April 19th, 2007

Sidekicks

'Face of Evil'

Did you hear that last weekend, Dave Chappelle did a stand-up comedy set that lasted over six hours, without breaks? It beat the previous record of three hours and something minutes by Dane Cook just the week before, but that was in tribute to his father who'd just died and he went up there as a sort of catharsis thing. That makes me feel bad, in a way, for Dane. Not that his record was usurped, but that his dad died. No, I don't know either men - one's a celebrity and one's a celebrity's father - but I find myself empathizing regardless.

Which is in stark contrast to how I feel about those who were killed on the Virginia Tech campus this week. Again, these are people I don't know, and yet to hear about the tragedy I feel nothing. Neither bad nor good.

Of course, the difference here is that because Dane IS a celebrity, and because I've listened to a number of hours of his stand up routine in which he occasionally references and imitates his father, I feel like I know him on some superficial level and with that knowledge comes empathy for the fact that his father died.

The only person who I know on a superficial level involved in the massacre this week is just some South Korean 23 year old who's a really BAD writer.

I mean, seriously, have you SEEN the tapes? Have you listened to what this guy had to say? Can you imagine having a conversation with this rambling obsessive?

Hey Cho, sorry that I couldn't make it to the movie last night. I had TONS of homework and stuff.

You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul, and torched my conscience.

Uhh, yeah, well anyway, my bad. So, what are you doing tonight, you wanna maybe go to a bar, catch the ballgame?

Thanks to you, I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenseless people.

Who's he talking to? I'm ASKING you! Who's he talking to? I want names. I want a list of those who wronged this gentleman. You know how I hate people who write in the abstract like that. Talking to the General You. The You who is Whoever Reads This And Disagrees With Me. It's hackey, it's cliche bullshit, and it simply must stop. I can't imagine what those bullshit plays must've read like, but I bet they were terrible. Killing 32 people is one thing, but making us read your awful writing I just won't stand for!

So, now his pictures are plastered on the front pages of all the newspapers. am New York has the words "FACE OF EVIL" plastered across his chest in bold black letters. He's holding guns, wearing a backwards cap and a vest of some kind with something else clipped to his belt and a menacing look on his face. Kind of like when you ask your four year old cousin to "show us your scary face" while you're holding a camera. I'd be terrified of this man if he wasn't so adorable. There's another picture of him holding a hammer up by his head and his mouth's slightly agape with his teeth clenched, which brings to mind: "Awww, wooks wike SOMEBODY'S cwanky. I think someone needs to take a nappy poo."

The nation - indeed the world - is officially gaga over this Cho Seung-Hui. They're now just calling him "The Killer" as if he'd done something to earn that title. It's hard to believe this is the biggest massacre in our nation's history - maybe it's just the biggest school massacre, I dunno. Anyway, everyone's up in arms. People are outraged, they're hurt, they're feeling sad things for those who died and whose families have to cope, they're sending out "thoughts and prayers", they're holding candlelight vigils, they're telling everyone to avoid an Asian Backlash, they're even donating money.

While they're at it, everyone's also completely consumed with the STORY. They're reading articles, watching the news, waiting for more revelations to be leaked, eating up what all these so-called experts have to say about homicidal depressives, wondering just what kind of mind is capable of doing such a horrendous act. Eventually, a few people will write a few books on the subject and they'll skyrocket to number one on the charts; maybe a TV movie will be made and shown on ABC's Sunday Night Theater - or if interest has waned, it'll be on Lifetime's Movies For Women (with an extraspecial emphasis on his stalking of women and an overall theme of Men Are Pigs).

I don't get it; I never have. Everyone always says, "Oh, it's such a tragedy; oh those poor families; oh what a bad bad man," and yet this is the very subject that everyone's interested in reading, everyone's interested in seeing on the news and watching in the movies. True Crime novels have always and will always be wildly popular; news stories about serial killers will continue to sell more newspapers and magazines than any other; movies and TV shows with guns and violence - tastefully done, of course - will forever delight the masses. So, I'm afraid you can't have it both ways; you can't be all sad and mourning the dead while at the same time transfixed by the act and curious about the actor.

I'm interested, I'm transfixed and curious and consumed, but I don't give a shit about the result. As a character, I'm interested in this guy and what and how he thought. I want to know what was going through his mind in his final days, in his final hours. But, I want to KNOW because I'm a writer and I think it'd help me as an author. Aside from that, on a personal level, I'd like to know where and how he and I differ. What were the circumstances that caused him to diverge from the path of Not Killing People to the one he chose? Considering, of course, that I'm on the path of Not Killing People and I don't plan on leaving that path any time soon. Is it true what they say, do people just snap?

I'm inclined to disagree with that sort of thinking. Sure, there's murder that's a direct result of something traumatic happening - a mugger shoots your wife in the head, perhaps you wouldn't think twice - but when you're getting into the process of premeditated assassination, you know there's more to it than one simple event. One girl turning down a date from one guy isn't going to cause him to go on a killcrazy rampage. But, a lifetime of girls, a lifetime of lonliness, an eternity filled with the feeling of helplessness JUST might make someone want to feel like a person who has authority. A person who has some power. Real power; the power to take a life.

We all tumble through this life needing and lacking something: love, money, happiness, success, companionship, ability, a feeling of worth, confidence; and we all spend that lifetime trying to accrue whatever it is we lack and need. Sometimes, some people just get beaten down and broken so far that the only thing they have left is helplessness. That's when the mind shuts down and is left with its most basic faculties: Things just won't get any better, so I gotta get out now. And in this case, he got out and he took a few people with him. Just to experience that which he'd lacked all his life.

And if he'd SAID it like that, instead of You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today, but you decided to spill my blood, then maybe there wouldn't be the ambiguity and people would KNOW what the hell he was talking about and they'd be just a little less curious as to WHY someone could DO what he DID.

Next time, I want names, or I'm not giving it one iota of my time.
Sidekicks

Fuck It, Sports

There's a whole lotta mediocre stories out there in the world of sports, so I'm gonna tick 'em off one at a time in no particular order.

  • NFL Draft - Can anyone in Seattle remember an NFL draft that was less anticipated? Here, I'll give you the inside scoop: In the first round this year, the Seahawks will draft Deion Branch, 6-year NFL veteran. Overall though, around the NFL, who cares? There's that black quarterback from LSU who the Raiders are gonna take number 1 who'll probably be OK, there's Brady Quinn who everyone hates, who'll be taken too early, who'll bomb so heartily, and there's a fucking STUD wide receiver from Georgia Tech who's bound to be the second coming of Koren Robinson. Big fucking whoop.

  • NBA Draft - The Seattle Supersonics have concluded their worst season in 21 years with a blowout loss at home against the Dallas Mavericks, solidifying their position as the 5th worst franchise of the 2006-2007 season. They have a decent (not great) chance of getting a top 3 pick in this the most stacked of drafts since 1983. Again, who cares? The Sonics will most likely NOT get in the top 3, most likely NOT take someone who's athletic and American, most likely NOT take someone who'll ever contribute to the team in a meaningful way.

  • Seattle Mariners - Felix just got hurt, thumbs are crossed that he'll be fine. Jeff Weaver has obliged all expectations with his atrocious start. Miguel Batista is well on his way to a .500 (or slightly below .500) season. The only guys batting over .300 are Ichiro, Johjima, and someone by the name of Jason Ellison who's 1 for 1. Adrian Beltre has 2 fielding errors (unless you count the two more in that Cleveland Snow Game) to go along with 2 home runs. I'm only optimistic about this season for the Mariners because the AL West is looking fairly weak this year. Nevertheless, it'd be nice to get on a nice run early.

  • NBA Playoffs - So, anyone excited for the playoffs? It's the greatest three thousand weeks of the year! Let me just go on record as saying I fucking HATE the format of having seven games played in the first round. That having been said, it sure would've been nice to have an extra couple games back in 1994 against the Nuggets, or in 1995 against the Lakers in the Tacoma Dome. You know why the 7-game series sucks in general? Because it's pretty irrelevant until the fourth or fifth game, when both teams have a couple wins under their belts. Really, nobody cares until you get down to Game 6 or 7.

  • NBA Eastern Conference - As a sub-note, does the Eastern Conference remind anyone of Middle Eastern Terrorists pitted up against Jack Bauer? Sure, they have a few guns and an agenda, but no one REALLY takes their chances seriously.

  • NBA Playoff Matchups - Detroit/Orlando (yawn); Cleveland/Washington (would've been EPIC had Hibachi not gotten hurt for the season); Toronto/New Jersey (I can't believe the Nets haven't been blown up yet); Miami/Chicago (kinda irritated that it isn't Miami/Cleveland, because the odds aren't good that we'll see that matchup in the Eastern Conference Finals with how good Detroit is); Dallas/Golden State (yeah yeah, it's a nice story, the two coaches having been erstwhile on the same side, but there's no way this series is competative); Phoenix/L.A. Lakers (Kobe might be good for one win, kinda like last year against the Suns); San Antonio/Denver (can George Karl get out of the first round without Frank Brickowski on the roster? I say no); Utah/Houston (ahh, love that old rivalry; my money's on Olajuwon eeking out a win over Stockton/Malone).

  • NBA Playoff Predictions - Detroit over Miami in the second round who'll face Toronto who'll beat Cleveland in THEIR second round matchup. Detroit over Toronto. Dallas over Houston in a HARD fought series; San Antonio over Phoenix, thereby ruining my ultimate fantasy of a Dallas/Phoenix final. Dallas over San Antonio. Dallas over Detroit with Dirk playing a shitty series but getting every single ref call and going to the line 40 times a game just to shut Mark Cuban the fuck up. Whole lotta Texas goin' on.

  • Sonics New Arena - Dead. Fucking Seattle politicians. New York would NEVER let the Knicks leave town. I fucking hate Seattle.

  • Baseball & Basketball - My favorite sport is football, but at best you're looking at 20 games a year. But, I could watch football damn near every night of the week, with any and all teams playing. That's why I kinda wish I was more of a baseball/basketball fan. I could sit around, watch my team play 3-6 times a week depending on sport, be a casual observer and yet sit around eating up stats on a daily basis. Instead, I'm a football guy, which means an intensive small stretch of season with most of the week being hype followed by one giant payoff on Sundays.

  • Finally - 102 more days until the start of Seattle Seahawks Training Camp.