When Deprivation Becomes Deadly
He was a six foot, two inches tall eighth grade boy. He towered over everyone, including our home room teacher. He was like a Great Dane puppy, all size but no coordination.
And he was preternaturally dumb.
Scott was just a big, dumb farm kid. But Scott was not a Smack Himself on the Forehead "I Made a Goof" With a Huge Shit-eating Grin. Scott was a Huge, Mean-spirited Thug Who Got His Rage on at the Very Thought of Being Laughed At.
I recall in one science class, Scott was told to come to the board and write an answer down for the class to see. Whether or not he was already excited or that the nervousness of standing in front of the class got him going, when he stepped up to the front of the room, he was sporting an erection that you could hang a heavy, wet towel on.
Given that we were in the Middle of the Bible Belt Kansas, most kids just looked away, embarrassed by his display. But I laughed. I laughed so hard I thought I would lose sight in my left eye. I laughed so hard at the sight of this ape-like creature with chalk in his hand and a hard-on so obvious and so cartoonishly large for an eighth grader, that I only stopped laughing when his coffee can sized fist pounded into the back of my skull.
Scott didn't care much for me as I was A) the new kid and B) an amazing smart ass. I surmise that he didn't understand many of my jibes at him but the fact that anyone laughed at his expense was enough for him to find me at recess or after school and pound the living shit out of me whenever he got the chance. The beatings only fueled my own sarcastic anger and so the cycle of me making fun of him for not understanding basic history or not getting simple concepts followed by him physically punishing me for my impudence (which, if I had used that word — impudence — he would think I was making fun of him because it was a big word and would likely result in a fat lip) continued.
In my way, I was as reckless and dumb as he was because, aside from my snarky sense of humor, the only thing I had going for me was the ability to take a severe beatdown and still get up to get in the last word. The fact that I could take his bludgeoning and continue to laugh only made his rage hotter.
I found out later, in high school, that Scott, despite his gigantic kumquat of a cockleg, couldn’t get dates. He was just not romantic material. His inability to get the attention of the ladies re-directed that impotent rage away from me (mostly) and onto the feminine gender. The girls in high school were all “sluts and bitches.” As opposed to cat calling females to attract them (still a bizarre and moronic approach to seduction even on the worst days), Scott would make disparaging commentary on their bodies or faces, hair or ass’s, names. If he could figure out a way to insult them, he took every opportunity to do so.
At the time, I just saw him as a big, stupid fuckhole. Turns out, he was an early adopter of what is now being called an “incel.”
“This is not an organized militant group but rather an ideal developed by the so-called “incel” movement — an online community of men united by their inability to convince women to have sex with them. (“Incel” stands for “involuntarily celibate.”)
Some self-identified incels, as they call themselves, have developed an elaborate sociopolitical explanation for their sexual failures, one that centers on the idea that women are shallow, vicious, and only attracted to hyper-muscular men. They see this as a profound injustice against men like them, who suffer an inherent genetic disadvantage through no fault of their own. A small radical fringe believes that violence, especially against women, is an appropriate response — that an “Incel Rebellion” or “Beta [Male] Uprising” will eventually overturn the sexual status quo.”
Once again, the downside to the digital shrinkage of society rears it’s putrid head and, in large part due to the ability to go online and find other jagbots with venomous slants on the Olympiad of Victim Status, allows them to congregate and pump each other up. It’s inevitable that at some point a percentage of them are going to take it too far and do genuine (as opposed to emotional) harm to flesh and blood “Chads” and “Stacys.”
In this absurd version of society where we are all so polarized and are all of us looking for our #MeToo movement to cling to, finding a solution that doesn't smack of either scorched earth vengeance (an approach that pretty consistently just makes the problems worse — Nazis gained power because the rest of the world bankrupted Germany in the name of finding a scapegoat for the first world war) or appeasement (likewise a traditionally stupid move) is difficult.
There is the quote that goes something like “Men fear humiliation, women fear being murdered,” which has the ring of truth to it. Scott and the ensuing Beta [Male] Uprising seem to support it without pause. Current tools of exposure and calling out behavior certainly alert people to the bad actors but tend to fuel the rage.
In order to define a solution, we need to agree upon a goal.
Is the goal to eradicate the behavior or the people? There are too many examples of “no tolerance” punishments that are both injust (a dude with a joint getting hard time is ridiculous) and ineffective when it comes to changing behavior, so that’s out. And, yes, my strident Rage Police on both the Left and Right Extremes, that means your No Tolerance Bullshit sucks AND doesn’t work.
The problem with our tone when it comes to educating people is that we’re too fucking smug to result in anything but resentment. The wave of anti-intellectualism that swept the Right is now rising up on the Left and that has more to do with how morally superior we behave than the substance of the information.
Maybe regulating the internet is a good thing?
I dunno. From my perch atop Middle-Aged White Guy Who Writes a Lot Mountain, I see the problem and I see an inability for our cultural movers and shakers to solve it.
All I know is that, at this point, the scariest motherfucker on the planet looks just like David Himmel and I’m not all that good with this disturbing fact.