Sympathy for the Devil

A lot of really stupid things are being said in the wake of the VT tragedy, but some of the stupidest are contained in quotes from Camille Paglia in this column. If I understand Paglia correctly, she’s essentially sympathetic to the killer’s manifesto. An extended example:

“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.”

Of course it’s only natural that this would cause someone to kill. Bullshit. The problem here is that we had someone with a screw loose (or whatever the medical term is) and that person had access to the means to seek redress for his imaginary grievances. No one likes shallow, promiscuous rich kids (except the same), but most of us are able to deal with that by calling them “bitches” and “assholes” behind their backs. Call it class warfare on the cheap by the apathetic, but that’s usually enough to get us through the day.

Incidentally, young men can still “run away” regardless of class snobbery. In fact it’s bizarre to suggest that class snobbery is somehow a new innovation to ward off young men keen to get there and do stuff. Young aristocrats tried it en masse in 1870s Russia as part of a radical student movement at a time and in a place when class lines were far more rigid


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