No Pithy Title

Friday, April 20, 2007

Perhaps I’m wrong, and it’s not screamingly obvious that broadcasting the footage Cho Seung-hui posted to NBC mere minutes before shooting dozens of his college-mates dead is a little… insensitive… sensationalist… wrong...

The thing is, as soon as I think or type about it being “screamingly obvious” why not to show the footage, myriad reasons why the footage of Cho should be shown flit around the edges of my consciousness. There isn’t an answer; just recursive questions. Does showing the footage mean that he has somehow “won” because he wanted it to be shown? Does showing the footage reveal his motives? Does showing the footage disrespect the dead and their families? Does showing the footage merely satisfy the public’s morbid hunger for schadenfreude, rubbernecking, and celebrity gossip? Does showing the footage make Cho a posthumous celebrity? 24 hours before, Prince William was the most talked-about 20-something in the World. Now it is Cho Seung-hui, and has been for several days.

I don’t think the footage will reveal Cho Seung-hui’s motives for the simple reason that I don’t think most people who have seen it have paid it any attention, and the reason they haven’t paid it any attention is because they’ve been too busy looking for hidden meanings and Freudian slips, poses jacked from Oldboy and references to his isolated childhood. (Speaking of which; where the fuck are his parents? We know they run a dry-cleaning business and are “inconsolable”, but nothing more. This seems odd to me, to almost discount them.) Cho’s motives are clear; he spells them out. Perhaps it did start all over a girl, but that is not all of it. “Your Mercedes is never enough for you.” He hates rich people. He hates privileged students. Perhaps on a meta level he hates capitalism and its mechanisms which encourage an isolationist society, which he feels he is a victim of for whatever reason; maybe because he is psychologically unable to cope with it. Yes, he’s psychotic, perhaps sociopathic. No, no one can condone what he has done. But I think it’s perhaps easier to understand why he has done it than some would suggest. Liking Oldboy did not make him shoot 32 people dead and then turn the gun on himself. Being spurned by a girl did not make him shoot 32 people dead and then turn the gun on himself. A huge multitude of things did. Every hurt and injustice he has ever suffered, real or imagined, or perceived to have been suffered by anyone else or perpetrated by anyone else, made him do it.

George W. Bush has indirectly killed more than 200 people in Iraq this week, simply by insisting on keeping troops there in order to “help”. Had Cho Seung-hui not been able to buy guns over the counter, it is unlikely that he would have been able to shoot the people that he did. Perhaps the university campus should have and could have been shut down (I doubt Exeter could, but then we would never have a plan of action in order to do so, having much less reason for one). Perhaps his mother could have hugged him more.

We watched two films yesterday - Borat and Dot The i. Both are examples of doing things just because you can, to see if you can. Whether we can do something shouldn’t be a concern anymore; we can do anything. Whether we should, and whether we will, are the important bits.


Friday, April 20, 2007


Blogger La Cuoca - 4:48 pm

Very interesting blog. Kiss kiss


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Nick Southall was born in southwest England at the tail end of the 70s, and is the youngest of three brothers. He has a degree in popular culture and philosophy and has written about music for Stylus Magazine, The Guardian and Drowned In Sound, amongst others. He likes red wine, expensive headphones, spicy food, and the Hungarian national football team of the 1950s. His favourite record is the last one he listened to. You can contact him by email via sickmouthy @ gmail dot com should you so wish.

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