I worked late last night, so I’m not sure if this post is a full thought or whatnot. Just wanted to get a few things down.
About 7, 8 years ago I wrote a blog series called “Year of the Mask,” later renamed Geek Will Eat Itself” (GWEI). And the launching point of the narrative was 2012 & all attendant pop-cultural & “conspiratorial” things thereof.
It starts with this premise: everybody said that 2012 was going to be the year of the Mayan Apocalypse. But actually, the Apocalypse might have been Sandy Hook.
2012–you know, exactly a decade ago—was a huge flashpoint for mass shootings. Most of the incidents (that I tracked in the series) escapes my immediate recollection at the moment, but the two big ones were the Aurora “Dark Knight” shooting & Sandy Hook. And so in the series, I followed this increasing volume of violence in the United States all the way into the “Boston Bombing” the next year. And used concurrent pop-cultural “landmarks” as the backdrop.
Now, my point wasn’t that the pop-culture was “creating” the violence. No, it was that there was a symbiotic, almost synchronistic relationship between the real-life events & the pop-culture.
To be honest, I really did wonder, at the beginning of this year, whether ten years later these types of patterns would re-emerge. And, unfortunately, it really has.
When a tragedy happens like what just took place in Texas (or Buffalo, take your pick), the first thing that happens—the very first thing—is that all the pundits & politicians have to use the event to push their own individual agendas. They do this—often in a very binary, “all or nothing” way—at the expense of actually trying to truly address & “fix” (attempt to remedy) the issue at hand.
Was gun control or mental health behind what just happened in Texas? The answer is, properly, “bits of all of the above.” It’s not either/or.
One politician was like “the mental health angle is bullshit.” Are you fucking kidding me? You think you’re gonna put in the increased gun control & that’s gonna fix things alone?
Years ago, I worked for a creative think-tank with political backers, and a visiting consultant asked us what were the social topics to focus on. And I said, the increasing apathy/despair/destroyed sense-of-self among young American males. And they dismissed that right off-the-bat.
It’s not “feeling sorry” for these types of mass killers. But it’s addressing a genuine fucking issue. I mean, do you want to lay the groundwork for lasting, real positive change, or not?
But if there is one thing I’ve learned over the past 20 years or so, it’s that it seems to be a primal human instinct to go “all or nothing” for one’s particular “side” or “cause.” It’s not an “evil” (per se). It’s just this basic human default tendency.
Thanks for reading, have a good day, and be safe out there.