Thursday, April 20, 2006

Psychopaths and Lord of the Rings

I was reading about the online trail left by Kevin Underwood, the chap in Oklahoma who murdered his 10 year old neighbour with the apparent intention of eating her. I’m not sure why this particular psychopath has attracted so much media attention. He hasn’t got the body-count or exotic habits that normally bring a twinkle to the eye of a jaundiced hack.



It’s perhaps his very ordinariness and the empty, humdrum nature of his existence that make his story so appealing. His banality has ensured his fame. He did a series of dead-end jobs; he didn’t have any close friends; he was dull and inoffensive.

His online life is pretty similar to most nerdy blokes in their twenties: he bought Lord of Rings DVDs from Amazon and had a blog where he mainly seems to have posted information cut and pasted from news services. His blog will now be one of the most popular on the web, of course.

The interesting thing for me is the way his online expression seems to reinforce the pointlessness of his life. And, in a way, the pointlessness of all our lives. The Lord of the Rings reference interested me, as it’s an epic tale of people (and Hobbits, admittedly) doing great deeds. The most epic deed we can expect to do in our everyday lives is to find a till at Tesco’s that hasn’t got a queue. Is there a yearning for the extraordinary in the consumption of fantasy fare like Lord of the Rings? A search for a meaning beyond consumerism?

It’s tragic for poor Jamie Rose Bolin that Underwood selfishly satisfied his yearning for meaning by killing her. This complete concentration on satisfying his own desires at the expense of a child's life is unforgivable. It is also, perhaps, the ultimate expression of modern capitalist culture, where self-gratification is the holy grail.

1 comment:

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