Everything You Need For a Narrative

Friday, May 30, 2014


Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who murdered 6 people in Isla Vista, California last week, left an enormous digital footprint - blog comments, YouTube videos and an online manifesto. Bob talks with Forbes staff writer Kashmir Hill about how all that information fed different narratives about what motivated Rodger.


Kashmir Hill

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [11]

Mike from Everett, WA,
Well that's the problem, his diatribe wasn't just about women. And his life wasn't that simple. Jordanowen42 has a youtube film rundown of his life and what he actually said online and in his "diatribe", he was a person who cried that his parents bought his sister a puppy, he cried with rage that he couldn't win the lottery, his problems were far deeper than a problem with women. He stabbed three Asian men to death before anything else, and killed more men than women, what does that actually say? He wanted the approval of women, but he completely disregarded other men as even being people, so the idea that he was just misogynistic is a bit odd. Think about it this way, if he had chosen to shoot his roommrates and stabbed the women, do you not think women and those groups would have read something into that? But he did it the other way around, and there's deafening silence, because in this society, people only read things into whatever is happening if it enables them to conclude its about women being attacked or be made to be victims. Other youtubers like aurini, razorbladekandy2, bane666au have covered this from a "manosphere" perspective, which is lacking in the main stream media, which plays fast and loose with the facts on this case. At least otm hasn't been entirely as biased as the other outlets.

Jun. 13 2014 07:45 AM
Mike from Everett, WA

The guy wrote a 141 page diatribe about how much he hated women and after killing his room mates so he could have room to work, he went after a sorority. I get that the idea of "the truth is always in the middle" is really popular, but if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and tries to shoot up a sorority after spending so much effort talking about how much he hated women and the men who loved them, then maybe we're looking at a duck.

Jun. 03 2014 08:02 PM
Eric Hamell

Let's try and be scientific by doing a thought experiment. Imagine Elliott Rodgers, troubled in the same ways that he was but absent the misogynist websites. What would have happened? He'd be just as frustrated and enraged, and would still end up committing mass murder/suicide. The only difference to be expected would be in the gender breakdown of the victims. But, assuming we value human lives equally this is a morally irrelevant detail.

As a counterexample, consider Sandy Hook. As in a number of other mass killings, there was no ideological motive comprehensible to anyone other than the killer (hatred of six-year-olds?). As mental disturbance was unambiguously the cause of this crime, it would plainly be unparsimonious to insist on an independent cofactor (misogyny) that is as explanatorily superfluous in Isla Vista as it is unavailable in SandyHook.

Jun. 01 2014 10:09 PM

Yikes, I thought Kashmir Fry was doing a vocal fry parody.

Jun. 01 2014 06:16 PM
Ja Ra

All the points of interest made by this story related to a lonely guy who couldn't/didn't know how to make connections with the world. He tried to get answers online but did it through all the wrong channels and his violence resulted.

Jun. 01 2014 03:21 PM

@Maria Garcia -- so you are arguing that "men of color in the Bronx" receive better attention from both health care professionals, and law enforcers than rich white California kids?

Jun. 01 2014 02:35 PM

@anna Was thinking same -- it's like a parallel universe thumbsucker.

Jun. 01 2014 02:27 PM
Anna from NYC

Amazing that there hasn't been one mention of the misogyny and violence in the all-pervasive hip hop culture. Somehow that gets a pass.

Jun. 01 2014 10:49 AM

Hill: "Really, if you came at this with an agenda there was something there for you, and you could attack it from that angle, and I think people are really quick to do that." Amen. That's the most intelligent comment I've heard about this story.

May. 31 2014 11:22 PM
Steve Stockdale from Grants, NM

Bob, you do great work as an interviewer, but as Kashmir was going on about how the "autobiography" (her label) read like a narrative or a script, you really should've mentioned that his father worked in the movie business and "writer" is one of his credits. In any discussion about causation, context and environment have to be considered.

May. 31 2014 01:14 PM
Maria Garcia from New York City

While I liked all the angles you explored on the Elliot Rodger story, I am surprised you did not discuss the issue of class and race. If Rodger had been a man of color in the Bronx, the sad fact is that he might have been in jail long before he shot anybody. Rodger's socio-economic class apparently protected him at school, in social situations, etc. How else can we explain a family of means and education that did not address the mental illness that was so apparent to Rodger's friends and classmates? Whatever drove this young man to do what he did, he did not get that way overnight. The social, racial and economic divide in our country is a worthy aspect of investigating this kind of crime, yet it is never discussed in the media.

May. 31 2014 12:58 PM

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