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March 08, 2006

Sex(lessness) And Violence

Provocative essay by Ian Buruma titled "Extremism: The Loser's Revenge."

It's not a crazy idea. Male stalkers are spurred to violence by sexual rejection and fears of sexual inadequacy. Buruma speculates that such sexual stalking and inadeqacy-spurred explosions of violence are now, sadly, part of the broad Islamic culture, not simply a pathology affecting a man here and there.

He speculates further that stalker-syndrome may have been an important part of most violence-worshipping fascist cultures.

Does masturbation lead to suicide bombing? One would think not. There is no more direct link to suicide bombing than there is to blindness or schizophrenia. But there may be a connection between sexual inadequacy or frustration and the pull towards violent extremism.

...

Sexual deprivation may be a factor in the current wave of suicidal violence, unleashed by the Palestinian cause as well as revolutionary Islamism. The tantalising prospect of having one's pick of the loveliest virgins in paradise is deliberately dangled in front of young men trained for violent death. And even those who are not trained to kill and die often live in authoritarian societies in which sex before marriage is strictly forbidden, in which women outside the family home are not only supposed to be untouchable, but invisible. Access to MTV, the internet, DVDs and global advertising reinforces the notion that westerners live in a degenerate garden of sinful delights. This makes the lot of millions of young Arab men even harder to bear, and can provoke a mixture of rage and envy.

Once in a while, this rage will explode in carefully orchestrated orgies of violence. It is said that Mohammed Atta visited a striptease bar before crashing a plane into the Twin Towers. Perhaps he craved one nibble at the forbidden fruit before his earthly extinction. The fact that it was forbidden - repulsive but also terribly seductive - marked his view of women in general. He made it clear in his will that he did not want any women to defile his grave with their presence.

...

The German writer Hans Magnus Enzensberger recently wrote a brilliant essay about "the radical loser", the kind of person, usually a young man, who feels victimised by the entire world, and hates himself as much as the forces that oppress him. These men are walking time bombs. Anything can set them off, a social snub, the loss of a job. And the explosion will usually kill the bomber as well as his enemies. Circumstances dictate to some extent who the enemies are, but the categories tend to be limited. As Enzensberger says, the "usual suspects are foreigners, secret services, communists, Americans, big corporations, politicians, unbelievers. And, almost always, the Jews."

He then links Theo Van Gogh's murderer to his killer's failure to score with presumably easy Dutch girls.

And, along the way, he notes the prominence of homosexuals in fascist movements. Not blaming gays for fascism, of course; just noting how repressed sexuality, or a sexual drive viewed as unclean or wicked, can easily be channeled into violence and a worship of power and cruelty. Sex and violence are elemental urges; it's not hard to imagine they are, when necessary, fungible ones.

The "Radical Loser" essay noted by Buruma can be found here.

Via Andrew Sullivan.

In related news, the FBI has subpoenaed the records of every poster and reader of this site, deeming you all "likely terroristic threats."

Also Related: Academics research women-in-prison films like Chained Heat and determine, once and for all, they're not all that realistic.

Damn. Skinemax has been lying to me all these years.

Thanks to craig.


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posted by Ace at 02:15 PM

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