Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Return of Charles Starkweather

Alta. man, 12-year-old charged in triple murder
MEDICINE HAT -- A 12-year-old girl -- along with her 23-year-old boyfriend -- are charged with the horrific murder of her family.

Which reminded me of the mass murderer Charles Starkweather and his girl friend who did the same thing in the US fifty years ago. Their story was iconic and apocryphal so much so it was made into a bio-pic movie in the seventies with Martin Sheen and later told as Natural Born Killers.

In Jungian terms Charles and his underaged girl friend were archtypes of a specific historical zeigiest of social problems. The y were the result of the decline of rural America and the rise of the new post war metropolitan culture. And Medicine Hat is a rural city.

One's place in American geography was less important than the impact of movies and pop culture. In this case Starkweather, as you can see, thought he was tough guy bad boy James Dean.

These murderous spectres, archetypes of crime become a cultural zeitgeist beyond their historic time and space, indeed beyond geography infecting our culture with later increasing numeric replicants.

Like Jack the Ripper and the later rise of Lust murders, the imitative Yorkshire ripper, etc. Or Fritz Haarmann:the butcher of Berlin who engaged in cannibalism and homosexual pedarsty in Berlin after WWI predating the horrors of Jeffery Dahlmer. Again memorialized in film, first as 'M' and later by Fassbinder.

The rise sociopathic killers begins in the sixties with the likes of the Zodiac killer, who as a cultural trans-historical spectre hover's over his children; mass murders like the Columbine killers.

With the move from rural to urban culture, to the metropol, the deviant becomes the norm, alienation becomes psycho-social, reflected in the increasing psychopathology of daily life and the increasing normative nature of sociopathology. In the sixties psychiatriasts first noticed that unique phenomena amongst certain murderers, a small deviation from the psychopathic norm if you like. One psychiatrist commented that in the sixties he might see one sociopath every couple of years by the eighties he was seening no less than twenty five a year.

These kinds of murderous phenomena are what Reich called the emotional plague of authoritarian patriarchical capitalist society. A continuing psycopathology of daily life that produces these 'sick' individuals. The result of the contradictions between the moral and social values attributed to proper social behaviour and the reality of life under the 'moral facade of the happy family'.

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