Why young men become shooters

These relative statuses, for the losers, are all the more painful for being nothing other than a reflection of who and what they actually are. “Individuality” is wonderful when your true self is a tall and handsome swimmer with an unexpected love of classical cello, or a beautiful girl who likes to go backpacking with her friends. But who, really, is someone like Salvador Ramos, an odd-looking boy who disturbs nearly everyone he talks to, whose hobbies include shooting people with BB guns and throwing dead cats at strangers’ houses? Does anyone, really, want someone like that to be himself? I doubt it.

In his novel Whatever, in which he first advances his idea that sexual liberalism is a system of social hierarchy no less cruel than economic liberalism — now a cornerstone of “incel” ideology — Michel Houellebecq introduces us to the character of Raphael Tisserand, a man so stupendously ugly that despite his good salary and desperate efforts, he is still a virgin at 28. One evening, after Tisserand has spent hours at a club trying to charm a young women only to see her depart with a handsome black man, Houellebecq’s narrator offers Tisserand a knife and urges him to use it on the couple. “When you feel these women trembling at the end of your knife, and begging for their young lives, then you will truly be the master,” he says. But, after following the pair to the beach, Tisserand is unable to follow through on the murder and decides to drive back to Paris. He dies in a car crash that night.

Our society seems to have its own generation of Tisserands. The problem, in America, is that ours have guns.

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