Sunday, May 20, 2018


The L.A. Times reports that Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who's confessed to Friday's school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, targeted a fellow student who'd rejected his advances.
One of Pagourtzis' classmates who died in the attack, Shana Fisher, "had 4 months of problems from this boy," her mother, Sadie Rodriguez, wrote in a private message to the Los Angeles Times on Facebook. "He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no."

Pagourtzis continued to get more aggressive, and she finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, Rodriguez said. "A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn't like," she wrote. "Shana being the first one." Rodriguez didn't say how she knew her daughter was the first victim.
Most of the online responses I've seen to this story express disgust at Pagourtzis for believing he was entitled to respond to rejection this way. But the Times's framing of the story has also been criticized.

The school shooting happened shortly after New York Times published a profile of the pseudointellectual self-help guru Jordan Peterson, who rails against those who (in his view) pursue "equality of outcomes" -- except when the outcomes involve male access to sex. In such cases, Peterson prefers "equality of outcomes." Peterson was asked about this shortly after a self-proclaimed "involuntary celibate," Alex Minassian, killed ten people in Toronto.
Violent attacks are what happens when men do not have partners, Mr. Peterson says, and society needs to work to make sure those men are married.

“He was angry at God because women were rejecting him,” Mr. Peterson says of the Toronto killer. “The cure for that is enforced monogamy. That’s actually why monogamy emerges.”

... But aside from interventions that would redistribute sex, Mr. Peterson is staunchly against what he calls “equality of outcomes,” or efforts to equalize society. He usually calls them pathological or evil.

He agrees that this is inconsistent. But preventing hordes of single men from violence, he believes, is necessary for the stability of society. Enforced monogamy helps neutralize that.

In situations where there is too much mate choice, “a small percentage of the guys have hyper-access to women, and so they don’t form relationships with women,” he said. “And the women hate that.”
Peterson has developed a large following among young conservative-leaners, especially young men. So can we combine these two stories and expect the right to blame the Santa Fe shooting on a teenage girl who said no to the shooter?

So far, I don't see that happening, at least among mainstream wingnuts.

The new NRA president, Ollie North, is playing the old hits:
Two days after a 17-year-old opened fire in his Texas high school, killing at least 10, incoming National Rifle Association president Oliver North said students “shouldn’t have to be afraid” to go to school and blamed the problem on “a culture of violence” in which many young boys have “been on Ritalin” since early childhood.
As was the lieutenant governor of Texas:
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blamed what he deemed the social acceptance of abortion and violent video games for the epidemic of school gun violence.

“Should we be surprised in this nation? We have devalued life, whether it’s through abortion, whether it’s the breakup of families or violent movies and particularly violent video games, which now outsell music and music,” he said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “Psychologists and psychiatrists will tell you that students are desensitized to violence and have lost empathy to their victims by watching hours and hours of violent video games.”
And the townspeople in Santa Fe seem to like the oldies, too:
Most residents here didn’t blame any gun for the tragedy down the street. Many of them pointed to a lack of religion in schools.

“It’s not the guns. It’s the people. It’s a heart problem,” said Sarah Tassin, 61. “We need to bring God back into the schools.”
These folks have so many go-to scapegoats for gun violence that it's going to be hard for Peterson's idea to break through -- especially because the classics target so many groups right-wingers already hate. Blame secularism? Damn liberals took God out of the schools. Blame movies and video games? Liberals control the entertainment industry. Blame abortion? Liberals, liberals, liberals.

But won't misogynist right-wingers be eager to blame women and girls? Aren't liberals responsible for the sexual revolution? And feminism?

I know -- but if the solution is "enforced monogamy," I don't think the average right-winger is going to buy it.

I know that righties are supposed to be believers in "traditional values" -- but you see how much they admire Donald Trump, don't you? They like sex, including that's not at all consistent with "traditional values." There are just as many strip clubs in red America as in blue America -- maybe more. There's just as much interest in porn. Red America really likes skimpily dressed cheerleaders and the Fox News leg-cam. And country music is full of non-marital sex.

Red America's utter indifference to Donald Trump's sexual predation makes clear that rank-and-file conservatives have no problem if "a small percentage of the guys have hyper-access to women," even if those guys are brutish toward those women, or cheat on their wives with them -- as long as the guys with "hyper-access" are guys they like, namely conservatives with money and power (whom they can imagine they might emulate someday, the same way they imagine they might someday be as rich and gilt-splashed as Trump). Their feelings about rich and powerful men's success with women probably mirror their feelings about economic inequality: If you lose, it's because you're a loser. You deserve it.

The alt-right/incel/Jordan Peterson culture might eventually take over conservatism. But for now, the old ideas still seem to rule.

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