Friday, April 20, 2007

This Was What I Was Trying to Articulate

This was what I was wondering about as I thought about Virginia Tech and the emerging hand-wringing about the killer's "disturbing" writing, worrying that there might soon be a call for anyone who writes violent, gory prose (ahem - sounds uncomfortably familiar) to be subjected to greater scrutiny.,,20036014,00.html

I wrote gory, talentless prose in high school; but I never shot anyone. The only people I ever even hit in anger were two friends, who remain my friends today (thanks!). In today's world, if I were a teenager again and writing the same stuff, I'd probably be sent off to at least be observed, probably (over-)medicated. I now write gory prose, with, I hope, some talent, and I think that's where Mr. King raises a good point: if you have talent, you have something to live for, something to accomplish before you go, something positive to give other people (even if it's not always to their taste). You are, in short, part of something bigger than yourself - your community, your nation, your generation, the "art world," whatever. You have a reason to live, which if Cho had had, he wouldn't have wanted to be shot to death Monday. If you are a writer or an artist, then your greatest revenge against the bullies who tormented you in high school would be to produce art that shows what a superior person you are now, while they remain a bunch of hairless apes. But Cho was no writer, and apparently he felt the only shot he had at self-actualization and self-promotion was the 15 minutes of hideous, costly infamy he is getting this week. If all you have is inarticulate rage, putting it down on paper doesn't make it more articulate. And it only makes it more disturbing in the sense that it shows how writing it down doesn't really satisfy you, unfortunately. Because unlike those of us who express some message or art through violent images, and for whom, therefore, the act of putting it on paper is very satisfying, almost ecstatic, someone who has only violent rage to express probably will never be fully satisfied with the verbal expression of it. He will someday want to turn to a real, physical expression of it. And that's where the overwhelming sadness of all this comes: so terribly much talent of all those 32 people, most of them very young, that will never be realized.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home


Triumph of The Walking Dead