Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

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[BRIEF NOTE] A Case of Tragic Stupidity

When the Canadian mass media isn't covering the latest scandal in federal politics, of late it has been revisiting the sorry tale of Karla Homolka, a blonde woman 35 years of age who is most famous for joining with her husband, Paul Bernardo, to become Canada's most famous serial killers. Homolka was lucky enough to sign a sweetheart deal with the Crown for a sentence of twelve years before the discovery of videotapes showing her actively participating in the rapes perpetrated on these three victims and others. She has just finished her sentence, and is now being released to live whatever life she can fashion for herself in Montréal. The Ontario government wants to place limits on her freedom, but she has reportedly already found a boyfriend, Jean-Paul Gerbet, convicted for the murder of his girlfriend in 1998 and set to be released in three years' time. Watch Homolka's own USENET newsgroup, alt.fan.karla-homolka, for more information.

Homolka's former husband, Paul Bernardo, remains in the Kingston Penitentiary. It is very unlikely that he will ever be released, given the severity and number of his crimes. It's fitting that he'll be confined for the rest of his natural life in a narrow and constricted prison cell, since his entire life before his arrest appears to have been founded on the desire to fulfill his every need (sex, power, respect, money). In the immediate aftermath of his arrest and trial, I remember press coverage which highlighted the fact that he owned a copy of the controversial Bret Easton Ellis novel American Psycho. Homolka seems to have been interested in this theme as well: Stephen Williams' Invisible Darkness mentions her fascination with gory crime and horror books, and one 2000 article in The Guardian reports that the copy of American Psycho actually belonged to Karla. I don't think that it would be too much to assume that American Psycho's graphic recounting of the multiple crimes of Patrick Bateman managed to influence them both.

American Psycho was widely criticized at the time for providing Paul--or the Homolkas as a unit--with a blueprint for mass murder. Both Frank Davey's Karla's Web (better, I think, than the eye review has it) and Stephen Williams' tome stress the extent to which they wished to become successful in every possible domain, to become prosperous suburbanites while retaining their secrets to themselves. At first reading, American Psycho does seem to describe this sort of situation, showing the co-existence of Bateman's immense material success and his high social standing with his multiple gratuitous crimes. I first read American Psycho expecting some superficial, gratuitous, and highly unartistic waste of paper. Instead, I found a fairly acute satire of Reagan's 1980s, of a person so deadened by his consumerist desires that not even the most barbaric savageries made him feel like a human being. Nothing that he did ever provoked Bateman into real feeling.

These idiots missed the point of American Psycho entirely.
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