I read the best articles about the Isla Vista murders so you don’t have to.
I didn’t want to write about the hate-fueled, misogynist murders in Isle Vista. There is plenty written about it already, many of whom said it better than me. Weeding through all the thinkpieces and internet fuckery about it can be frustrating, but because I’m a cyber masochist, I did, and here are the ones I recommend:
“Elliot Rodger is the product of a society that teaches that women are evil and men are entitled“, by Robyn Pennachia at death and taxes. Typically a more snide and sarcastic publications, she often writes more personal pieces that are spot on. This, especially:
Being a woman means that if you aren’t interested in a man who is interested in you, he gets to think you’re a bitch. Think about that for a second–can you imagine a woman thinking a man is a jerk for daring to not like her back? Can you even fathom a woman saying “How dare he not be sexually attracted to me? I’ve been nice!” Would a man who rejected a woman be derided as “shallow?” No, because men are supposed to be shallow. It’s perfectly fine for a man to be shallow. No one would think less of a man for not being interested in a woman he wasn’t sexually attracted to, but it’s a sin for a woman to do the same.
“A Beta Male Journeys Through the Femireich“, by Christian Brown on The Hairpin is a fictionalized, satirical and stylized look at feminist backlash. Not about the shootings, but very timely:
You start at a small scraping sound. Looking around—but carefully, so as not to Male Gaze anyone by mistake and extend your sentence further—you notice that a small trap door has opened in the Bikini Kill concert poster on the wall beside you. You peer closer, and a voice whispers to you within.
Then there’s the Washington Post op-ed (please note that stands for OPINION) by Ann Hornaday, that uses Judd Apatow/Seth Rogen films in speculation about society and pop culture molds expectations for masculinity. This came to light when Rogen and Apatow had a twitter temper tantrum about it. The part in question:
How many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like “Neighbors” and feel, as Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of “sex and fun and pleasure”? How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, “It’s not fair”?
I want to take note of this passage because she literally asks it as a question to ruminate on, in a piece that is an opinion. Also, Judd Apatow literally made the point of his movie that Seth is a schlub and Katherine Heigl was the prize? We are not speculating on that. He literally made that the crux of the movie. That in itself was problematic. Look at your own choices, Apatow. I also think this is a reasonable speculation for a world in which young people cannot escape the messages of pop culture.
As a response, Jessica Goldstein, in “Seth Rogen Is Not A Victim of the Santa Barbara Killings” in Think Progress, writes the most on-target, sharp analysis of pop culture and how it plays a role for all of us:
People in movies can’t have it both ways: either pop culture is totally irrelevant, and therefore the work they do is totally irrelevant, or pop culture does matter, which means they will sometimes have to reckon with the fact that their work can be a force for evil as well as good. If you want people to see Dallas Buyer’s Club and leave with greater empathy for the challenges the LGBT community faces, you have to be prepared that people will see darker movies and leave with darker thoughts, and that even—especially—seemingly innocuous movies can and do have a powerful influence over the way we think, feel, communicate and behave.
Edited to add this piece by Jeopardy champion/comedian Arthur Wu, “Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds“:
We are not the lovable nerdy protagonist who’s lovable because he’s the protagonist. We’re not guaranteed to get laid by the hot chick of our dreams as long as we work hard enough at it. There isn’t a team of writers or a studio audience pulling for us to triumph by “getting the girl” in the end. And when our clever ruses and schemes to “get girls” fail, it’s not because the girls are too stupid or too bitchy or too shallow to play by those unwritten rules we’ve absorbed.
Double mic drop.