevents involuntary admission to a treatment facility. It’s such a slippery slope. Could that be abused ?

      The police are backtracking now about never seeing his videos, otherwise he appeared “normal” when they interviewed him.

      • 49erDweet says:

        They stand a better chance going against the parents – and the school, even though the school had precious little it could do. The state and the city – barring a glaring individual omission to act – are pretty well insulated.

    • 49erDweet says:

      Agree (for the 3000th time) with Lulu.

  9. DeniseVB says:

    Ugh, headlines are blasting “we know where the missing Nigerian girls are”. Isn’t that dangerous to let their captors know that? What’s to prevent them from mass slaughter now? Ugh, ugh, I hate the media.

    • 49erDweet says:

      The captors know it already. There was an exchange deal in place a few days ago, but el presidente reneged. It’s not like here, there. There are huge areas not under govt control. 🙂

  10. The Klown says:

    I wish I had this guy’s way with words:

    That giant sucking sound you’re hearing isn’t the economy, it’s Kim Kardashian thanking Kanye West legally tying himself to Kim over the weekend in front of David Blaine and a horde of rappers, reality star succubi, and Bruce Jenner looking like Aphrodite herself. The couple married at an historical Italian fortress before the giant wall of peonies the couple set up to deter God from striking Kim with lightning as she appeared in virginal white. There was also a brilliant white piano symbolizing the ebony and ivory harmony between Kim and Kanye. Also, that Kanye intends to rail Kim in her fat-injected dumper 88 times before he goes on tour and gets back to his regular whores. Do you Kanye Omari West, take this cobbled together offal parts money sucking skank to be your primary bitch for the next twelve to eighteen months until the sweeps week E! Breakup special? I duz. Cue Kris Jenner’s cackle so evil that Satan himself got embarrassed.

    • DeniseVB says:

      We should start a break up pool. Kanye is mentally disturbed and Kim is an attention ho’, Two very toxic personalities being stirred in Mama Kris’ cauldron. Ratings!

      I’ll put in Sept 1, 2014 😛

    • DandyTIger says:

      It was so beautiful, I couldn’t help crying… said no one ever.

      • Lulu says:

        The surviving Medicis and the citizens of Florence were so outraged that the city had been rented to “them” that they vowed to run off the entire city administration. This little nugget was in one of the Brit papers. I think that is why the entire crew of semi-celebrities hotfooted it out of Italy pretty fast after the photo-op, er, wedding. Florentines were not amused that the city cultural relics were used for a circus of vulgarity and bad taste. The snubbing must have been epic. They didn’t even stick around for shopping.

        • DandyTIger says:

          Like they haven’t had enough of that from early Romans. They’re probably pretty used to being used and abused like that. 🙂

        • Underwhelmed says:

          Do not mess with angry Florentines. When a rival family attacked the Medici brothers in church, the mob put ropes around the murderers’ necks and tossed them out of the town hall windows. Including the local church guys, who were involved. Tacky Kardashian crew got away luck!

  11. The Klown says:

    Karma’s a bitch.

  12. mothy67 says:

    RuPaul nails it. He is talking about the LGBTLMNOP community but it could just as easily have beenthe new feminists, Toure or Van jones

    • The Klown says:

      There is an old torts case regarding some woman suing for intentional infliction of emotional distress over being called some nasty names.

      That is basically what the court told her when they dismissed the case.

  13. The Klown says:
  14. The Klown says:
    • Lulu says:

      What about the social biases against young Asian men that he slaughtered? Where is the discussion of this dipshit and his loathing for them? He accused them of stealing, he made them miserable living with him, they were trying to get the hell away from him by moving but it sounds like they couldn’t afford to break their lease. He was “placed” with them by the student apartment complex. He was half Asian, small, awkward, angry and supposedly smart. Only he really wasn’t smart or hard working like them. So he didn’t fit in with them and he resented their success (academically) and their friendships. Trying to fit his crimes into specific politically correct niches for points is disgusting. When his parents tried shifting the blame to the police the cops retaliated by raiding his parents houses and taking computers, phones, files, etc. How much did they know and how much did they ignore? And the same goes for the therapists. Was it easier and less expensive to just pawn him off on a junior college, apartment complex, innocent clueless roommates and buy him any shit he wanted rather than put in in long term treatment (very expensive) which he would have no choice but to go since he had no means of support. I feel sorry for his parents but they need to stop talking and making excuses.

      • swanspirit says:

        There are some very discreet , exclusive psychiatric hospitals all over the world where he could have been treated . Sheppard Pratt comes immediately to mind , but there are others , and for longer term there is
        Sheppherd Pratt also offers long term , so help is available for those that can afford it.

        Therapeutic Mental Health Residential Living At Its FinestClearview Communities

        Clearview Communities offers therapeutic residential treatment and rehabilitation services for adults struggling with a range of serious psychiatric diagnoses. Through a supportive environment, meaningful work, and a welcoming community, we know recovery is possible.

        • Lulu says:

          His parents are going to have to answer that in lawsuits. Blaming the second amendment is very convenient when you have situations like this. It doesn’t work obviously since he killed three people with a claw hammer and machete type knife and injured others with a car. Since he was under 26 why wasn’t he on an Obamacare policy with major mental health treatment on one of his parents policy? Were they tapped out financially? Obviously not if they could buy cars, college, apartments, stuff, cameras for self recording, clothes, designer crap, etc. Why didn’t he live at home and attend classes? Why didn’t they make him take medication or cut him off financially? Was he dangerous there too? Were they sick of him and his disruption of their personal lives? And the parents did not notify the police. A therapist did. I guess they thought they were paying someone to deal with him. Pay a therapist, pay a junior college, pay an apartment complex, buy him a car, give him money to buy guns and lotto tickets, turn him loose. By giving so many rights to the mentally imbalanced you take everyone else’s rights away including the poor boys who did not understand how ill he was and could not afford to get away from him and his parents who are going to have the financial burden of his murderous binge.

          • mothy67 says:

            Can the parents be held liable for the actions of an adult child? He was 22 and had been in treatment since the age of 8. Morally perhaps but legally? Seems the psychiatric pros are the ones who dropped the ball.

          • 49erDweet says:

            Klown can probably explain it better, but depending on the circumstances one can’t simply fail to act but dust off one’s hands when someone reaches their majority, and walk away scot free. And there’s always aiding and abetting. Giving cars and tuition infers a continuing pattern of support. Ergo, it should be informed support.

  15. foxyladi14 says:

    Shame on CNN. 🙄

  16. 1539days says:

    The #YesAllWomen hashtag was filled with such wisdom as saying we should teach men not to rape as opposed to teaching women how to be safe. The problem is that rape is morally wrong and illegal. We tell men not to rape, we don’t teach them. That concept implies that morality is meaningless and rape is bad because it is disrespectful to women.

    Ultimately, the whole thing generalizes women as put upon and potentially assaulted at all turns by some minority of males large enough to spread the misery around to all women.

    • votermom says:

      The #YesAllWomen hashtag was filled with such wisdom as saying we should teach men not to rape as opposed to teaching women how to be safe.

      We tell people not to kill, not to steal, not to cheat …

      • John Denney says:

        Because your neighbor is endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights . . .

        • angienc says:

          You make no sense — did you mean to nest here or is this just your usual stupid?

          • John Denney says:

            I did indeed intend to nest there.
            Your neighbor is endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights, like the right to life, liberty and property. Killing, stealing, and cheating are violations of his God-given rights.
            If there were no God, then there would be no rights. The entire planet would be utterly insignificant in the universe, and any act by an individual even more insignificant.

            “A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death – the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders we are not going to be judged.”
            ― Czesław Miłosz, Nobel Laureate

    • 49erDweet says:

      “Teach men not to rape.” ROFL. I think THAT little bit of idiocy deserves it’s own hash tag. #TeachMenNot2Rape. There, all taken care of.
      Next problem?

      • Jadzia says:

        Well, I think there is something to be said for teaching your sons not to grow up to be douchebags. In fact, I kind of consider that one of my most important jobs.

        • 49erDweet says:

          Agreed. But that would be #TeachSonsNot2Rape. It’s the hashtag mentality I’m mocking. The subject is serious. Hashtags are superficial. We need a stronger character-indicator.

  17. angienc says:

    Don’t know if you saw this but RuPaul on the Speechcraft police trying to put the word “tranny” on the “banned words list:”

    You know, if your idea of happiness has to do with someone else changing what they say, what they do, you are in for a fucking hard-ass road.

    The ingrates at LogoTV (the channel Ru *made* with his show “RuPaul’s Drag Race”) didn’t back up Ru’s defense of “tranny” by telling Buzzfeed that Ru doesn’t speak for them:

    These comments did not come from Logo. We are committed to supporting the entire LGBT community and will not feature any anti-trans rhetoric on our shows.

    Ru responded on Twitter in classic style:

    Trust! @LogoTV hasn’t “distanced” itself from me, not while I’m still payin’ the f%kin’ light bill over there. I’ve been a “tranny” for 32 years. The word “tranny” has never just meant transsexual. #TransvestiteHerstoryLesson I’m more “offended/hurt” by the misuse of the word “community”

    And I say: PREACH SISTER RU!!!

    • angienc says:

      Damn — I messed up first blockquote — this line is Ru, not me:

      You know, if your idea of happiness has to do with someone else changing what they say, what they do, you are in for a fucking hard-ass road.

    • John Denney says:

      Context, context.
      “Dang, I shucked my tranny drag racing last Saturday night.”
      It means he ruined at least one gear in his car transmission.

      • John Denney says:

        Oh, and “drag racing” is a contest of pure acceleration, where the cars start from a dead stop, racing in a straight line for 1/4 mile or less.

  18. mothy67 says:

    It is insane that we have millions of illegal immigrants from Mexico sending the money they earn here back to Mexico and our government is so impotent that it can’t get a marine out. Come on. Did I say today I despise progressives.

  19. The Klown says:

    It’s a GIRL!

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