Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"...he was an avid collector of Archie comics"

Some stories about the University of Oklahoma student, Joel Hinrichs III, who blew himself up outside the football stadium during Saturday's game, mentioned, quoting anonymous sources, that "jihadist literature" was found in his room. Now I don't know if this is true or not, but even assuming that it is, so what? The literature found in the room/home/computer of people in the news strikes me as a variation of and as relevant as the interviews with neighbors who had no idea that Joe Smith was a wife beater/child molestor/concert pianist. In the home of most college students or reasonably well-read adults you will find something that might link them with whoever the bogeyman of the moment is. What gets aired in the news as having been found is probably more of a Rorschach test of the people revealing what is found than it is a reflection of the views of the person the literature belonged to.

If I did something newsworthy (hey, it could happen) and people looked through my home, they might link me with Communists ("The Communist Manifesto"), Nazis ("Mein Kampf"), revolutionaries in general ("The Declaration of Independence), right-wing exremists ("The Turner Diaries"), or religious fanatics ("The Holy Bible"). Or they might just naturally conclude that I'm a pervert. It all comes down to what advances the story they want to write.
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