Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cho Seung-Hui's predictably unintelligible "manifesto"

It is not particularly surprising the Cho Seung-Hui, the VT murderer, sent myriad documents, photos and videos to NBC news in between his two killings--in fact, it's strange that no other school murderer has done something like this until now. After all, one doesn't have to have a degree in psychology to see that murdering 32 people is a call for attention, and so it makes perfect sense to me that Seung-Hui would send his "manifesto" out for us all to see. Watching the video of Cho Seung-Hui's rant, I became deeply depressed--even more depressed than I was when I first heard about the killings. What comes across right away is that Seung-Hui has no idea what he's talking about; his logic is completely confused. He bandies around terms like "revolution" without even knowing what they mean. He compares himself to Jesus in a way that makes no sense. In short, the "manifesto" is everything you imagined it would be. He is a parody of himself. He is a 14 year old in a 23 year old's body, pointing a gun at the camera as if he's pretending to be the bad guy in a James Bond movie.

It's 1:00am as I write this, and I'm sure this is sounding like a pretty trivial point to make about this travesty, but, for some reason, it terrifies me to think that someone would commit such an act, attract the attention of the entire world (which, as is the case with all these shooters, totally ignored him before) and this is all he has to say. Could it be that these murders were carried out so he could declare this ridiculous manifesto to us? Now that is a really terrible notion.

12 comments:

Nancy D., Girl Detective said...

Magwitch, I know you are depressed and it is one in the morning, but please do me a favor and take this photo down. I think we all get the message by now.

Betty & Bimbo said...

All I can think about is the victims and their families and their friends. They were totally innocent and yet this guy made them -- and by extension, everyone, including you and me -- into enemies. This is fundamentalism, even if the manifesto is self-penned. When he makes comparisons to Jesus and stuff I am worried that people will decide this is somehow a legitimate response... I really don't have any words to keep analyzing this terrible, terrible event with.

Betty & Bimbo said...

I think it's also worth adding that I can't think of a manifesto that would somehow explain or legitimize this.

Betty & Bimbo said...

And as you say, Mags, it's not surprising that his message is incoherent - he is severely mentally disturbed.

betty said...

One more thing, sorry:

I didn't realize until I just read it that there is some controversey over NBC deciding to air these videos and make them public. It is a little crazy to be able to watch them in your cubicle at work. Did NBC shirk its responsibility here?

venus infers said...

yes yes yes, of course, how else should it be! the madman! let's isolate this event and think that this criminal, this psychopath, this deviant, this queer managed to subvert our peaceful and happy existence! no prior problems! no nothing! just him and his legally bought guns, and of course his individual rage, his incapacity to suck it up, to maturely deal with racism, classism and all the other -isms that abound in this society, part and parcel of being an adult, right?

and of course nbc was going to air those tapes! let's make a spectacle, everybody wants to see the body of evidence! try to distinguish the visible index of this boy's criminal and abnormal "nature", so we can all feel the comfort of the normal.

Betty & Bimbo said...

V. - Of course context matters, particularly the context of a country where anyone can get GUNS -you are right. But severe and untreated mental illness is part of that context.

venus infers said...

indeed. so we blame the who. we take away his agency "he doesn't know what he's talking about," and at the same time we decry his "individual" responsibility. we take him apart. expose the corpse.

i'm not contesting that the guy had serious emotional problems. i'm pointing to two gestures which are repeated in this posting and that are being taken verbatim from the media: 1) the pretense that mental health issues are not socially mediated, in every sense of the word, 2) the phallacy that these problems are only visible as they disrupt into the social fabric through crime and 3) the isolation of the event within the rubric of psychopathic criminality so as to make everybody feel good about the suburban pretense of "normality".

venus infers said...

so it wasn't two gestures, it was three. --v.

magwitch the gruff australian said...

Venus-
I share your frustration here; we tend to marginalize disturbing people and phenomenon through classification, and it often seems like we therefore miss the larger picture, ie. the larger social illness. As far as taking away his agency goes, I, for one, wanted nothing more than to give the boy some agency. Far from feeling any hostility towards him, I genuinely wanted him to have something important to say to me at his death; of course--as bimbo has already noted--nothing could justify his actions, or come even close, but I did think he might have something to say that would stop and make me think about some of my day-to-day assumptions. But alas, his manifesto was childish garbage. As I said in my post, more than completely mad, he was completely an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps in the spirit of Obama's much-heralded post-ideological politics we can agree to observe a decent interval of respectful silence before turning ineffable evil and unfathomable grief into political fodder.

from todays Wasphpost

venus infers said...

yeah, there's also kaufmann complaining about how we're already politicizing the debate by calling for gun control.

this country is a diet coke. sweetness without sugar, grief without grieving, politics without ideology.