Saturday, February 03, 2018

Elliot Rodger's "manifesto" gets into one idea we don't want to talk about: the "right" to "reject" others for intimate relationships based on our own stereotypes (even racial)

Once in a while I do look at “inappropriate books” or manuscripts that purport to become books.

Occasionally perpetrators of mass murder events have left “manifestos” to be found, as if they were “on high” judging humanity.  As a “rotten apple”, no commercial publisher, even a self-publishing company, could list something like this today.

One of the most notorious would be Elliot Rodger’s piece “MyTwisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger” which came to light on the Internet after his 2014 killing spree in Isla Vista, California.  Yup, his name is in the "book title."
It’s well over 100,000 words and most of it, at a quick perusal, appears to be like a detailed diary.  It would be emailed (unsolicited to be sure) to up to 34 people.  It’s hard to fathom someone would recall so much meticulous personal detail with such resentment.

There seems to be no particular comprehensive philosophy, other than the hatred of women (because they always rejected him) or misogyny,  expressed at the end, as he plans his “Day of Retribution”.  But what is most disturbing should be taken note of.  He seems to imply he was “rejected” because he was half-Asian.  Maybe it would be OK to be 100% Asian and in a different, segregated world. But he had to compete with the “white boys” to be desirable (at least to white women). (The manuscript suggests he was jealous of whites with blond hair.) That has rather profound moral implications.  We’re used to the idea that we can be attracted to anyone we want and “reject” anyone else privately.  But in the past few years, private choice has become public and mixed with ideas of discrimination.  I get this all the time when I go to discos and people whom I don’t want challenge me to dance with them and then question me why not.  Milo Yiannopoulos has written about this.

In some ways. Rodger seems like a straight version of Andrew Cunanan.
In any case, having written a “manifesto” seems to get a bad wrap. My own first DADT book (1997) was called “The Manifesto” but talks about real policy problems through a personal lens.

Her’s a Reason article by Cathy Young..  Here is the Asian American Defense Fund piece on the text.

Update: April 25

The Alek Manassian attack in Toronto on April 23 is related to the Incel issue and the suspect said in a social media post that he was "inspired" by Rodger.  Here is the explanation on Vox, by Zach Beauchamp.   CNN has an even more disturbing account by Gianluca Mezzofiore here.  The Toronto Star has a detailed report, which notes that there have been calls to ban a subreddit by a group of "incels", but which also questions the authenticity of Facbook posts attributed to Manassian.

Update: June 20

Sady Doyle in Medium writes about "The Deadly Incel Culture's Absurd Pop Culture Roots", here

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