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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Archive for the day “December 15, 2012”

Missing Narratives?

In connection with the Newport, CT massacre, I’m wondering why we still haven’t seen the “video games are to blame” and “male immaturity is to blame” narratives. I think they will still crop up, though.

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The Shooting in Connecticut

It is next to impossible to find out what really happened because instead of communicating the news and describing the events, people keep delivering pre-fabricated narratives where the names of actual participants and places only serve to create an erroneous impression that what is being discussed is related to what really happened.

Here are some of the pre-fabricated narratives that are being rolled out under the pretext of the CT mass shooting:

1. An idyllic place in CT with a low crime rate and a tight-knit community is plucked out of its innocence by a tragedy. I’m away from a computer right now, so I can’t provide links. If you need, though, I can give you half a dozen links to major media outlets that push this version of the story. I don’t know what the story’s creators are smoking but it is so ridiculous that there has got to be some medication involved. I lived in CT for years and it’s an economically devastated, extraordinarily ugly, hopelessly crime-ridden place that is depressing and tragic. Out of all the US states that I lived in or visited, Connecticut is by far the worst. I have no idea what made it this way but it is what it is.

Of course, I’m not saying this because I think the hopelessness of the state somehow made the shooter kill his victims. You understand that, right? What I’m saying is that the cheesy “trouble in paradise” narrative that is being created around these events makes me want to vomit.

2. Autistics are creepy and unpredictable. And even non-autistics who happen to be unsociable and shy are also a mass murderer waiting to happen. Adopting this narrative allows people to feel self-righteous and vindicated. “I’m good, I’m not a mass murderer or one of those crazy autistics.” It isn’t that hard to find people with worse social skills than you do, which is why dumping on autistics (who get unfairly equated with bad sociability) allows anybody to feel better about oneself for no real reason.

3. And, of course, there are the “gun whisperers” who are delighted of yet another opportunity to engage in the “guns-good-guns-bad” debate. Both sides of this debate like to inflict their phallic obsession on the world whenever they can, so I expect a major flare-up of activity from them in the coming weeks.

I have only been able to look at about a dozen articles on this subject but I have no doubt that more narratives will emerge over time. Of course, it is absolutely normal and very human to see everything in terms of a story, a neatly packaged, well-plotted narrative that has no loose ends and that answers all questions. I just wish that the stock of stories we operate with expanded a little bit.

Status Update

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I’m too exhausted to post anything but this photo of a gift a student gave me. It’s a snowman made of little jars filled with the ingredients needed to make cocoa. How cute is this? Achievement of the day: final grades calculated and submitted. Disappointment of the day: feeling too weak and sick to attend the departmental party at my favorite restaurant. The #1 enemy of the day: people pleasers who create too much hustle and bustle in their attempt to make everybody happy and who end up causing only trouble and annoyance. Tomorrow I have to be at work, too, by the way. And then I will probably just drop dead.

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