I’ve just finished watching a series on the BBC which had the most misleading title since Bobby Davro: Rock With Laughter.
Just as mirth failed to rock anyone within wincing distance of Bobby’s show, so The Assassination of Gianni Versace had little to do with the murdered fashion designer.
It was basically a nine-hour glamorisation of his murderer, serial killer Andrew Cunanan .
The sad, not good-looking, attention-seeking, blood-lusting misfit was played by Darren Criss, the handsome, talented, empathetic star of the hit TV show Glee.
The Versace series effectively endowed star status on a man who brutally took five lives. It elevated a non-entity from being the killer of a celebrity to a celebrity killer.
If Cunanan, an extreme narcissist whose only aim in life was achieving fame, had watched this series he’d have been living out his ultimate wet dream.
Which is why I had this uneasy feeling throughout.
That in some bedsit, another inadequate saddo who couldn’t find a job or form a relationship and blamed his plight on a big, bad world that didn’t understand him, was seeing his own story unfold.
And when it came to the scene, after Versace’s murder, where Cunanan dances around a room howling with delight and swigging champagne as his face appears on every US TV news channel, that bedsit saddo’s mind was made up – it was his destiny to copy Cunanan by forcing the world to give him the recognition he was currently denied.
Then, on Monday, a van was driven onto a Toronto pavement claiming 10 lives , and the man accused of the murders, Alek Minassian, had his smiling face plastered all over our TV screens, as friends described him as a loner who struggled to hold down a relationship.
He’d been inspired, not by Cunanan, but by another misfit who’d achieved fame through a murder spree. Minassian belongs to an online group called Incel, which stands for Involuntary Celibate, a mysogynistic rabble who believe they’re being unfairly denied love and validation by women because they’re unattractive or socially awkward.
And who pledge violence as revenge.
In what is alleged to have been Minassian’s last Facebook post he paid tribute to the group’s hero, woman-hater Elliot Rodger, who had killed six people in a gun rampage near the University of California on his “day of retribution” in 2014.
Who knows, maybe the fame being showered on Minassian is now inspiring a similarly inadequate loser to follow in his path. And on it goes.
As we approach the anniversary of the Manchester terror attack, when 22 innocents were murdered, I only want to hear words about those lovely young people still deeply mourned by their shattered families.
I don’t want to see the face of their killer. I wish we’d never heard his name.
Indeed I wish the world’s major TV and publishing organisations would agree, for an experimental period, to a blanket ban on naming all terrorists, serial killers and mass-murderers.
Referring to them as Just Another Pathetic Non-Entity.
With the internet, it’s impossible for the names not to come out. But a global mass media ban would mean their faces weren’t plastered all over TV screens, their back stories weren’t told in papers, and all focus instead would be on the victims whose lives were stolen in their bid for recognition.
Because if it stopped even one deluded narcissist from killing due to there being no mass fame on offer, the experiment would have been worth it.
And might be made permanent.
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