Are We Winning the War on Boys?

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Camille Paglia says yes! And defeat is turning college-aged men into highly feminized mass murderers. And hymen-challenged coeds are to blame. Or something:

Camille Paglia, professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and author of Sexual Personae, believes Cho is emblematic of the crisis of masculinity in America. "Women have difficulty understanding the mix of male sexual aggression with egotism and the ecstasy of self-immolation," she says.

"Young men have enormous energy. There was a time when they could run away, hop on a freighter, go to a factory and earn money, do something with their hands. Now there is this snobbery of the upper-middle-class professional. Everyone has to be a lawyer or paper pusher."

Cho is a classic example of "someone who felt he was a loser in the cruel social rat race", Paglia says. The pervasive hook-up culture at college, where girls are prepared to sleep with boys they barely know or fancy, can be a source of seething resentment and alienation for those who are left out.

"Young women now seem to want to behave like men and have sex without commitment. The signals they are giving are very confusing, and rage and humiliation build up in boys who are spurned again and again."

The sex, Paglia argues, "is everywhere but it is not erotic", as can be seen by the sad spectacle of Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears flashing their lack of underwear during a night on the town. "It's not even titillating. It's banal and debasing." 

Via Culture, Etc.

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  1. This all could explain why an overwhelming proportion of the male population is resorting to mass murder. They want to be steel workers and can’t talk to girls.

    Columns like this make me wonder how many columnists keep an archive of ready-made rants on their favorite topic, waiting anxiously for tragedy to strike so they can paste in the name of the killer and a couple of details and suddenly seem timely.

  2. Ah yes, when in doubt, blame the promiscuity of women. Glad to know that some assholes can still drag it out of the closet when necessary.

  3. Isn’t there a severe overpopulation of young men to young women in China? I thought I read that somewhere, but I could be wrong.

  4. Paglia’s like a power hitter.

    She strikes out more often than she lofts one into the cheap seats, but, hey, if she can hit .300 she’s way ahead of her peers.

  5. “The pervasive hook-up culture at college, where girls are prepared to sleep with boys they barely know or fancy…”

    And still none were prepared to sleep with me. Sigh. Maybe it was the “Who is John Galt” T-shirt.

  6. Insert joke about young men having tons of energy and “do[ing] something with their hands” here.

  7. Kwix,

    Apparently she’s only got a problem with selective promiscuity that leaves guys like Cho sitting on the sidelines thinking “Sex is like air, there’s a lot of it around but I don’t seem to be getting any.”*

    *I recognize that this doesn’t make sense, but then again, I didn’t kill a bunch of people, so what do I know about sanity? By the way, does anybody remember the quote I’m referencing. I can neither remember the correct quote nor the author thereof.

  8. I find Paglia entertaining as hell, but this is a seriously unsophisticated analysis. According to the article Paglia claims that Cho is a classic example of “someone who felt he was a loser in the cruel social rat race,”. Join the club. Hit & Run would be awful quiet without us. If he is archetypical enough to be “a classic example” then I would expect men like him to be ubiquitous.

    I know very little about Cho but I will go out on a limb and hazard that what his behavior mostly showed is that he was mentally ill. From all I have read from people who were in his life this was obvious from an early age well before college. There is little in the way of an institutional response to deal with someone who is quasi-suicidal but fails to demonstrate that they are a threat to others until it is too late. The pop-analysis of this event, for all intents and purposes, should be over. There is nothing knew a talking head is going to offer in the way of useful information on the event. Apparently that includes Paglia.

  9. So the solution is MORE SEX! If only he’d gotten laid he wouldn’t have shot anyone. Right? So maybe some hookers on staff . . .

  10. Paglia, a confirmed lesbian, is right about one thing; there was nothing sexy about Lohan and Spears showing their goods to the world. This was definitely a reach. Cho was not some frustrated young man who could have been set straight if only he would have joined the army or the French Foreign Legion or something. He was a first rate nutjob with a major persecution complex. Nothing but a long stay in a rubber room with regular doses of thorazine was going to save Cho.

  11. maybe some hookers on staff

    If it saves one life, it’s worth it.

  12. Jeebus Christ, knew s.b. new. Why doesn’t spell check no that???[sic]

  13. “The pervasive hook-up culture at college, where girls are prepared to sleep with boys they barely know or fancy”

    Where is this college again? It’s sure as hell not where I went.

    “They want to be steel workers and can’t talk to girls.”

    Oh come on, everyone knows the

  14. Columns like this make me wonder how many columnists keep an archive of ready-made rants on their favorite topic, waiting anxiously for tragedy to strike so they can paste in the name of the killer and a couple of details and suddenly seem timely.

    And then Cathy Young can write a column on those columnists.

    “Well, so-and-so blamed [insert tragedy here] on illegal immigrants, while somebody blamed the tragedy on xenophobia. And a prominent social conservative blamed it on loose sexual mores today, while somebody else said that the attacker’s strict religious background had made him snap.”

  15. Swilfredo says it better than I could. Cho’s breakdown isn’t the frustration of not getting laid, or being left out. It’s a fundamental breakdown of human sympathy/empathy. He was clearly projecting a level of disdain from his peers that just wasn’t there.

  16. Why is everybody picking on what could be the greatest post-modernist writer of the 21st century?

    I predict his play will be a cult classic with people who review stuff that nobody else wants to read.

  17. Swilfredo says it better than I could. Cho’s breakdown isn’t the frustration of not getting laid, or being left out. It’s a fundamental breakdown of human sympathy/empathy. He was clearly projecting a level of disdain from his peers that just wasn’t there.

    You mean it really was fair that rich kids got spoiled more than him and he had a silly, irrational reaction to the inequality of outcomes in our society?

    Are we allowed to say such things in public now?

  18. I quasi agree.

    Do you really think Cho would have killed all those people if he had a hot girlfriend?

    There is a reason that most of these shootings are young males. Sexual frustration seems to be a big part of these mass shootings. Back in the day, when a male wasn’t getting sex, it was time for him to flex is muscle and see if he could become alpha-male. Sexual frustration produces violent behavior, because back in our prehistoric past, violence was a way to achieve alpha-male status.

    I don’t understand how female promiscuity plays into the whole thing though… I would think that female promiscuity would lower these kinds of mass-shootings.

    While I support legalizing guns too, I think in this case legalizing prostitution, and allowing prostitution to be affordable by young males (instead of taxing it and regulating it to be super expensive), would help stop these mass-shootings.

  19. OKAY CRAZY LADY

  20. Paglia is basically correct – Cho, like Harris and Klebold, was rejected by society and decided to get revenge. I guess he succeeded in that quest.

  21. No Rex the sollution is for women and men to get out there and start having sex with more people more often.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2033/

    It is for the good of society.

  22. 1. Thanks for the linkage, Kerry.

    2. Piling on to the “everybody’s got a theory” bandwagon, and noting the several Reasonoids who’ve confessed to having been collegiate losers themselves, how about this: Losers feel more like losers in a culture that celebrates promiscuity.

    I came of age in Georgia and Alabama in the late Carter/early Reagan era, in a Bible Belt milieu where the entry free for “hooking up” was at least a promise of matrimony (however implied, insincere or negotiable that promise might be).

    A quarter-century later, when popular culture certainly creates the perception (however misleading) that everybody’s gettin’ shagadelic on a nightly basis, the loser feels more isolated than ever.

    But, even if that theory were valid, I still don’t see it as a sufficient explanation for mass murder.

  23. Rex,

    I sure hope you are suggesting a free market in hookers. Can you imagine government run “Sexual Service Centers?” Would make the DMV seem sexy, I bet.*

    *As an odd sidenote, we have two men who work in my city’s DMV. One is the spitting image of Kenny Rogers and the other Fat Elvis.

  24. Regardless of Paglia’s presumptions regarding the sexual atmosphere on college campuses (presumably so much more debauched than her youth in the 1960s?!?!), the same argument refutes every single pundits attempts to draw lessons from events like this. If not getting laid/having to deal with rich kids/playing video games/watching action movies/masturbating too much/masturbating too little/watching ‘An Inconvenient Truth’/having easy access to guns/etc etc etc are the ‘reason’ behind the person snapping, why aren’t we seeing dozens of massacres a day?

  25. They want to be steel workers and can’t talk to girls.

    Hmm… *walking to closet and pulling out guns*

  26. I find Paglia entertaining as hell, but this is a seriously unsophisticated analysis.

    When all you have is a hammer…

  27. She has a point about the labor issue. Most people who go to college have no business going to college. It’s just not necessary for them to be happy, productive people. Hell, most jobs out there don’t require one. 95% of the corporate bureaucratic jobs could be done by someone who barely made it through high school. Libertarians tend to forget that the downside to outsourcing of manufacturing is that many people will be forced to pursue jobs that their temperment is not suited for. Right or wrong, that is going to cause strain.

    Personally, I think the reason he went nuts was realizing that he had wasted most of his time at an esteemed engineering and science university getting an English degree.

  28. On the contrary to most here, I see a lot of insight in what she’s saying (though Cho obviously had deeper problems). And for a simple refutation to just one of the rebuttals above-

    why aren’t we seeing dozens of massacres a day?

    We are. You’re reading the domestic news. Expand your horizons and see how many young, male, American mass murderers there are running amock right now; largely with the moral sanction of America at large.

  29. Most people who go to college have no business going to college.
    Hmmm. Why do so many of those end up getting Ph.Ds?

  30. Do you really think Cho would have killed all those people if he had a hot girlfriend?

    No, he would have waited until after she dumped him, and then Camille Paglia would have blathered on about how promiscuity had something to do with the mass murder.

    Damn, I usually like Paglia’s columns, too.

  31. I don’t think Paglia is far off.

    Now there is this snobbery of the upper-middle-class professional. Everyone has to be a lawyer or paper pusher.

    That is as may be. However, what she doesn’t address is her profession’s culpability. Cho should never have been permitted to believe that he could compete in the paper pushing world to begin with. It was a mistake for him to be accepted as a freshman. It was unforgivable for him to be advanced to an upper-classman.

  32. I’ll go with Occam’s razor and this bit from the X-File’s Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose.

    Killer: “…tell me, please, why have I done them.”

    Clyde Bruckman: “Don’t you understand yet son? Don’t you get it?” [Killer shakes his head] “You do the things you do because you’re a homicidal maniac.”

    Killer: “That… that does explain a lot, doesn’t it. It’s all starting to make sense now.”

  33. One of the most underreported aspects of Cho is that he was diagnosed as severely autistic at an early age. The few people I’ve known that were autistic weren’t fit for college.

    All his behavior prior to this year is what most people would consider classic autism characteristics. He really should have been in special education.

  34. SugarFree,

    I don’t know about you, but I’ be especially skeptical of the hookers that just couldn’t make it in the private sector. Maybe it’d look more like the DMV than you think….

  35. And defeat is turning college-aged men into highly feminized mass murderers.

    Cho was just crazy, but Paglia would’ve been correct if she had applied her analysis to the other students, who just ran away rather than make any attempt to defend themselves or catch the guy. Two exceptions to the running away were Liviu Librescu, who was in his 70’s, and another prof who’s name I don’t recall (he got shot in the arm, IIRC).

    I was shot at once, out in the middle of nowhere, by a guy about 100′ away; I ran straight toward him and *he* ran away. But then, I’m just another (semi)old fart.

  36. There is a lot not to like about Paglia, but this is an example of why she is indispensable overall. I immediately thought the sex angle she explores was a prime motivator of Cho, in fact he practically says it, but the media danced around it…

  37. Uhh, if the quoted “women” were having lots of sex “Just for the fuck if it”, wouldn’t that illustrate that the behaviour is counter-intuitive?

    IE. AS more horny frustrated young men get laid, their rage will amplify?

  38. F LeMur,

    Had he just methodically shot several of your friends and peers right in front of you? I guess you’re moderately more courageous than Derbyshire, asshole.

  39. Jesus.

    The kid had schizophrenia. Short, sweet, and uncomplicated.

    Everyone and their grandmother has to “see” their pet issues through the lens of the fucking thing. It’s so baldly self-serving it makes me sick. I’ll be glad when the whole 70s feminist theory crowd is dead/retired and we can make up new reasons for why men are shitty like x and women are shitty like y.

  40. I predict his play will be a cult classic with people who review stuff that nobody else wants to read.

    Speaking of violent-crazy (and racist) stuff nobody wants to read, here’s some, er, words scribbled by one of the teacherettes who was suspicious of Cho:
    http://www.aavw.org/special_features/pofidr_poetry_giovanni.html

  41. As someone who went through last years mass murder I can say that sexual frustration drives a lot of young men to do really stupid things.

    People who are pissed that they can’t get laid lash out in disturbing ways.

    By having sex with those awkward loners you defuse the situation. Make them realize that getting along with people can have very good benefits.

  42. If this analysis is correct, then why don’t we have a lot more of these shootings? There are a LOT of guys out there that don’t have girlfriends and never have sex because they’re unnattractive. Somehow, the vast majority seem to be able to keep their murderous, indignant rage under control.

  43. Pundits thrive on anecdotes, but anecdotal evidence is weak evidence at best.

  44. “Cho is a classic example of “someone who felt he was a loser in the cruel social rat race”, Paglia says.”

    No, he’s not. He was a person with a severe mental illness. Those-people-are-pretending-to-be-nice-but-I-can-feel-their-psychic-transmissions-trying-to-steal-my-brain-type illness. I’m-the-only-real-person-everyone-else-is-a-robot-type illness. He is not an example of anything that normal, healthy people experience.

    Either that, or he was a victim of the alienating effects of auto-dependant suburban sprawl. But probably the psychosis thing.

  45. “Maybe it’d look more like the DMV than you think….”

    Come and get it hot stuff.

    Hubba-hubba.

  46. Joe-

    LOL

  47. Either that, or he was a victim of the alienating effects of auto-dependant suburban sprawl. But probably the psychosis thing.

    As a guy who studies the physics of blood vessels and who is about to begin a faculty position, I’d like to offer two self-serving observations:

    1) None of this would have happened if he’d majored in my subject. Or at least minored in it.

    2) Whatever mental defects he may have had, I’m convinced that it must be related to blood flow in the brain, and so we need more money for blood vessel research.

    joe’s thing about sprawl? Totally wrong. The real key to this thing is my pet issue.

  48. No, he’s not. He was a person with a severe mental illness. Those-people-are-pretending-to-be-nice-but-I-can-feel-their-psychic-transmissions-trying-to-steal-my-brain-type illness. I’m-the-only-real-person-everyone-else-is-a-robot-type illness. He is not an example of anything that normal, healthy people experience.

    So how exactly does one distinguish between crazy and really pissed off?

  49. Thoreau-

    I think that joe was being ironical.

    At least…

    Well, I hope so.

  50. Why aren’t there more mass murders?

    Well, maybe it’s the statistical likelihood of a loser going BLAM! is very low, but still much higher than that of the socially accepted.

    You need to manufacture 10,000,000 losers like Cho to get two or three of them to mow down everyone around them.

    [This isn’t my argument – I’m just trying to find a way to make Paglia’s argument work.]

  51. I know he was being ironical. And I was riffing off of it.

    Here’s the part where you say that he would have been fine if he’d majored in graphic design.

  52. By the way, I think it’s about time for a revisionist approach to the whole “It’s because of bullying and guys not getting laid!” line of argument applied to guys like Cho and Klebold.

    Maybe it’s the exact opposite.

    Perhaps bullying has gone down, and because of that, guys who used to be completely beaten down and bludgeoned into submitting to their low social status can now peer just far enough outside of the lockers they’ve been pushed into to get pissed off.

    We have a crisis of rising expectations among dorks. The fight hasn’t been quite beaten out of them as it once would have been, and they have just enough spirit to act out revenge fantasies that they see in popular media.

    The solution to this problem would be to allow schoolyard bullies scope to reimpose their petty reigns of terror. You know – impose a million little strongmen in the nation’s high schools. Think of it as a living experiment anticipating our eventual method for withdrawing from Iraq.

  53. Reminds me of Craig Kilborn back when he hosted the Daily Show saying, in re the Unabomber “If only one of you women would have had sex with him!”

    Clearly we need government-provided sex care workers of last resort. A safety net of sorts.

  54. “Here’s the part where you say that he would have been fine if he’d majored in graphic design.”

    Nah.

    As a rule, graphic designers are only slightly less nutzoid that out-and-out fine artists.

  55. We’re also ironically incapable of grasping when others are being ironic, despite having a strong affinity for irony.

  56. 1) None of this would have happened if he’d majored in my subject. Or at least minored in it.

    Don’t think so? Not even if he never understood say, bernoulli’s equation, and yet was still passed on to senior level classes. But of course, I accept that that could never happen in your subject.

  57. Warren, I prefer to see this tragedy as a validation of everything that I’ve already believed. It makes blog commenting much easier.

  58. If he had taken on the historicist mindset he would have been fine.

  59. A number of years ago, I heard Paglia on Bill Maher’s show defending stripping as empowering to women. A woman who says that can’t be all bad.

  60. Maybe the words “I’m from the government and I am here to help” wouldn’t be so frightening, especially if the gov’t sex worker followed it with “reach climax”

  61. thoreau,
    Good thinking. That’s why I totally buy the “it’s because he couldn’t get laid” theory. If I had ever gone on a shooting rampage, that would have been why. The instant and irrevocable classification as unfuckable by women who didn’t even know me. I’m looking at you… oh hell, I guess every woman here. Honestly, I just don’t understand why so many women fail to appreciate my charm.

  62. “I just don’t understand why so many women fail to appreciate my charm.”

    I’m guessing the puncture marks on your nuts might have something to do with it.

  63. “Women have difficulty understanding the mix of male sexual aggression with egotism and the ecstasy of self-immolation ”

    Fixed that.

  64. All of these pundits with their pet theories about what made Cho do it. Wrong.

    He just didn’t like Mondays.

  65. Which means that he’s a Garfield fan.

  66. Look, there’s a difference between ‘X caused this person to kill’ and ‘X informed this person’s decision to kill.’

    It’s a pat and easy answer to always say ‘He did it because he was looney tunes.’ And this is basically correct; people who go on murderous rampages are, by definition, crazy.

    But it’s at least interesting to ask, and answer, the question: What was the internal narrative he was telling himself that made this seem reasonable?

    If he’d been a hard-left anarcho-communist, you betcha it would be interesting to ask what his manifesto was all about. Ditto hard-right protofascist authoritarian. Or nutjob religious type. Or terrorist. Or whatever other motivations you might dream up.

    The interesting thing about Columbine was not that two kids went nuts and killed people. That was the *tragic* thing about it. The interesting thing was to look at their self-described motivations, the stressors that triggered their craziness, and ask how those same stressors are affecting the sane.

    In this case, having watched his videos and read his goofy plays, I think it’s reasonable to ask if rejection — both by women and by men — was a significant part of the story he was telling himself about the world. It’s stupid to argue that not-enough-pussy is going to cause a generation of murderers; it’s at least worth discussing what might result from a generation of disaffected, rejected losers.

    Particularly in light of the gender imbalance in China, for instance.

  67. mediageek,

    Maybe he should have gone over to Chotchkie’s with Samir and Michael instead.

  68. $400 Haircut:
    So how exactly does one distinguish between crazy and really pissed off?

    A simple body count.

  69. Yes I do realize that my comment was in bad taste and I apologize for it.

  70. Grotius- Nah. Black humor is the best kind.

  71. David:

    If this analysis is correct, then why don’t we have a lot more of these shootings? There are a LOT of guys out there that don’t have girlfriends and never have sex because they’re unnattractive. Somehow, the vast majority seem to be able to keep their murderous, indignant rage under control.

    I’d say “just barely”. After having been one of those guys (although I’m happy to say that now, in my early 30’s, I have to beat ’em off with a stick), I can say that it’s completely understandable.

  72. Which means that he’s a Garfield fan.

    I was thinking Boomtown Rats.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brenda_Ann_Spencer

  73. If this a problem…drastically lower violent crime rates among males age 16-25…then I really don’t see the problem.

  74. I apologize for it.

    Whoever’s posting under Grotius’ name, knock it off.

  75. crimethink,

    This is where I turn the other cheek.

  76. I like Paglia some of the time, but she’s out to lunch here. Cho, along with the Columbine killers, weren’t just poor, socially inept, unsexed bastards. They were sociopaths. If all it took for a guy to go on a shooting spree was to be socially inept and never getting any, then there would be a lot more shootings. To me, Paglia’s argument makes about as much sense as the crap about how videogames make us violent.

  77. ‘He just didn’t like Mondays.’

    works for me.

  78. of course, if pot were legalized NONE of this would have ever happened because the loser kids would be too stoned to shoot anyone. How to prevent school shootings? lots of pot for socially awkward geeks. A loner who can’t get a girl can’t really hurt anyone if he stays in his room all day getting stoned while watching star trek and playing world of warcraft. Easy solution.

  79. I wuz gonna shoot up ma school
    but then I got high

  80. Charles Manson had a habit of doing it with his female followers. That didn’t stop him or the crazy chicks who admired him from committing murder.

    Bernardine Dorhn had no shortage of lovers, according to what I’ve heard. Yet she was a top Weatherman (Weathergirl?) and a terrorist.

    I seem to recall that [deleted in accordance with Godwin’s Law] had a girlfriend, Eva Braun.

    The latest biography of Mao Tse-Tung says that he was getting laid on a regular basis by lots of young women. “I wash my [male member] in their [part of female anatomy],” he was reported as saying.

    So how come these people didn’t become peace-loving and harmless, what with all the sex they were getting?

  81. Some crazy even a the best pu$$y can’t help.

  82. Great comments Isildur. It’s interesting to explore these evil nutjobs minds. I get tired of the “he was crazy plain and simple” as well as the “he was evil, end of story” (peddled by about half of NRO’s contributors) lines. That what he did was crazy and evil is a good STARTING point and obvious. The really insightful and interesting part are the further questions that help us understand why he felt he could do something crazy and evil. Need I mention that this way also lies any information that may lead to prevention of future crazy and evil acts…

  83. “Grotius- Nah. Black humor is the best kind.”

    I really have to disagree.

  84. Turns out he hired an escort a month or so before. One with the name Chastity Frye, no less.

  85. I think that Camille Paglia has a point here. It would be difficult to argue that if Cho, Klebold, or Harris had been part of the in-group that any of these slayings would have occurred. Specifically, the Colombine killers motivation from all accounts presented by students was social isolation by the “winners”. Had the two been desired by their classmates of the opposite sex I highly doubt that they would have killed anyone. Sexual desire of the opposite sex is seen as a strength and symbol of power by almost all people and cultures worldwide, and as I remember it is even more important in the social structure of the American high school and college environment. Sexual prowess is praised in these settings, and those without aren’t taken seriously as players in the game of life. If you take this reality and combine it with a disposition for violence and mental instability you have mass murder. Otherwise, it probably arises as domestic violence later in life.

    Apparently, even Cho in the last month of his life sought female companionship from an escort.

    http://wsls.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=WSLS/MGArticle/SLS_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1173350907846

    Not being part of the debauchery of society that he railed against in his manifesto was the catalyst for his actions. According to the article he was even denied sexually by the escort. And this manufactured companionship was probably the only real contact that Cho had with a woman for some time. If he couldn’t become part of the decadence, his twisted mind called for him to destroy it, or at least what he perceived it to be which of course was his fellow students at VTech.

  86. I’ve decided to go with the “can’t get laid” theory only because both of my sons, ages 8 and 5, have, at last count, three “girlfriends” each. Until this point, I worried about STD’s and paternity suits when they’re in high school; now I can balance that against the fact that they probably won’t turn into homicidal maniacs.

  87. Nobody, but nobody gets it.

  88. I think that people who can’t buy into this idea of sexual isolation are unable to recognize the fact that Cho was also nuts. When you combine the intense isolation that many males in society feel with a psychotic predisposition what to you expect? Fortunately, this kind of thing doesn’t happen with most people because they aren’t nuts. It just happens to be what I consider at least a partially valid explanation for Cho because he is.

    I think that a well adjusted male in society will eventually find his place in the world in regards to normal healthy sexual activity. However, the key terms are normal and well adjusted. People try to analyze this case through the lens of the normal average non-killer. I suppose it’s difficult to try to think crazy think. Or maybe it’s sickening to try to empathize with or at least try to understand the thoughts of a crazed killer and mass murderer, but until we do we’ll see more of the same. It’s a lot easier to just say… Well he was nuts and forget about him. But what do we do to stop the next one if we don’t at least try to make sense of the illogical and depraved.

  89. It was too much gravity. Without so much gravity, he wouldn’t have been able to walk, wield the gun, all that other stuff. Place the blame where it belongs.

  90. When I first heard about this incident, my first thought was that the first murder involved (a lack of) sex. Perhaps Cho had a crush on that first girl and snapped when she started shacking up with some dumb jerk. Instead of gunning her down right then, he decided to go down in a blaze of glory. We will never know.

    Either way, I understand such pain. Growing up, I was the short fat geeky kid. Same in college. In grad school, I at least became the fairly fit geeky lab rat, a slight improvement. Of course, it didn’t matter, because I was lucky to meet five single women a year in that environment.

    Most of you will never know what it is like to be 30 years old and still be able to count the times you have had sex on your thumbs, the number of girls you have so much as kissed on one hand, and measure the time since you last slept with someone in years, not weeks. Count yourself lucky. It is really hard…really really hard. It bugs you every day, every night, every morning. It bugs you every time you see couples together, your friends get married, or you are sitting home alone while your friends are all out on dates. I can easily how someone in such a position could snap, and I am willing to bet that Cho is not that different than I was at his age.

    Don’t worry, though. You are safe, because things have been better the last few years and now I have yet another hot young girlfriend….

  91. And here all this time I thought Paglia was one of the patron saints of libertarian feminists.

  92. Cho’s family members recall that he was diagnosed with autism before he even came to the US. I don’t think getting layed can cure that.

    Andronoid made the following comment on a related thread regarding Cho’s McBeef play:

    I just wonder about the symbolism of the cereal bar? Why would it have to be banana? and how would anyone watching the play know it was banana?

    Perhaps it was just bad writing on Cho’s part, but it also shows a disconnect with his audience.

  93. I don’t see the connection between autism and mass murder. I do however see a connection between revenge and mass murder. Whether it is revenge on managers and workers at the post office or revenge on classmates the common element is clear. I think it’s disgraceful to attempt to link the autistic to mass murder as I’ve seen no evidence even resembling a correlation, period. With mental problems present the ill still face the same problems that ‘normal’ people face daily. The difference is in the response.

  94. The difference is in the response.

    You are arguing with yourself, Marc.

    I am not sure what motivates all mass murderers. But in Cho’s case, mental illness may well have played a part. He’s too dead to figure that out for sure now. Charles Whitman, the Texas clock-tower killer, had a brain tumor. My sister is autistic, but as often is the case, she is mentally retarded too. She is usually peaceful but is occasionally violent. She does not have to capacity to plan anything.

  95. My point was that I believe he had some undiagnosed mental problem. I just don’t believe that it was autism. I understand your sister is autistic and I too have had experience and relationships with the autistic. I haven’t seen the mentality in the autistic that leads to mass murder. I guess I thought that you were implying that autism was the cause or something.

    I really see this as a situation where a person with a mental problem can’t deal with many of the pressures and problems people deal with every day in life and responds with violence. Most people who have been rejected by a person or an institution eventually deal with it. My premise is that people with mental problems may see that rejection and react with violence. In this case sexual rejection and social isolation.

  96. As for Whitman, there was still something debilitating in his brain preventing him from dealing with problems. Almost no one goes off of the deep end for no reason. There is always a method behind the madness of a murderers thought processes. Spree killers always have some reason that is difficult for most to understand. Sometimes it takes years of study and research to figure out why, and other times it takes a video sent to NBC and a time line of events to make it clear.

  97. Hey Ron,

    No one should moan about not getting laid. It’s more a failure of will than of your personal attractiveness/worth/etc. How am I sure of this?

    Ugly people meet and keep having ugly babies.

    If only hot people fucked, this whole issue would be dead by now. I blame biology!

    JG

  98. Yeah,

    If only Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey would have stayed together. They could have fucked us to salvation.

  99. or maybe just fucked us over

  100. I guess I thought that you were implying that autism was the cause or something.

    Marc,

    I’m saying autism may have contributed to Cho’s wild outburst of killing. I am basing that on reports from his grandmother that he was diagnosed with autism, not my own opinion. Cho’s playwriting has puzzling commentary about the flavor of a weapon that an audience could not be privy to. I wasn’t sure what to make of that, but it is consistent with autism.

    Cho’s sister, Sun-Kyung Cho, has offered a classy, mature, apology for her brother’s behavior, making it even more of stretch to think that this tragedy had a hard connection with her brother’s environment or any real experiences he may or may not have had.

  101. Of course autism played a major role in Cho’s outburst. Here was a person who was socially inept to an extent that even the geekiest of us here can barely comprehend. The tragedy is that his family apparently was unable to see this, and his whole life pushed him into social situations where he was guaranteed to fail. Imagine what that would do to your psyche, year after year after year of being isolated, unable really to understand why you are incapable of connecting to others, and the rage at the world just building. His inability to connect sexually with other people certainly didn’t help, but I think it goes far beyond that. This child, and emotionally he was still a child, should never have been sent off to college by himself. It is usually too easy to blame the parents, but as a father of a child with aspergers, I have to say I kind of do. I’ve seen how frustrating it is for my son to be unable to connect with other children, and how he will withdraw after bad experiences. He does much much better than Cho apparently did at that age, but I still have a hard time imagine sending him off to live in college alone. The paradox is that while asperger’s/autism seems to be more and more common, we also live in a world where it has never been more important to have the ability to interact socially with a wide number of people. Had Cho grown up on a farm, he very likely would have been just another quiet, kind of odd, farmer. Instead he was forced into what was probably the worst possible environment for a child like that. If there is a lesson here, it is for parents to really think about what kind of life makes sense for their child.

  102. ‘the ecstasy of self-immolation’…

    Yeah, you know, me and my coworker buddies were sitting around the other evening, having a few brewskis, and then we decided to light ourselves on fire. And man, it was awesome!

    Dumb man-hating bitch.

  103. you have had sex on your thumbs

    the number of girls you have so much as kissed on one hand

    = lithe Viennese playboy, circa 1901?

  104. I’m no expert on autism, and I don’t claim to be. Maybe it was a contributing factor and if it was so be it. However, this is beside the point when you take a look at the motives behind mass murders in schools as of late. The common thread is rejection either by the school as an institution or by the students. I think this is a pretty accurate assessment. I didn’t mean to turn this conversation to an argument about mental illness, even though this should be part of the discussion. I was simply reiterating a part of Paglia’s analysis as I saw it. The rejection of Cho by women and society at large coupled with mental illness seems to be a reasonable motive for these slayings.

  105. lunchstealer,

    By the way, does anybody remember the quote I’m referencing. I can neither remember the correct quote nor the author thereof.

    I’ve heard this: “Sex is like air – it doesn’t seem all that important until you’re not getting any.”

  106. As someone with autism, I can take comfort in the fact that things have never been better for people like me (i.e. an abundance of high-tech job, a proliferation of internet resources and contacts). I also want to assure everyone here: I’m no spree-killer.

  107. Doesn’t anyone find it a bit ironic that Reason today comments on Thomas Szasz at the same time that it publishes a Friday Funnies and numerous comments that Cho was “just nuts”.

    Obviously, Szasz would not think so, since mental illness is a myth.

  108. When I was in high school, I’d make my girlfriend read Ayn Rand and she’d make me read Camille Paglia. It is left as an exercise for the reader to determine how that turned out.

  109. Ever heard of “crackin’ up from lack of shackin’ up”? It’s true. When I was a virginal teenage boy I thought I’d go insane.

    The libido can drive you to obsession and irrationality. Plus, if you’re rejected a lot, it can lead to a lot of insecurity which often manifests itself as rage against those who’ve rejected you. Mix this with paranoia and mental instability and you’ve got a deadly combination.

    It’s hard not to think that if guys like Cho or the Columbine boys had been channeling their frustrations into hot teenage humping, distracting themselves and opening their armor to relationships, everything might have turned out better. Sounds crude, but a life can’t always be sophisticated or dainty.

    And Monster, geez – Paglia is a HUGE fan of men and Western civilization in general. Her point here is that feminism is responsible for men recieving a lot of unfair treatment over the past 40 years or so. And if you don’t know what she means by “the ecstacsy of self-immolation” then you haven’t paid attention to Wagner, the Nazis, Islamic suicide bombers, or Fight Club.

  110. Cho was never going to have a sane girlfriend, hot or otherwise, because he was crazy. Why was he crazy enough to kill? I think the idea that he was pushed into inappropriate social situations is certainly a defendable one, but saying that he went crazy because he didn’t get laid is reversing the causality chain. I like Paglia, but this is a case of her using a high-profile tragedy to push her pet agenda.

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