Friday, May 17, 2013

The beautiful boy and the terrorist

Bloggers, you know this:

Some posts are born of struggle. Some posts you need to drag out of you, even though they fight you tooth and nail, because there’s a schedule you want to abide by. You don’t even care if it is a post you’re especially proud of. (Unless you use the photo-and-quote formula, which is still a post as far as I’m concerned.)

Other posts emerge from your head fully formed because, damn it, you have something to say.

This is one of the latter posts – and it is here even though I am concerned about what will happen to my reputation afterwards.

But my message is clear, and only a careless reader will misunderstand it.

I have noticed this in the past few days. I have noticed others noticing this.

Yes, people are looking at accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and instead of seeing evil or hatred, they see “cute.”

Wait, what is this? The latest example of hybristophilia – being romantically/sexually aroused by criminals – which, I have no doubt, has existed since the days of Jesse James?


Take a look, people:

On the surface, Dzhokhar is an example of the beautiful boy, one of the Sexual Personae that Camille Paglia described in her book of the same name. The beautiful boy exists to be looked upon; he has no identity except what his admirers project onto him.

The beautiful boy has no role but being. He has no ideas, no agency, no motive – unlike actual human beings.

What is my point here?

Well…(shuffling of feet, gathering of courage)

It is OK to think that Dzhokhar is cute. It is OK to notice, and respond to, the beautiful boy.

Neither of those means that you are a sick person, or (figuratively) getting in bed with evil.

But do not let that noticing blind you to the facts.

Life is not always either-or. It can be yes-and.

As in: Yes, Dzhokhar is beautiful. And the evidence is overwhelming that he willingly committed terrible crimes that tore apart lives – crimes that will, most likely, keep him in prison for what remains of his life.

Beautiful boy. Terrorist. Yes-and.

It doesn’t feel comfortable, but that’s the way it is.

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