By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, JULY 27, 2011) — Since we are not running for political office, and since we are not the new clerk magistrate for Central Berkshire District Court, THE PLANET can speak the hidden thoughts not only of ourselves but of others.
With that, isn’t it refreshing and a cause of sun-ray hope — given these times of posturing over the debt ceiling, the pending Mayan doom prophecy, and the will-he/won’the-finish-his-term of Jimmy Ruberto [he will, btw] — to see a job not only well done but well planned and thorough with the follow through.
Bravo to Breivik, the New Picasso
Bravo to Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik for a job well done in sending 92 people, 86 by Gun Expressway and the remainder by Bomb Boulevard, to meet Jesus. As a far-right-wing Christian, I’m sure Brievik had the time signature of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” programmed into the trigger finger.
Most people dismiss murder as the work of two blockheads: the one who kills and the one who gets killed. They would be right in their judgment as it pertains to the overwhelming majority of crimes of passion, greed, and “you cut me off in the passing lane, you #@$%^&.” But don’t let such crimes dispirit you, O my brothers and sisters. Murder can be, when well done though exceedingly rare, an art form every bit as much as a fine Rembrandt, a Beethoven symphony, or a hand-rolled Padilla cigar.
Norway Killings: Portrait of the Artist as a Young ‘Blam!’
THE PLANET takes our inspiration from Thomas De Quincey’s 19th century essay, “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.” De Quincey pointed out that murder, when special, can be likened to Milton in poetry or Michaelangelo in painting. In short, it helps if we can learn to appreciate the fine things in life such as mass murder well done. We should cultivate an ability to enjoy such a heinous disaster as the Norway’s killing aesthetically with the same refinement employed in sipping 28-year-old port.
For example, how Breivik — after police finally arrived after traveling to Norway’s Utoya Island via turtle and amphibious pack mule — calmly put his weapons down and surrendered. That is artistry, my dear friends, far above and beyond the typical bonehead mass murderer’s self-inflicted shot to the head. Let’s also consider Brievik’s choice of target. He selected mostly young people, with their lives still ahead of them. All that unfounded youthful optimism, all that belief in Santa Claus, snuffed out in an instant. Beautiful!
These were children who ended up, as De Quincey might say, wholly dependent upon Brievik’s merciful exertions. The killer’s act of mercy saved these children from decades of work in boring offices, mountains of drudgery in the New Economy, and at least a few months of Lady Gaga.
Moreover, think about the multiples of depthless grief that extend to family, friends, and loved ones of the victims, who have been — courtesy of Brievik’s kindness — spared the expenses of child raising and also the heartbreak later on when the fledglings fly the nest.
‘Severe Good Taste’
We can also marvel at Brievik’s “severe good taste” in carrying out this crime in Norway, a nation 1,100 mies long with 50,000 islands and … one helicopter. This meant the Keystone Norwegian Kops didn’t arrive at the scene for 90 minutes after the Artist began his work. This allowed the finishing touches that might have been left undone with a more prompt reply from the authorities.
When they finally did arrive, the Kops’ boat broke down on the one-minute trip to Utoya Island. They had to be rescued by a civilian and his Evanrude. In what must have been a tribute to the state of Norway’s security, Brievik made the lone security guard — Gus the Fireman — his first island victim.
As all great Artists do, Brievik’s masterpiece “produces the liberation and fun” — yes, fun — “that come from a temporary release of social values.” As De Quincey notes, “Everything in this world has two handles. Murder, for instance, may be laid hold of by its moral handle … and that, I confess, is its weak side; or it may be treated aesthetically … that is, in relation to good taste.”
Of course, the philistines who through ignorance seem to think Brievik did something in poor taste or even bad have desecrated the scene on Utoya Island with their childish memorials. They have littered the site with fake-beauty flowers, poems of wretched quality, impossibly cute teddy bears, and CDs of Justin Bieber. That’s like slashing Picasso’s “Man with Guitar” to ribbons, hammering Michaelangelo’s “David” to pebbles, or burning all the known copies of Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane to ashes.
Victims Acted in Bad Taste by Fleeing
We also have to criticize the poor behavior of the young victims. They panicked. They pretended being dead. They tried to hide in the water. They ran away. These rude behaviors prevented them from a fresh embrace on one of life’s utterly unique experiences. We can only admire Breivik for his stamina, patience, and understanding in the way he took these regrettable actions into account. For example, to those who were pretending to be dead but didn’t look dead, he shot twice in the head. Folks, this indicated the genius of the man and present a fair image of his portrait.
As DeQuincey notes on the often boorish behavior of murder victims, “people will not submit to have their throats cut quietly; they will run, they will kick, they will bite; and, whilst the portrait painter has to complain of too much torpor in his subject, the artist, in our line [that is, the murderer] is generally embarrassed by too much animation.”
A Pause for Posterity
We should also note the great care Brievik left for the rest of us so that we could better understand his murder masterpiece. He left us a 1,500-word manifesto. What is a manifesto? It is a literary opus best weighed for critical analysis on a bathroom scale. Brievik’s document we rather liken to Leonardo Da Vinci leaving for posterity a pamphlet titled, “Why the Mona Lisa is Smiling.”
My friends, we invite your views on this great subject. We also invite you to reject any juvenile feelings of sadness and remorse the Norway massacre may have instilled in you. Choose that these “poker-faced lamentations” of your humble servant, THE PLANET, can bring you to fully appreciate, exploit, understand, and thoroughly enjoy the work of this new 21st century Master.
WITH THAT, WE MOVE ON TO OUR OWN ISLANDS IN THE STREAM.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.