Sunday, January 9, 2011

Killer's Eyes

     Since learning about yesterday's horrible and tragic violence in Tucson, I've been scouring television, newspaper, radio and internet sources for more information.  

      This morning so far has brought very little that is new to light, but the texts included on Jared Lee Loughner's MySpace page and his YouTube channel writings are now available for viewing and I suggest you check them out if you're so inclined.    Some excerpts follow below.

     Reading through this material, which is quite brief, I can only say that superficially the imagery Loughner uses and the silly ideas he espouses remind me of some pretty crazy, but basically harmless, people I knew a long time ago whose main problems were rooted in indiscipline, self-indulgence and, unfortunately, over-indulgence in drugs and alcohol.  But these were students, or people who until recently had been students, who had nothing but free time on their hands to indulge their Illuminati and other conspiracy theory-rooted fantasies.  Most of them were pretty pleasant and I imagine they've all straightened out since then.

     Obviously, Loughner is a psychotic of currently unknown (to us) landscape and dimensions.  The several  photographs I've seen of him tell me very little.  Mostly they simply remind me of previous instances when I've first seen pictures of madmen murderers and was left more confused than before.  The photos did make me think, however, of the (generally overlooked) Kinks song Killer's Eyes, whose subject was Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish man who shot Pope John Paul II in Rome.  I see a connection there, which I think must be rooted in the contrast between victims who are out performing their "public works" jobs and their killers, who are intensely focused, brutal, twisted and remote minds that seem estranged and impenetrable to outside contact.

     Loughner's words and the imagery he uses also remind me of the movie Inception, which I have been watching with my daughter (who has been explaining it to me; like Loughner's texts, the movie is kind of confusing) over the last couple of days.  Inception is a sophisticated, complicated, very slightly moving piece of entertainment that I think might strongly appeal to a person who is permanently emotionally in pain and out of touch, and as a substitute for real relationships cloaks everything in overelaborate nonsensical "intellectual" language, which is intended to impress rather than genuinely to communicate. 

     What also reminds me of Inception, and especially the scene when the Paris buildings and streets fold in on themselves creating self-referential mirroring and refracting images, has been most of the news reporting and the "social media" reaction to this tragedy, which I have found absolutely disgusting.  

     A political writer I respect wrote this morning:

"I’ve been trying to follow the story today while balancing some other obligations. I’ve been reading the instant-reaction on Twitter and on the web and I’ve been trying to filter out the urge to vent my rage at those who immediately shoe-horned these awful crimes into their ideological prism. There have been some truly disgusting displays of opportunism out there.  If I had my druthers, the news networks would ban political commentators of all stripes for the first 24 hours after these kinds of tragedies. The rush to be wrong first is just too hard for some to resist."

    Mostly, this behavior has emanated from predictable sources on the political left.  I won't name names but what I have seen has been sickening.  However, Geraldo Rivera, slug extraordinaire who is now employed by Fox News, which most people associate with the political right, also got in on the act.   (Fair and balanced:  please note.)

    There's a song I like called Fool After Midnight that begins with a paraphrase of a remark attributed to Abraham Lincoln, that goes: "A wise adviser advised me one day, better keep your mouth shut if you've got nothing to say".  

    People are fond of saying in the face of dire situations, "the republic will survive".  The instant reaction to this horrible incident really makes me wonder about that. 

"The untrained mind shivers with excitement at everything it hears."  (Herakleitos, Fragment 54)

"The stupid are deaf to truth:  they hear, but think that the wisdom of a perception always applies to someone else."  (Herakelitos, Fragment 55.) 

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