I clicked on the link to the article I’ve posted excerpts of below thinking it blamed feminism and feminists for the Virginia Tech shootings, as I’d been warned, and I certainly feared the worst when I saw that Camile Paglia was being quoted extensively — and in general, she didn’t fail me! Goddess, she is such a freaking TOOL! — but I still found the following paragraphs of the article provocative and worth talking about.
… this carefully manicured campus — home to 26,000 students who called themselves Hokies — was no place for a social misfit. Even Cho used to wear the uniform of the mini-city: an orange or maroon T-shirt or sweatshirt with a baseball cap. Paglia, who has taught in American universities for 35 years, describes America’s residential campuses as vast “islands of green and slack conformity where a strange benevolent and tyrannical paternalism has taken over. It’s like a resort atmosphere”.
Paglia believes the school Cho attended would have been no better equipped to deal with frustrated young males. “There is nothing happening educationally in these boring prisons that are fondly called suburban high schools. They are saturated with a false humanitarianism, which is especially damaging for boys.
[I think that most schools, Kindergarten through university level, are some variation of “boring prisons”, but I think they damage all the human beings institutionalized inside of them, not just boys. Institutionalizing human beings, warehousing them, whether in schools, daycare centers, hospitals, prisons, orphanages, cubicles in office towers, wherever, is dehumanizing and debilitating. Human beings were not created for this. Come the revolution, things will be different. — Heart]
“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.”
[Because young girls do not have this same “enormous energy.” They are delicate flowers who need smelling salts with the least exertion. First of all. Second of all, at least at one time boys COULD, with reasonable safety, run away, hop on a freighter, work in a factory. (Wait. Work in a factory? Paglia thinks that was somehow exciting and preferable to going to Virginia Tech?) Earn money. Girls never could do any of the above, and certainly not with “reasonable safety.” Argh. Camille Paglia is such a tool. –Heart]
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.
[As though plenty, plenty, plenty of girls are not similarly often “left out.” I wonder what Paglia figures girls do with their “seething resentment and alienation,” or whether she figures they have any! — Heart]
“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.”
[I think what Paglia says here is true, and scary, but I think what it evidences is male entitlement, male privilege, which manifests itself in feelings of rage whenever it appears to boys or men — appears to them — as though girls and women are getting something they believed they are entitled to but are not getting, when they feel themselves to be getting the short end of the stick when, because they are men, they feel entitled to the long end. –Heart]
…Political scientist Francis Fukuyama believes the common denominator between the terrorist suicide bomber and the suicidal mass murderer is their sexual frustration and gender. “It really is young men between 15 and 30 who are responsible for the vast majority of crimes, although it is politically incorrect to say this too loudly,” he says.
Suicide bombers and the Virginia Tech killer, Fukuyama suggests, “fall into the same demographic of young males, a lot of whom are unemployed, without a clear place in the social hierarchy. These guys have the most to gain and the least to lose by martyrdom”. And often, he adds, they are upset about girls “whose attention they can’t get”.
Fukuyama believes that Cho’s case is “fairly unique” but “the maleness is important”. In his essay Identity and Migration, published by Prospect last February, he writes that radical Islamism should be understood in the context of identity politics.
“We have seen this problem before in the extremist politics of the 20th century, among the young people who became anarchists, Bolsheviks, fascists or members of the Baader-Meinhof gang.” It is not specifically tied to radical Islam, he insists.
…The lone gunman is a familiar figure in American mythology. “In American culture you always have the rough-edged loner, the anti- establishment figure which goes all the way back to the silent films and westerns and continues through Humphrey Bogart, James Dean and Marlon Brando,” says Paglia.
In Cho’s case, there were echoes of Taxi Driver, the story of a stalker. The promiscuity that Cho saw in women was “a huge warning sign”, Paglia believes. “You want them, you want the status of being seen with them, you’re driven towards them and at the same time they are contaminated, they are dirty. That’s exactly the mentality of the stalker and assassin played by Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver. There is an apocalyptic impulse to destroy everything and to purify the world.”
In a twist to the debate on masculinity, some commentators have complained that the terrified Virginia Tech students were no Rambos when it came to defending themselves. John Derbyshire, a right-wing British writer based in America, wondered, “Why didn’t anyone rush the guy? Yes, I know it is easy to say these things, but didn’t the heroes of Flight 93 teach us anything?” — a reference to the passengers fighting back in the 9/11 hijacked plane.
The columnist Mark Steyn took up the theme with an essay on the “culture of passivity” that is overtaking America. In his view, students are becoming so infantilised that they have lost their capacity to take responsibility.
“In a horrible world, there may come moments when you have to choose between protecting yourself and others,” he believes. “It is a poor reflection on us that in those critical first seconds where one has to make a decision, only an elderly Holocaust survivor understood instinctively the obligation to act.”
Librescu, 75, forced his body against the door to prevent Cho storming his classroom, gaining time for some of his students to escape. He was shot dead. But there were younger heroes, too, such as Derek O’Dell, who was shot in the arm but managed to wedge his foot in the door and prevent Cho from re-entering the classroom.
Another student, realising that a friend was playing dead, was said to have deliberately drawn Cho’s attention to himself as the gunman searched the room for survivors — and sacrificed his own life.