Thursday, April 26, 2007

Time for self-examination

I've been thinking lately about where I am in my life, and what I still have left to work on in myself. My biggest problem has always been knowing how to act around other people. Because of this, I often feel like I haven't lived as much as other people my age. I don't have any stories about crazy things I did with my friends in high school, because I didn't really have any friends in high school. I don't even have that many bad relationship stories, except for one, and even that wasn't really a relationship. I know a lot, but almost all of it is from books. I heard the term "educated virgin" in a song once, and that's exactly what I am. I knew the basic facts and had heard anecdotes about life experiences like love and sex long before I ever experienced them for myself. Since I turned 21, I've tried to make up for my lack of life experience by throwing myself into clubs, casual sex and meeting new acquaintances through old ones. Even with people in my life that could now almost be considered friends, I still don't feel like I can call or email any of them to ask for advice or even to hang out (a lot of people I've met at the club live in Virginia anyway). Even after finding a writing group, we've stopped meeting, and I haven't seen the group of writers that could become compatible friends in weeks.
After a lot of thinking, and a conversation with a friend, I know that my problem is that I'm afraid to take risks, to put myself out there. I can in a superficial sense, going to a club and briefly talking to someone, but I still can't get below that surface to find a true friend. So I took one step, however small: I emailed the members of my writing group to arrange a meeting. To most people, this would be nothing, even standard behavior, but to me its huge, taking the first step without waiting for someone else to approach me.
What I need to do now is really think about what I want out of life, now that I've got my "living experience" out of the way. Through my times at Bound and Entre Nous, and going to college in Boston, I've seen what exciting things life has to offer, but what elements of it do I really want? I probably won't be going out this weekend, because I have so much thinking and self-analysis to do. What is it about the one or two guys I just can't get over that makes me crazy? How do I go about finding friends who are compatible with me and don't make me wonder why everyone in the world is so stupid, the impression I get from most of the people I've met in my life. And most of all, what am I so afraid of?

Monday, April 23, 2007

More on Virginia Tech

I remember one thing about Cho's message. He was 23 years old, but in his video he sounded like a self-pitying adolescent. In A Criminal History of Mankind, Colin Wilson wrote that criminal behavior is essentially childishness: "A criminal is an adult who continues to behave like a child." When I was in middle school and high school, I was relentlessly teased, and I occasionally had thoughts about blowing my classmates' brains out, but I never did. And by the time I hit college, even though I still sometimes felt like I didn't fit in, I had grown out of my homicidal fantasies. The point is, when was Cho planning on growing up? I guess never.
While news wags can go on and on about gun control, supposed "warning signs" and the problems of bullying, this was not a common incident. Kids are bullied all over the country, and it is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with as appropriate, and very few of them end up acting out on a level even close to Cho's massacre. Criminal behavior is a lot like the English language; for every rule, there are several exceptions, and the structure is all but incomprehensible to an outsider without a lot of study and effort.
Onto those who are complaining about oversaturation in the media, and that Cho got exactly what he wanted by being made national news. The press' fascination and fixation with the lowest of society and human behavior has existed as long as the press. Some historians believe that the reason Jack the Ripper has become as notorious as he did is because his crimes coincided with the rise of mass literacy, giving people of all classes the chance to read the gory story. Humans will always have a twisted fascination with the monsters among us: the dual lure and fear of the unknown. Back when public hangings were standard practice, the noose was often cut into pieces after the criminal was dead and sold off to the eager crowd. This is a reality of human behavior, and it's not going to go away. Even if NBC News had chosen not to air Cho's video, with the Internet and resourceful curious people, it probably would have made it out to the public anyway. Technology may change, but the race, in this respect, won't.
On a completely different topic, Boris Yeltsin, former Russian president, supporter of American-style capitalism and world-famous drunk, has died. Finally, a Russian political death that Putin and his league of evil can't take credit for.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Virginia Tech gunman manifesto

Nothing in Cho's "message" to NBC News dissuades me from my initial impression that he was the stereotype of the mass murderer. It's all there: a rough early childhood (he grew up poor with his family in South Korea until they moved to Northern Virginia in search of a better life), a hatred toward the world for unspecified "wrongs" they committed against him, a delusion of grandeur (he compares himself to Jesus Christ) and the images of him putting a gun to his head. This was a deeply disturbed young man bent on destroying himself and whoever was in his path. It's not clear yet whether or not he had specific targets in his rampage. But since he seemed to see all people around him as cruel to him, it's likely that he just wanted to take as many people as he could down with him.
As for whether he could have been stopped, with warning signs such as his blood-drenched writings and threatening e-mails to female classmates, and concerns from acquaintances that he was suicidal, I doubt it. The school could have taken more drastic disciplinary action, even kicked him out of the school, but I think all that would have done was fuel his rage further. There are too many stories of men fired from jobs who come back with guns. Cho had a plan, which he worked on well in advance of April 16, and that plan was a dramatic suicide including the deaths of others. If it hadn't been Virginia Tech, he would have lashed out somewhere else, or in another way. Unless he was in prison, I don't think he could have been stopped. And what is it about hindsight being 20/20? Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine killers (who Cho mentions as "martyrs" in his message), supposedly left all kinds of warning signs that were revealed after the fact. Cho was clearly disturbed, but no one could have predicted that he would have lashed out quite like this.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech shooter identified

Anyone who knows me or regularly reads my blog probably knew that I was going to write about this story. Call me insensitive, but I'm not particularly interested in the grief of the students, the poor security reaction after the first leg of the rampage or, least of all, "President" Bush's reaction, who I'm sure is thankful for an opportunity to show how compassionate he is while continuing to send troops to die in an unnecessary and futile war effort. What I'm interested in is the shooter, his mindset and what set him off. Even now that he has been identified as a student from South Korea, because he was a loner and died during his rampage, we still don't know much about him.
Witnesses also said the shooter looked "determined" and "calm." This was a man who had made up his mind to take his own life and those of others. He had a plan to go out in a hail of gunfire and corpses. Without knowing anything about him, I can't say what set him off (although there are reports that it was an argument with a girlfriend), but the shooting itself followed the classic template set by Charles Whitman (the Texas bell tower shooter, whose spree immediately came to my mind after hearing about Virginia Tech), from the well-prepared stock of ammunition (Whitman, an Eagle Scout, was always prepared) to the shooter turning the gun on himself or shot by law enforcement. And the shooter was an angry loner. As is often the case in this type of crime, the shooter feels the world has wronged him in some way and, with his unstable mind shaken by a troublesome event, like a fight with a girlfriend, it triggers (probably the wrong choice of words here) the rage he feels and sets him off to correct the burdens he feels the world has inflicted on him. And yes, I will be following this story, waiting for more details about the killer to figure out what his trigger could have been.
If I was the paranoid type, I'd think that the press has been saturated with this story to distract from the continuing death toll in the President's dead-end war in Iraq. Same goes with the Don Imus controversy. Again, I run the risk of being called insensitive, and being unqualified to comment because I'm not black, but I fail to see what the big deal is. Don Imus, who is in a field where the participants are practically required to out-outrage each other, probably made the comment solely because it was politically incorrect, and wanted attention. I can't say that for sure, knowing next to nothing about Imus or his radio show. He may have thought that by making a slightly offensive comment, then issuing a simple apology, he could use the controversy to gain a wider audience. It's worked before. But with professional race-baiters Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton hot on his trail, Imus was fired, unjustly in my opinion. Rappers frequently say things that are far more offensive than Imus' "nappy-headed hos" comment. Don Imus probably shouldn't have said what he said, but he never deserved to get fired. Jesse Jackson, as predicted, was on the scene, still showing indignation at a perceived offense that is hypocritical for someone who once called New York City "Hymietown." And Al Sharpton, who takes him seriously at this point? He and other prominent black activists once rallied alongside alleged rape victim Tawana Brawley, who it turned out was making up the whole story. Even from the beginning, there were serious doubts about Brawley's account of her "rape," as former FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood says in his book The Evil That Men Do. But that didn't stop Sharpton and his cohorts from trumping up the story in the press as a testament to the racism in America. Yes, racism still exists in this country, but with the careers and lives of two innocent men all but destroyed by Brawley and her "advisers," this false accusation helped no one.
Moving from the public sphere to my personal life, I had a great weekend. Bound was fun, but could have been better. The awesome bands, like Inertia and Armageddon Dildos, deserved a far bigger crowd than what was there that night. Where is everyone? Again, if I was the paranoid type, I'd think that there was a widespread conspiracy in DC against the goth/fetish community keeping potential patrons from Bound and other clubs in the area. How else to account for the sparse attendance at what should have been one of the biggest Bound events of the year? On a happier note, Todd's birthday bash at Entre Nous on Saturday was a great time for all, especially the guest of honor. Happy Birthday Todd, from all of us in the DC pary underground.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Forced socializing

I had to go to the dentist today. I know everyone hates the dentist, but the questions about what I do and where I went to school were hardly necessary, especially from someone I only see because I absolutely have to, someone whose job it is to jam foreign metal objects into my mouth, and someone who I know really doesn't care about my answers. For most rational people, the fact that I had a very limited response to his inane questions would have been a clue that I wasn't interested in conversation, but this guy seemed to take it as a challenge. People have been doing that to me all my life, trying to draw me out. And unless I see that they're sincerely trying to get to know me because they like me as a person, and not just attempting to open my closed exterior, it's never worked. I'm not suddenly going to turn into a chatterbox just because you ask me a few questions if I have no interest in talking to you. I don't want my dentist to be my friend. I just want them to do their job and leave me alone. I'm only there out of necessity, and I hate it, and the idle chatter does nothing but heighten my resentment, which makes me even more uncomfortable. And I have to go back next week to have a cavity filled. Call me pessimistic, but I doubt that this overly friendly dentist will have learned anything from his previous failed attempts at small talk. Who actually likes being asked personal questions while they're being probed by sharp metal objects?
Now that I've vented about that evil necessity known as the dentist, I can't wait for Bound this Friday. Horror movie night on Friday the 13th. Should be a good one. There are some great bands playing, and I finally get to see DJ Medic in action, since I missed him the last time he came to Bound. You'll probably see me on the dance floor or screaming while bent over or chained and getting a good beating. On Saturday I'll be at Entre Nous to wish Todd a happy birthday. This weekend's events will be the perfect thing to get the taste of intrusive probing out of my mouth.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

In a new place...again

For those of you wondering why I wasn't out and about this past weekend, I was moving to a new apartment, which took too much out of me to want to do anything else at the end of it all. But now that the move is done, I will be coming back out very soon. The awesome new hostess at Entre Nous, Azure, is enough to get me back out.
As much as I'd love to get my new place straightened out and decorated, there is never enough time. I'm always so tired from working all day that I never feel like doing anything that requires any kind of exertion after I get home. And on the weekends all I do is sleep most of the day, and then go out at night, and then begin the whole cycle over again. Sometimes it seems like all I do is work and then recover from working so much, and I rarely get to do anything for myself, like work on the many writing projects I have currently stalled or read the stacks of books I have yet to open. I need this job to be able to afford the new apartment I love, but it just takes so much out of me that sometimes I feel like I'm just working through life instead of enjoying it.
And after last Monday, I don't even have Prison Break to look forward to, until the fall. The season finale was a killer, though. Mr. Kim, ambassador of the sinister Company, got shot by Sara after he cornered Michael and Linc; Kellerman came clean to the courts about his role in the conspiracy, and fulfilled his death wish; and Bellick and T-Bag briefly shared a cell in a Panama jail. Now Michael is also in jail in Panama, after taking the fall for Sara. But I got the feeling that Michael, being Michael, has a plan. And I have to wait for months to figure out what that plan is.