Serial Killers Are Idiots And You Should Stop Glorifying Them

We deserve better antiheroes, frankly

The release on Netflix of the weirdly oooh-wasn’t-he-such-a-bad-boy Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile in which dreamboat Zac Efron plays Ted Bundy is only the latest in our weird glorification of serial killers.

And sure, drama is drama and the image of the suave, irresistible predator who constantly stays one step ahead of the bumbling authorities is far more attractive than trying to make a show about an unstable loner who kills animals and obsessively masturbates. But that’s closer to the mark.

See, here’s the thing: most serial killers are really, really stupid.

And they’re just as admirable!

They’re not hunters drawing ever closer to their prey. They’re opportunistic weirdos who can’t make human connections. And until relatively recently we weren’t great at catching them, not because they’re so wily but because information technology was so lousy.

Until the nineties the main thing helping serial killers was that information was rarely shared across jurisdictions, which meant that killers who crossed state lines in the US or counties in the UK were more likely to be considered as unconnected crimes rather than part of a pattern.

Also, there’s more reliance on databases and less on yarn.

Successful killers also tended to pick people that society didn’t much care about – sex workers, homeless people and runaways, for example – which often meant that a lot of the policing was less than completely assiduous.

Most murders are opportunistic, and most smart people – even smart people with a psychopathic streak – are aware enough of the chances of being caught, even if they’re not necessarily deterred by the consequences. This, incidentally, is true of almost everything and is why increasing penalties for crimes has barely any effect in decreasing crime, but increasingly police resources does.

Bundy was smarter than the average criminal, but not dramatically so: he flunked out of college and was regularly described as an underachiever. He was bright, but certainly not the genius that Dexter Morgan and Hannibal Lecter supposedly are.

And most of the serial killers that have been studied have had a lot in common: specifically, that they’re violent men with sexual hangups and sub-100 IQs. For example, the most prolific US serial killer: the mysterious Green River Killer, eventually revealed to be Gary Ridgeway (IQ: 82).

Ah, weirdos will counter, but they’re just the ones that get caught. No-one catches the smart ones because they’re super smart and know just when to run off to become… um, lumberjacks, we guess? What the hell was that about?

And heck, maybe. Although there’s no evidence for it, even among the killers caught by pure luck from a routine traffic stop or a random look at nursing home data.

(And this is as good a place as any to mention that about 16 per cent of serial killers are women, but they tend to work differently to men. The ones that go out stalking victims? Men. The ones that give deliberate overdoses in medical facilities or run through a series of elderly spouses? Often women. Just worth mentioning before some MRA starts a #notallserialkillers hashtag.)

Also, there are indeed criminal profilers who work specifically on serial murders, but you know what they don’t do? Give much of a shit about the motivations of the killer, much less engage in deadly games of cat and mouse with them.

They tend to do rather more practical things like map things out and say “OK, the attacks are spread out in this area, which means that the perpetrator is most likely local to this neighbourhood,” before checking local sexual crime records. Turns out that police can’t do much with the information “might have been dumped by a brunette in his teens” but finds stuff like “is likely a shift worker in a job that offers access to a van” to be rather more practical in winnowing down suspects.

That serial killers have pop culture currency as ultimate outsiders who don’t conform to society’s rules rather than violent and stupid sex criminals says something a bit creepy about our culture.

Don’t buy into it. We deserve better anti-heroes.

The Ukrainian Julia Louis Dreyfus Is Set To Be Their Actual President Because 2019 Has Gone Full Black Mirror

Look, seems like a better way than whatever the rest of us are using to choose our leaders.

Yes, it’s April Fools Day and everyone is doing that thing which everyone should really do every day and going “hey, is this eye-catching story actually accurate?”

But let us assure you, dear reader, that GOAT would never prank you with stupid April fools gags. You deserve better. And also, the world’s cooked enough that we’d struggle to think of anything stupid that wasn’t already true.

For example: a country is about to elect a president that’s also a comedian that plays a president on TV.

Not this one, sadly.

Now, in a better world this would mean that Julia Louis Dreyfus was about to be made president of the US as per Veep, or at the very least that Alec Baldwin was taking over for Trump (which… look, it’s not exactly an upgrade) – or, better yet, that Shaun Micallef was going to be our non Ex-PM.

However, in Ukraine actor Volodymyr Zelenskiy has picked up over thirty per cent of the vote and is tipped to become the nation’s real president. And he’s had experience since he’s played the president since 2015 in the comedy series Servant of the People.

As it happens it’s on Netflix in Australia! Is… is this just a stealth promotion for the show? Seems a lot of effort to go to, but fine, we’ll give it a watch.

He’s not alone, mind. The Italian comedian Beppe Grillo started the Five Star Movement political party more or less as a protest in 2010 which rapidly became less of a joke when it abruptly found itself the second most popular party in the country. So you know, it’s a precedent with some heft behind it.

Speaking of J L-D, her reign as president in a better, funnier world is coming to an end with the final series of Veep debuting this very day! How apt.

Anyway: so now actual comedians are becoming world leaders because somehow we’ve ended up on the timeline where we live in a fictional dystopia. Can’t we Quantum Leap back to the real one now, please?

Or this.

Mötley Crüe's Biopic Is A Strong Argument That The Rock Star Lifestyle Sucks

It looks exhausting, frankly.

Eighties hair metal stars and random umlaut enthusiasts Mötley Crüe are the epitome of rock’n’roll decadence, thanks in large part to the gloriously trashy biography The Dirt (written by Neil Strauss, the man who would subsequently ruin dating and hasten the necessity of the #MeToo movement by writing pick-up artist bible The Game).

The Dirt is second only to Anthony Kieidis’ autobiography Scar Tissue as the book owned by dudes that otherwise own zero books and wonderfully confirms that being a rock star is a never ending party of drugs, babes, rock’n’roll and – in the case of guitarist Mick Mars – an increasingly painful spinal condition called ankylosing spondylitis. Yeah! Whooo!

Anyway: the band who reportedly once snorted a line of ants on a dare have now gotten the full biopic treatment with The Dirt on Netflix.

It’s a cartoonishly colourful tale of four plucky young haircuts rising from LA unknowns to rock superstars, followed by the inevitable nightmare descent into booze and drugs, car accidents, porn star-related infidelities and domestic tragedies. And also diseases that fuse your spine together. And ants.

Despite all that drama, it currently boasts a 45 per cent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Then again, it’s not the band were ever exactly critical darlings.

“I’m in a glass case of em… oh, never mind.”

The band retired from live performances in 2015, not least because of Mars’ condition, but anyone inspired to go out there and swig some Jack with an ant chaser might want to check one of their final live performances at that year’s Rock In Rio, at which frontman Vince Neil performed the classic ‘Kickstart My Heart’ as… um, a series of vowel sounds? A tone poem? Having just filled his mouth with bubblegum? Any one of these seem plausible.

In any case, the lesson here is clear: kids, say no to ants. Or, as the song famously goes, “kickstart my heart nya neggle nart”.

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