10/25/02 Something I’d recommend to

10/25/02

Something I’d recommend to everyone open-minded enough to put up with the crap in this blog is Michael Moore’s film Bowling for Columbine, which is just about the most eviscerating attack on American society I’ve ever seen, and manages to be incredibly funny in the process. It comes at an unbelievably apt time, with the goose-stepping idiocy of the Bush Administration making every New Yorker nervous, and the ultra-sensationalized media accounts of the Washington Sniper(s). But don’t see it because it’s good for you, see it because you will be affected by it in some way. You may not agree with Moore’s heavy-handedness like I do, but the Left needs somebody out there willing to make an oaf of himself in the name of kindness and fairness. And believe me, he easily makes an oaf.

Back in 1990, much fun was made of CNN because they had developed a little “theme song” for Gulf War updates; now, every network has “Showdown: IRAQ” or “Sniper On the Loose” theme music, complete with rotating graphics and a special icon. It’s fucking sickening it’s as though the “movie trailer” aesthetic has completely permeated the news culture. “Bowling for Columbine” essentially blames America’s stunning homicide rate on the culture of fear peddled by news agencies glomming for ratings, the U.S. Government’s thirst for war, and large corporations, who can only sell their useless shit through scaring people. This is why our XM Satellite Radio is so great: the BBC doesn’t have any of that crap. The BBC actually has Story Hour in the middle of the day. We love those guys.

One positive thing to come out of the Washington Sniper(s) brouhaha is the well-documented comeuppance of the so-called “profilers” hired to fill time on the major news networks, almost all of them turning out to be useless hacks. I even made my own D.C. Sniper profile a few days ago just to see how I matched up. Let’s see how I did, shall we?

I said:

“He’s an American citizen, not foreign-born, in his late-30s.”

The truth:

John Mohammad is an American citizen born here, and he is 41, which ain’t too far off. Grade: B+ (points off for not mentioning his accomplice, who is foreign-born and much younger)

I said:

he’s “not Muslim.”

The truth:

He is in fact Muslim, but probably not associated with terrorists (even though he seems to agree with them). Grade: F, for being totally false

I said:

“I think he’s white.”

The truth:

He’s not white. Grade: F

I said:

“He lives in a place that is rural, but he has commuted to work along the I-95 corridor”

The truth:

He grew up in rural Louisiana, then moved to Tacoma and seems to have no extended knowledge of the D.C. corridor. Grade: D+

I said:

“[he was able to practice shooting without] intruders or eyebrows being raised say, one of the smaller towns along the Chesapeake Bay watershed where duck hunting requires patience and accuracy on long-range moving targets”

The truth:

He practiced shooting in his back yard in Tacoma, Washington and plenty of eyebrows were raised. I didn’t realize he’d be such an idiot. Grade: F

I said:

“He’s been trained as a shooter, perhaps in the national guard or in some other militia, but it has been a while since he has been in any unit, and he wasn’t ever in the actual Army.”

The truth:

He was trained as a shooter, earned a marksmanship medal, and it had been a while since he was in any unit. He was, however, in the armed forces several times. I thought an army record would have left too easy a trail, but again, he turns out to not be very smart. Grade: B-minus

I said:

“His agenda is not political, he is neither Democrat or Republican to him, it’s more spiritual (for lack of a better term). He views his relationship with the killings as a game between himself and the rest of the world.”

The truth:

Hard to say, but I think I’ll be borne out on this one. I think his Muslim-ness is nominal here. Grade: A, at least temporarily

I said:

“He’s sane enough to keep down a semi-regular job, probably one that he has recently quit…”

The truth:

Nope. He had been in and out of homeless shelters and seemed to be drifting around the country in a shitty Caprice. Grade: F

I said:

“general craziness skyrocketed after the September 11 attacks… the Sniper is one of those people, living in a world that is so impossibly fucked up… over the last year, his cheese has slipped perilously off his cracker.”

The truth:

He was said to have sympathy for the hijackers, and his personal life was definitely going down the toilet in the last year. His relationship with Lee Malvo probably made things worse. Grade: B (for lack of specificity)

I said:

“he gravitated towards a skill he has always had: marksmanship.”

The truth:

Well, he certainly made the most of his horrifying talent that marksmanship medal is probably the only praise he got in 20 years. Grade: A

I said:

“I don’t think he cares who his victims are, he decides when he finds the location.”

The truth:

Except for the 13-year-old boy he shot, this seems true. Grade: A-minus

I said:

“I think he works alone.”

The truth:

Yeah, right. Grade: F

I said:

“This man is a hunter, his white van is his duck blind, and although he is meticulous, he will make a grievous error in the next three shootings that will bring him down.”

The truth:

The holes carved in the trunk of the car hint at meticulousness, and he made a grievous error in the next shooting (at the time I wrote it) that brought him down: communicating with the police and making demands. And I believe I should get credit for my two mentions of ducks in my profile, given his affinity with the “duck in the noose” fable from the Cherokee canon. Grade: A

So I think overall, I did pretty uselessly bad. About as good as all the other profilers from CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and all the major networks. Perhaps I should tender my resum?

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