Discussion: WaPo Critic: I Wasn't Casting Blame On Movies For UCSB Shooter's Actions

Discussion for article #223216

In the video, Hornaday explained that the troubling YouTube rant that Rodger, himself the son of a filmmaker, had left behind fell under her purview as a film critic.

I can’t wait for her review of “Hamster eats tiny burritos”.

Seriously, YouTube videos fall under her purview? Well there are a lot of videos for her to review.


“I was by no means”, she continued “trying to imply that we as a society take responsibility for these shootings, when clearly it is the fault of Hollywood elites.”


“In singling out ‘Neighbors’ and Judd Apatow, I by no means meant to cast blame on those movies or Judd Apatow’s work for this heinous action — obviously not,”

??? Incomprehensible, No? … oh so you singled them out so as to NOT cast blame upon them?


…but now we’re talking about this instead of that. So, you know, mission accomplished. The NRA check is in the mail.


Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic had a good piece about how this incident highlights the broader issue of women navigating a world where angry, potentially violent men are not that rare. This critic’s standard-issue pomobabble seems a lot less relevant. The killer has gone where we can’t question him but I can’t imagine that a typical Apatow film or the entertainment industry generally were big factors in pushing him to kill. Let’s keep our eye on the ball: He was an unstable, rage-filled young man in a society where buying guns is trivially easy.


Seems if you want to blame any “media” it is the he-man woman haters clubs that have sprung up around this idea of being a pick-up artist. And that media is simply internet forums for run-of-the-mill aholes to rate women’s looks on a scale of 1-10 and swap tips on how to trick them into having sex. Just like we are the change we’ve been waiting for, we are the aholes we’ve been looking for. Stop raising a**holes people!

Yeah right. If she hadn’t meant to blame them, she shouldn’t have named them.

How about placing the blame where it truly lies?

This cultural concept of male entitlement stems as much from patriarchical Christianity as from anything else. Pat Robertson said the other day that a wife “owes her husband sex” if he does the dishes.

The “frat-boy” mentality is just this societal meme writ large.

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Thanks for that. So true. I think it is really easy to blame “media” because it takes the pressure off of where the blame really lies.

She was in fact trying to make a statement about male entitlement and how men run the film industry thereby too often presenting male fantasies about women. The men she cited are in that world, but by linking it to the Santa Barbara tragedy she was never going to break through. They’re thinking, who me, I’m just trying to make people laugh.

It’s easy to dismiss this guy as an unstable hater, but I’ve read quite a bit of his epic autobiography/manifesto, and it’s really not as simple as that. Because this isn’t a case of some guy going off the deep-end suddenly and doing this. He had been planning this for YEARS, hoping it wouldn’t be necessary; but knowing he’d do it if his life got hopeless enough. He truly felt he had no real talent in life (something I suspect he was right about), so short of winning the lottery (which he played regularly), he felt his only other option was to take out as many people as possible before he went out because he hated us all and was angry that anyone could have anything he couldn’t have.

His real problem was that he was mildly autistic and never understood why he didn’t fit in with other people. Moreover, he was always given everything he wanted, except the one thing his parents couldn’t buy him: The admiration of other guys. Yes, I know that’s cliche, but I’ve read everything so far from the ages 13-19, and he was literally given everything he wanted. But that wasn’t good enough, because he was filled with epic-levels of envy that anyone could have anything that he couldn’t have. He states this repeatedly. It’s not just girls. He was angry that anyone could do anything better than him, and would give up doing anything if he found out someone else was better than he was.

Everyone is obsessing over what he said about girls, but what really angered him was seeing couples together. Or in fact ANY guy with attractive girls, as he always assumed that this always meant they were having sex. But it was the guys he was upset about, as they had something he couldn’t have. Yes, he wanted to have sex. But only because he saw it as a status symbol and believed that the reason other guys treated him badly was because he couldn’t attract girls. And he was mad at girls about this, because they were “irrationally” denying him the ability to impress other guys; whom he considered to be inferior to him. We were all animals to him, but it was only the guys he wanted to impress.

Thus said, blame does lie with those websites that teach that women are objects, but he felt that way long before he joined such sites. Moreover, people obsess on how women “rejected” him, but I’m not sure if he ever even TRIED to get a girl (I haven’t gotten to his college years yet, but throughout his teens he rarely even spoke any words to any females besides his family). To him, being rejected meant girls didn’t throw themselves at him, which is how he thought it worked; because he’s autistic and didn’t understand human interactions at all. To him, girls just irrationally picked guys to be with and he couldn’t comprehend how it worked otherwise.

And really, the whole thing is sad all around. If he had been properly diagnosed as autistic, he could have understood better why he was different from other people. Because that’s what the real problem was. He didn’t hate women because they denied him. He hated the human race because he didn’t belong to it and couldn’t understand why. And if all anyone thinks about him is what he said about women, you’re not even getting half the picture. He hated us all, particularly any guy that had anything he couldn’t have. He was given almost everything he wanted in life, and it frustrated him to no end that he couldn’t have everything.

His ideal plan was for girls to go away forever, so he wouldn’t be judged harshly for not getting one. But short of that, he wanted to kill everyone to show how powerful he truly was, because he had no other way of showing power. Without a gun, he felt he was just a shy wimp with no skills and no respect; because he never understood life beyond that. The whole thing is sad from start to finish.

One thing I find fascinating about his autobiography is how it totally comes off like a work of fiction. Like someone’s attempt at a modern Catcher in the Rye, and you totally expect for it to end with him realizing that he was his own biggest enemy and the root cause of his own problems. Because everything you need to understand him is right there, and it’s all fairly lucid for a guy caught in a warped world view. And I have to keep reminding myself: That’s not how this ends.

So she wasn’t blaming them when she mentioned them by name in a piece on the ramblings of a psychotic mass-murderer.
She was just REVIEWING the ramblings of a psychotic mass murderer.
Well, I’m sure glad she cleared that up, and I hope she enjoyed her buttered popcorn while she watched the ramblings of a psychotic mass murderer.

Which male fantasies are you talking about? You mean the one about the forty year old virgin who finally meets an age appropriate divorced woman that he doesn’t have sex with until they get married? I know that’s my big fantasy. Or how about the one about the stoner who knocks a woman up and eventually learns to be a responsible adult? Or how about the one about the couple who has a frat house move in next door, which is a bad thing because they don’t like wild parties? Is that the fantasy life you’re referring to?

And yes, perhaps it is a problem that there aren’t more women filmmakers. But is that the fault of Judd Apatow or Seth Rogen? Should they just stop making movies until this situation is fixed? Moreover, I think it’s a bit simplistic to dismiss their movies as male fantasies when I haven’t seen a single one of their films that I’d want to be the main character in. Those might be someone’s fantasies, but they sure aren’t mine.

In fact, now that I think about it, I’m not sure if Apatow isn’t inadvertently making female fantasy movies. Like the one about the divorced mother who typically falls for jerks, yet falls in love with a great guy who’s only character flaw is that he hadn’t had sex with a woman before. Or the one about the career woman who stupidly gets knocked up by a random stranger who turns out to be a total loser, but who cleans up his act and becomes a great husband and father…and getting pregnant actually helps her career. There’s your fantasy for you.

In real life, both these women would have finally given up on these manchildren, as you can’t change a zebra’s stripes. Only in movies do we get character arc redemptions where the grownup zero becomes the hero.