Some people thrive on nothing but hatred. They are dangerous, but kind of sad. Such individuals have nothing of their own, so they lash out at the world willing to tear down what others have constructed for no reason other than such things exist. As Springsteen has Starkweather say in the lyrics of this song, "There's just a meanness in this world". One has to wonder what the difference is in the mindset between someone like Starkweather and someone who thinks throwing acid on the faces of women is justifiable1, or believes that shooting a young girl in the head is okay.2 Except in degree, how is Starkweather different from a man who fantasizes about beating gay men to death in the street3, or whose only regret about a meeting with an enfeebled man is that he didn't punch him in the face?4 And what does it say when someone excuses such people on the grounds that they were polite about their vile viewpoints?5
But there's only so much destruction such people can wreak. Starkweather killed eleven people (not ten, as the song suggests, because the lyrics only talk about the people he killed after he met Caril Ann Fugate). But he was stopped. Those who are racists, sexist, and homophobes are likely finding that the general public doesn't share, and will not put up with, their views. In some cases, greater publicity is shining a light on views previously expressed by some misogynistic homophobes that they would rather not be given wide attention.6 In the end, history shows that the power to destroy is usually temporary and is overcome by the will of the community to build. Starkweather was executed for his crimes. The modern vandals like Beale, Wright, and Torgersen will simply be consigned to the irrelevance they so richly deserve.
1 Theodore Beale on throwing acid in the faces of women who get out of line: "[A] few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability.
2 Theodore Beale on shooting children in the head: "[I]n light of the strong correlation between female education and demographic decline, a purely empirical perspective on Malala Yousafzai, the poster girl for global female education, may indicate that the Taliban’s attempt to silence her was perfectly rational and scientifically justifiable."
3 John C. Wright on beating gay men to death: "In any case, I have never heard of a group of women descended on a lesbian couple and beating them to death with axhandles and tire-irons, but that is the instinctive reaction of men towards fags."
4 John C. Wright relating his thoughts on the time he met Terry Pratchett: "I sat and listened to pure evil being uttered in charming accents accentuated by droll witticism, and I did not stand up, and I did not strike the old man who uttered them across the mouth: and when he departed, everyone stood and gave him an ovation, even though he had done nothing in his life aside from entertain their idle afternoons."
5 Brad Torgersen on how nice Theodore Beale is: "Ted Beale (Vox Day) and I disagree on a lot. We approach the SJW crusade from rather different viewpoints. But Beale’s been a gentleman with me, and I with him."
6 I have said elsewhere that the worst thing that could happen to writers like John C. Wright is that people would actually read their material. Proving that I was correct, Wright has apparently been going back through his blog to scrub off many of the more virulent misogynistic and homophobic comments he has made. This seems to me to only serve to demonstrate that he is, in fact, a coward unwilling to stand by the hateful things he has said in the past. Unfortunately for Wright, Archive Today exists, and many of his vile, poisonous, and spiteful statements have been preserved for the ages.
Previous Musical Monday: Legend of Korra Theme
Bruce Springsteen Musical Monday Home