Friday, June 19, 2015

Monster Centralism

There's a very good English word for Dylann Roof, the Charleston S.C. murderer — "monster". (The word is derived from the Latin "to show", a root of "demonstrate". I think it was meant once upon a time to indicate monsters were God's demonstrations of something, though what God was showing, or differentiating from, I do not claim to know).

Still, why, exactly, has "monster" fallen out of usage?

Because it's not reducible to the detailed legal specifications of "crazy"?

Because "monster" is not listed in the current DSM?

Because the question remains, is Dylann Roof a terrorist monster or some other sort?

Let these definitions be debated as they politically, legally, and psychologically must.

In the meantime, let there be no doubt that:

1) Dylann Roof is nothing less than a monster

2) And that he is a particularly American, gun-toting, racist breed of monster.

But neither American racism, sickeningly persistent as proves to be, nor the sick American friendliness toward guns and their toting, comes close to explaining monstrosity, which is not, at the end of day, a uniquely American phenomenon.

Think of Anders Behring Breivik, the guy who in 2011 in the social-democratically enlightened country of Norway, bombed to death eight of his countrymen in Oslo, before moving on to shoot down as many as he could on the island of Utøya (he got to 69.)


I'm thinking of an American monster, Charlie Manson, as depicted and brought to life in "Aquarius," the ABC, now fully binge-able, series, staring David Duchovny.

I think the show gives a good indication of what a bad trip was like, when Duchovny, an L.A. cop in the sixties (a vet of WW II), is slipped some bad acid, and, beyond that, what an extraordinarily bad trip was Charlie Manson.

Makes me glad my sixties were not in L.A. where somehow it all got even further from any baseline of sanity.

"Aquarius," depicts what I like to call Manson's psychedelic centralism.

He put on the kind of moves current in other areas of the culture — you sleep with men, you sleep with women, you are pure love.

Monster centralism.

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