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whither the great american...

i came across this story during one of my regular perusals of boing boing and it got me to thinking. actually, i'd been thinking about this for a while, but i just never got around to doing the blog post about it. whatever happened to that american institution (not to say that they don't exist elsewhere, but the most (in)famous examples are american), the serial killer.

this actually occurred to me several months ago, while re-watching david fincher's criminally underrated "zodiac". when the heck was the last time you heard about a serial killer? (assuming you don't count the link just mentioned. -ed.)

it used to seem like there were serial killers lurking on every corner. john wayne gacy, ted bundy, henry lee lucas... these monsters were waiting to prey on the unsuspecting, waiting to subject them to unspeakable horrors, before disposing of them in some callous way, leaving families to grieve and a morbid public to wonder who could do such a thing. throughout the 70s, 80s and even part of the 90s, we all lived in fear of the sadistic stranger who wanted to take our lives for no reason other than the fact that he (overwhelmingly, they were male) desired to inflict pain and reel in the power over another.

i had a tangential experience with this when i was living in halifax. when i was in my late teens/ early 20s, there were a series of disappearances of young women who looked a little uncomfortably like me, as a friend once pointed out. some said that those of us claiming a serial killer was on the loose were being paranoid. of course, there are those now who suspect we might have been onto something.

then, all of a sudden,post-jeffrey dahmer, the serial killer faded from view. no longer did we fear the silent predator in the night. oh no. the new fear was the mass murderer, the terrorist, the person who is not content to pick off strangers one by one, but who makes a frightening statement by killing and injuring hundreds, even thousands, at once.

when and why did this shift happen? was it because our fear of seeming like prey as individuals has been replaced by a fear of seeming like a faceless cog in a larger machine? now the monsters who keep us awake at night are the timothy mcveighs, the seemingly endless parade of schoolground killers, the foreign terrorists, who, rather than observing and choosing the individual victim, seeks to kill en masse as many of his kind (they are still overwhelmingly male) as he can.

the serial killer is terrifying to us because he strips away the veneer of humanity we embrace and shows that we can still be the predator, eyes facing forward to allow us to triangulate the distance from our prey all the better, that we are still an animal barely evolved from the jungles that spawned us.

the mass murderer, however, is uniquely human. the capacity to want to destroy not only our prey, but huge groups of people at once is something that only the human being can understand. and perhaps that is what allows them to eclipse the terror of the serial killer.

lonnie david franklin is not merely a slave to baser instincts, likely to spend the remainder of his life rotting in a cell and having people think that because he has access to cable television, he is living a privileged existence. he is an anachronism. and the fact that his case has received so little attention outside of los angeles is evident that we no longer fear the animal that lurks in us. we fear the human that we have become.


as long as you're here, why not read more?

making faces :: soft touch

ah winter, how my lips hate you. it's too bad, really, because the rest of me likes winter, down to about -12 or so. but there's no arguing that i get dried out. nuxe rĂªve de miel is my super best friend at this time of year, even more so than otherwise. [i gave bite's agave lip mask a try only to find out i'm allergic to something in it.] but our [still] new apartment is somewhat drier than the old one [electric vs hot water heating], which meant that, for a long stretch, virtually every kind of lipstick was uncomfortable. the horror. [i wrote a post a while back about the formulas that are friendliest to chapped lips.]

faced with this dilemma, i decided to try something not exactly new, but [for me], out of the ordinary: being a gloss girl. now, i don't mind glosses. i buy them from time to time, and i used to buy more until i discovered that i just wasn't using them near enough to justify the continued purchases. my issues with glosses are that they feather…


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: a lip for all seasons [summer edition]

this may seem like an odd time to think about summer, but not to think about coolness. it can be hard to wrap your head around the idea that summer is considered "cool" in colour analysis terms and, in my opinion, reads as the coolest of the cool, because everything in it is touched with the same chilly grey. winter may have the coldest colours, but its palette is so vivid that it distracts the eye. everything in summer is fresh and misty, like the morning sky before the sun breaks through. in my original post on the season, i compared it to monet's paintings of waterlilies at his garden in giverny and, if i do say so, i think that's an apt characterisation.

finding lip colours touched with summer grey and blue is, as you might expect, kind of tricky. the cosmetic world seems obsessed with bringing warmth, which doesn't recognise that some complexions don't support it well. [also, different complexions support different kinds of warmth, but that's another…