Jazzercise, Sexual Angst & Postal Rage

I don’t normally take interest in exploitative, Nancy Grace-ish death operas, but The Exiled’s Chief Marxist, Mark Ames, offers an excellent analysis of Tuesday’s jazzercize spree-killing/suicide in Pittsburgh.

[Shooter George] Sodini’s pain isn’t limited to his unfluffed genitalia. He understood that his sexual failure and anomie were part of a larger injustice and rigidity built into the current American narrative, a miserable narrative for most white males over the age of 25. The media has so far totally ignored how America’s economic Hell added to Sodini’s breakdown, but the media routinely ignores the role Reaganomics has played in the “going postal” rage murders since the mid-80s. Sodini knew how bad and tenuous his situation was, and he wrote about it.

And:

What the media has focused on instead is Sodini’s anti-Obama, anti-liberal racist entry, as if this was the motive rather than the symptom … Sodini was more nuanced in his desperation than something as easily-defined as racism … he understood that he was victim to something far deeper and more profound, and that he had more in common with blacks of his predicament than the rich white FoxNews hosts or the corporate backers of the Tea Party movement.

Ames, a co-founder of the recently Putinized The eXile, briefly lived in Louisville to conduct research into the 1989 Standard Gravure shooting, which informed his nifty pamphlet on mass murders, “Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion — From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond” and stands as an essential primer for understanding this kind of regularly occurring American pastime.

7 Comments

  1. Kathryn
    Posted August 7, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Are you fucking kidding me?

  2. jmeador
    Posted August 7, 2009 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Yes?

  3. Kathryn
    Posted August 7, 2009 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    please?

  4. Kathryn
    Posted August 7, 2009 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    The guy was mentally ill, racist, and misogynist. His actions only make any sort of sense in the context of his head. What he did was largely based on his sense of entitlement to women’s bodies as a white male. I think that it is incredible for someone to try and pin this HATE CRIME against women on the economic and cultural woes of the most privileged group, the “miserable narrative for most white males over the age of 25″ in America. Please. I recognize that there are some socialized masculinity issues at play here. But when someone talks about women the way he does, describes beautiful ones as “inhuman” and “edible”, they are an extreme symptom of a culture that objectifies women.

    Economically, if you’ve read his whole blog, he is concerned at the beginning that he may eventually get laid off, but in the days before the killings he mentions that he in fact was promoted and given a raise. He also seems to have pretty limited understanding of politics in general. so I get the feeling that unless Ames was his personal friend and knows something the rest of us don’t, he is reaching.

    I guess I fail to see how another mass murder that targeted women should be used as an occasion to wring out hands over the plight of white men. and if you were being tongue-in-cheek about posting this, you weren’t tongue-in-cheek enough

  5. jmeador
    Posted August 7, 2009 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Ames may be reaching a bit, but he’s correct in his assertion that Sodini’s misogyny, racism and mental illness are all symptoms of being a pissed-off white male (which is a very real, very uneducated and statistically very violent demographic) in late-capitalist American society. Living in a culture that generates unattainable standards of “happiness” and a consumer-based approach to achieving those standards will fuck with your head, your soul and maybe your trigger-finger.

    So perhaps Sodini’s head wasn’t screwed on as tightly as others’ (or so we’d all like to believe) and he reached a dumb and deadly conclusion. Maybe he did it because things like empathy and compassion always lose out to the alienation inherent in our beige-tinted American way of life, wherein Prozac and penis-pumps are sold as legitimate answers to “life’s problems.” Maybe it’s because his brother beat the shit out of him when he was growing up. Or maybe bad things just happen and crazy people do crazy things.

    But the fact that you refer to him as just “another mass murder” illustrates how commonplace this act (i.e. spree killing) is in America, and how quick we are to deny humanity to these boogeymen: We’re the most murderous, unhappy and unhealthy of virtually all industrialized Western nations. Do you think these regularly occurring acts of violence happen in a vacuum? As fucked up and as wrong and as evil as he may well be, I think it’s naive and dangerous to look at a Sodini, or a Carneal, or a Cho, or a Klebold, or a Wesbecker, as mere one-dimensional monsters instead of real people who reacted violently to the world in which they live(d).

    Except for a few, the vast majority of Americans are set up to fight one another so as to claw their way to the top. The only problem? If all you’re doing is climbing to the top of a giant pile of shit, then what else matters? It’s rather easy these days to feel like you’ve run out of rope,and murder is always advertised as a romantic solution.

    And while it is technically a “HATE CRIME,” I think we’d be missing a larger point if that’s all we let it be. Whether you believe it or not, there is “a miserable narrative for most white males over 25,” just as there are miserable narratives for every body, regardless of race. We’re a nation of insecure, scared and increasingly ignorant people. The fact that there aren’t more Sodinis, frankly, surprises me.

  6. Kathryn
    Posted August 7, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    you’re totally right I totally just insinuated that the crime occurred in a vacuum.

    Also, women totally don’t live in a culture that generates unattainable standards of “happiness” and a consumer-based approach to achieving those standards will fuck with your head, your soul and maybe your trigger-finger. That’s why they don’t feel entitled to murder various other demographics. Because of their privilege.

    You should come out later and actually have a conversation about this.

  7. jrae
    Posted August 8, 2009 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Cowardice and narcissism seem to be a part of these jerk-wads who vent thier inequities on others,at the ultimate cost to often times total strangers.I ain’t sayin life’s easy, but take the same dude,same cicumstances, inject empathy,and this wouldn’t happen.It’s the all-about-me mentality that drives these assholes-too bad the rest of that aerobics class didn’t have time to beat the shit out of hom before the wussy killed himself.

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