I just wanted to thank Dan Savage for writing such a pointed and honest piece about the Columbine tragedy [May 14]. Over the past month, we have all been inundated with the blatherings of Hollywood moguls, the saccharine platitudes of senators, the cold, reptilian disavowals of responsibility of CEOs, and the psychobabble of mental-health “experts.” All in all, it has been an insincere and clumsy tiptoe around the central issues surrounding the tragedy made largely by the people who were themselves tormentors and bullies of high school.
I was a “freak” in high school–awkward, funny looking, strange hobbies, and the whole nine yards. I happened to be lucky, though, because I am physically large, so nobody really fucked with me. One thing I can say, having known many friends like myself who never fit the Aryan model of “winner” promulgated as part of “American dream” rhetoric is that, though Klebold and Harris were an unspeakable and grave exception to the rule, most folk forget how thoughtful, imaginative, and talented many of the “freaks” of high school really are–the Frank Zappas, the Kurt Cobains, the John Lennons, the William Burroughses, the Hunter S. Thompsons, and the list goes on.
I hope that, in some way, there can be something positive reaped from this tragedy, and high schools will make it possible for kids who have curious interests and talents to not feel like such outcasts and instead find a way to nurture and cultivate their talents rather than impose conformity, promoting isolation and allowing anger to fester. But I know I am too much of an optimist in this respect, and I know the likely result of this tragedy is that Tipper Gore’s PMRC and the Christian Coalition will browbeat us all with their sanctimonious rhetoric. And in the process, they will completely fail to address any of the visceral issues surrounding Littleton.
In any case, I want to simply thank Dan Savage for having the temerity to address the issue on its most basic and important terms. Savage put forth a piece that promotes true discourse rather than sniveling, sententious pleas for “morality” and “decency.” The mindless barrage of swill the media has offered of late is better left for women’s-auxiliary meetings, Rotary Club banquets, and other similar organizations that cater to shortsighted and thoroughly cretinous intellects.
S. Andrei Ostric