A child, barely five, finishes eating a candy bar. His mother
tells him to throw the wrapper away.
“Would you like a cookie?” I ask, reaching into my pocket. He nods his
small head up, then down, but before he can answer, I pull the knife out
of my pocket and I stab him, quickly, in the neck.
Bewildered, he backs into the trash can, gurgling, unable to scream or
cry because of the blood that starts spurting out of the wound in his
throat. Though I’d like to watch this child die, I push him down behind
the garbage can, then casually mingle with the rest of the crowd.
When the child’s mother finally notices him she doesn’t scream, because
she can only see his feet and assumes he’s playfully hiding from her. I
can see the exact moment when the expression on her face turns to fear;
she pulls the trash can away, revealing the child’s face which is
completely covered in red blood and the child is having trouble blinking
its eyes because of this. He’s now kicking weakly.
Though I am at first satisfied by my actions, I’m suddenly jolted with a
mournful despair at how useless, how extraordinarily painless it is to
take a child’s life. This thing before me, small and twisted and bloody,
has no real history, no worthwhile past. Nothing really is lost. It’s so
much more pleasurable taking the life of someone who has hit his or her
prime, who has the beginnings of a history, a spouse, friends, a career,
whose death will upset far more people whose capacity for grief is
limitless, which perhaps would ruin many more lives than just the
meaningless puny death of this boy. I’m tempted to knife the boy’s
Meanwhile the boy, gasps, dies.
I feel empty, hardly here at all. Then I’m walking down Fifth Avenue, I
stop at a stand on the corner of Fifty Sixth St., where I buy a Dove Bar
— a coconut one. Then I walk, my hands soaked with blood, uncaught.
–Brett Easton Ellis
The above passage is not from some splatterpunk or Goth comic book. Nor
is it a depiction of a scene from a “Hollywood” gore flick. In fact, it
is taken directly from a book which found its way onto the New York
Times bestseller list. It’s a book you can pick up in your local
Barnes & Noble. You can read it as you sip your latte. As far as the
critics are concerned, this is “great literature.”
My reason for reprinting this passage is simple. It’s my answer to all
of the “experts” — who, in the wake of the Littleton massacre — have
been babbling about rallying against violence in Hollywood films and the
makers of violent video games like “Doom, ” “Quake,” etc.
Forget it guys. Violent imagery is as American as apple pie. Today, this
imagery so thoroughly permeates our culture, that to look at Hollywood,
or Goth culture, or record companies that put out punk music, is to
sidestep the “real” issue. It’s a waste of your time and mine. More than
that, it’s an obfuscation of the issue.
Actually, a funny thing has happened during the past week. The “experts”
— that is, the psychologists, lawyers, grief counselors, and politicians
— have given way to a new contingent of babblers. This new group is
somewhat more amusing (for about five seconds) than the “experts” — a
terminally boring lot. I’m talking about the “conspiracy theorists.” (My
buddy Matt and I have taken to referring to them as the “Woo Woos.”)
Of course, Woo Woos have been with us throughout history. No matter what
the situation — be it a mass murder, a terrorist bombing, a war, — you
name it — the Woo Woos will eventually jump on the bandwagon with their
own peculiar brand of irrationalism.
The targets of the Woo Woos often include the usual run-of-the mill
folks — the government, the Republicans, the Democrats, the Jews, etc.
However, they typically go much further to include (amongst others), the
psychological/psychiatric community, the cops, the military-industrial
complex, the CIA, the FBI, the Illuminati, the Masons, the Skull And
Bones Society, the aliens, the Satanists, the Reptilians … well, I’m
sure you get the idea.
At the end of this column I will list just a few of the “Woo Woo” links
that have been sent to me. I think you’ll find them amusing. I caution
you, however, not to spend too much time on any of them. The Woo Woos —
if one is so inclined (fortunately, I am not) — can be very persuasive
(not to mention addicting).
Look, I admit it. I asked for this. I requested that people send me
“tips” — and tips are what I got! Many of these tips have provided me
with real, tangible (and thus) valuable information. But the bulk of the
tips I got — especially this past week — were from hardcore Woo Woos.
After checking out few (most Woo Woo stuff has been recycled for years),
I grew bored, and simply filed them away in my Woo Woo folder (actually
it’s labeled “Conspiracy Idiots”).
Amongst the more ridiculous of the Woo Woo theories re Littleton, are
that Harris and his pal Dylan Klebold were in fact, modern day
“Manchurian Candidates” — two children programmed — over a period of
many years — to kill upon a prescribed signal.
By whom were they programmed you might ask? The Woo Woos don’t like to
name names (perhaps they’re smart enough to avoid lawsuits), but in the
case of Littleton, fingers seem to point in the direction of the CIA,
the military, George Bush, Al Gore, the builders of the Denver Airport
(which allegedly contains some kind of secret underground bunker, not to
mention all kinds of occult symbolism in the architecture). Oh, and lets
not forget that grand old bugaboo — a favorite of Woos Woos everywhere
— Project MKULTRA. If you don’t know what that is, don’t ask me.
I’ve never taken the time to figure it out. Suffice it to say,
MKULTRA is the mainstay for dozens upon dozens of conspiracy theories.
I’m much less interested in the particular theories espoused by the Woo
Woo culture (they are indeed a culture) than in their personal stats.
Who arethese cheeseheads? They seem to defy classification. All I
can say for sure is that they come from a broad cross-section of the
I can attest to the fact that the ranks of the Woo Woos include
markedly more Christians than they do Jews (everybody knows that Jews
are too smart to fall for this kind of foofaraw). Typically, they’re
likely to be conservative or libertarian in their politics (the libs are
busy attacking the NRA and other more traditional targets). But by and
large, the Woo Woos cut a swath across all cultural, religious and
Lord help us.
As I said, I find the Woo Woo’s at least a tad bit more entertaining
than the “experts” –the people who’ve been hogging our TV screens in
the three weeks since the Littleton massacre. I’m talking about media
whores like Rob Reiner (representing Hollywood), Dr. Joyce Brothers
(representing those ever-caring “grief counselors”), Lt. Dave Grossman
(representing the anti-violent video faction), as well as the nonstop
parade of attorneys (generally representing the families of victims in
some previous school shooting) and politicians — who are always ready
to jump on the nearest bandwagon.
But the Woo Woo’s get tiresome pretty quickly. Not only are they overly
verbose, but their theories are so convoluted — so lacking in any solid
referential basis — that after about ten minutes of listening (or
reading) their dogma, your head starts to hurt (either that, or you fall
Now before the Woo Woos out there start barraging me with e-rants, let
me say that I am not totally discounting Woo Wooism. In fact, I’m sure
that in Woo Woo Land, there are grains … maybe even globules — of
truth floating around (just as there is some “truth” in each of the
points-of-view held by the ever-tedious “experts”). Which is to say that
yes, violent movies and videos are a contributing factor to the problem;
yes, violent video games desensitize children; yes … less guns would
mean less crime. Nobody with any sense is going to argue any of these
The problem is, all this stuff is beside the point.
The same thing applies to Woo Wooism. While it may amuse or interest
you, it keeps you from focusing on the real issue — which is, in fact,
right in front of our eyes.
There is a clear purpose behind the activity of the Woo Woos, just as
there is a clear (psychological) purpose behind the blather of the
experts. Which is, to “separate” the person doing the theorizing
(whether it’s Woo Wooism or your more standard psychological/political
gobbledygook) from the issue at hand.
The moment you begin the process of theorizing, you are no longer a part
of the problem. You are now an observer, rather than a participant. You
are watching — albeit from a ringside seat — just as you would watch
any other kind of “entertainment.” And make no mistake — progenitors of
Woo Wooism, as well as their more “normal” counterparts, turn what is a
serious — a life-threatening issue — into entertainment. They cheapen
it, they trivialize it, while at the same time, patting themselves on
the back for their “wisdom.”
Let me explain. In writing about the situation in Littleton (which is
nothing more than a microcosm of what is happening all over the world
… the fact that it happened in a high school in an upscale community
in Colorado makes it “newsworthy” just as O.J. Simpson’s murder of his
wife was newsworthy even though the exact same thing happens each and
every day in America) I have been using one word over and over.
That word is “evil.”
The moment you use the word “evil” to describe/explain what went on in
that school, two things happen. One, you — the reader, the observer —
are forced to broaden your perspective. In other words, you have to look
at the “big picture” rather than the minutiae of the situation. (Though
they say, “the devil is in the details” it’s really the other way
around.) The other thing that happens when you encounter a world like
“evil” is much more subtle; it happens very quickly, and you’ll only
catch it if you’re very alert, aware.
And that is that the moment you hear that word, a little voice inside
you goes: “not me.”
Whenever we see something truly horrendous — be it the Littleton
massacre, or the Simpson murders or the bombings in Yugoslavia — what
do we do? What is our very first response? We begin “discussing”
it, “Discussing” is, in fact, really not all that much different an
animal from “gossiping.” No matter how erudite the conversation, the
function of “discussion” and “gossip” is identical. Which is, that it
separates you from the topic you are discussing. At the same time,
discussion/gossip allows you a certain comfort level that a) it is not
happening to you, and b) that you are somehow invulnerable (which means
superior) to the people/thing you are discussing.
“Those two boys were evil,” you smirk. “O.J. Simpson got away with
murder!” you scoff.
Come on. We all said it.
What’s happening here? We’re removing ourselves from the picture, that’s
what. Now we’re “watching it” just as we would watch a movie.
Let me ask you this: Why are the tabloids the most popular form of
media? Because they allow the reader to feel “superior” to the poor
drug-addled or overweight movie star who he’s reading about. Also,
there’s just a little bit of payback involved. The privileged people who
we normally see blown up to six times their normal size on the big
screen have now been cut down to size. They’re “human” — people
besieged with the same problems the rest of us mortals have. This makes
us feel good. Or rather, it lessens — if just a bit — our daily state
But the tabloids foster a lie. (Which is why they are, by their very
nature, evil.) For the truth is, we are NOT separate. We are not
merely observers. The fact is, we’re all swimming in the same
cesspool of filth, degradation and evil that is our world today.
And the lie becomes all the more insidious when one applies it to the
subject mater of “evil” itself. Because the fact is — no matter what
your particular belief system (Christian Jew, Buddhist, Moslem), you
will have to acknowledge that every man — that means you and I — is
capable of evil. Let us take it a step further. That thing we call
“evil’ (which we cannot readily define, cannot touch, cannot put our
hands on) is just as real, just as tangible, as that chair you are
sitting on at this moment. And not only are each of us capable of
committing evil, we ourselves are not “different” — that is separate —
from that thing we call evil.
I am purposely avoiding going anywhere near the area of “salvation” —
that is, whether there exists in the universe some power that can
deliver, somehow protect man from evil. Not that I don’t believe that it
exists, but if we venture into that area — in which there is so much
dogma, so much useless rhetoric — we will find ourselves stuck in
quicksand. So I will not go there.
I’ll simply say this: If you do not believe in evil, or you believe that
you, yourself are incapable of evil, I suggest you leave this discussion
now. Go watch Jerry Springer and have yourselves a big, old time. …
If however, you are willing to admit that evil — whether you deem it to
be “inside” or “outside” yourself — can and does have the power to
influence you, then we can move on.
I suggest that at this time you re-read the passageway that prefaces
this column. The purpose in printing this gruesome bit of writing is
quite simple. As I stated, this is an excerpt from a book that sat on
the New York Times best seller list. Its author, Brett Easton Ellis, is
a member of the most esteemed group called “literati.”
Another much-adored, highly respected group of people that has totally
avoided the slings and arrows of the “finger pointers” is the “art-house
crowd” — those good folks who are given massive grants to produce
pornography (things like “Piss Christ”) in the name of “art.”
My point? Evil cannot be relegated to punk rockers or Goths, or cheesy
Hollywood Boulevard head shops selling t-shirts with satanic imagery.
Evil — and its multifarious manifestations — permeate virtually every
walk of life, every nook and cranny of society — from Melrose Blvd. art
galleries, to the shelves of your local Barnes & Noble, to “educational”
TV, to your local church and synagogue.
If man were not evil by nature, he would — in today’s world — sooner
or later “become” evil, simply because of the sheer level of “pollution”
we are all swimming around in. Nor can evil any longer be relegated to
any particular geographical location; it’s not just in the inner cities
and ghettos. No — it’s alive and well in a gorgeous, upscale (primarily
Christian) community in Colorado.
Looking at this fact should –if you truly acknowledge it — put to rest
the asking of the (pointless) question –“why?” To ask why is simply
another way of not confronting the issue. The answer to why? is
To “look” doesn’t require psychiatrists, sociologists, priests or
rabbis, or conspiracy theorists. It simply requires you to shut up and
It’s not difficult, trust me. Today, evil is not only remarkably visible
(it doesn’t even bother to hide its face anymore), it is actually
brazen. The mask is off. It is everywhere. Evil is committed — on a
daily basis — by our next door neighbor, by our relatives, by our
parents, by our children … by you and I.
Thus, the only truly relevant question is not “why?” but rather
“how?” are we to confront evil? And I don’t mean in the “other
guy.” We don’t need to know how to confront evil in Eric Harris’ or
Dylan Klebold or Charles Manson or Adolf Hitler. We need to learn how to
confront evil — and not run from it by engaging in mental gossip –in
Now, check this out: The moment you ask “how” you are again trying to
escape the fact of evil. In asking “how?” you are looking for a method
… you are looking for someone else to tell you what to do — hereby
once again separating yourself.
When your house is on fire, you don’t stop to ask “how?” or “why?” You
don’t read the instructions on the “How To Put Out A Fire” booklet
stuffed in a kitchen drawer. No, when you’re in the middle of any
emergency, what you do is — you act! You do something … whether it’s
turning on the hose or calling the fire department or getting the hell
out of your house.
When you’re confronted by any imminent danger — whether it’s an
earthquake, a burglar who’s broken into your house, a rabid dog that is
about to attack you — you are no longer acting out of the rational part
of your brain; you are acting out of the much more powerful “collective
unconscious.” You have now tapped into certain pathways in the brain
which have been “programmed” into you, which have been genetically
passed down through your ancestors for centuries.
Likewise — if you actually perceive evil for what it is — an imminent
danger to your being, a deadly poison in your system, a threat to your
very life — you will also act “without thinking” (that is, your
unconscious will act).
You will do something. Perhaps you will just look at it, Maybe
that is enough. Or perhaps — if you’re being attacked (that is, if evil
takes the form of another human) — you’ll defend yourself by whatever
means necessary. One thing I guarantee you will NOT do, is to sit around
a table and have a discussion about it. You won’t do a “Woo Woo” —
trying to figure out if this evil has been “sent” to you because of your
bad karma, or because an old girlfriend has put a curse on you. That
I promise you.
The point I am making is simple. Evil is the issue — and it is
theonly issue — that we’re re dealing with. As Littleton fades
into the background, or is replaced — as it no doubt will be — by the
next atrocity, we will, (I pray) see that we must confront this thing at
the most basic level.
As I said last week — and I think it bears repeating — we are
currently in “battle mode.” Spiritual warfare demands a different set of
tools, different weapons, the honing of new skills (the prime one being
“discernment”) than does traditional warfare. And I’m sorry, but I don’t
buy that the constant repetition of Biblical passages (or commanding
that evil leave “in the name of Jesus”) is a viable answer. A lot of
those kids in that high school in Littleton were praying as the killers
strode up and down the hallways, spraying bullets. They prayed — they
asked God to protect them. They died.
No, Jesus didn’t stop the bullets in Littleton on April 20.
I’m sure saying this won’t endear me to the people who believe that
simply uttering the name of Jesus is the answer. But I’m not here to win
any popularity contests. I’m here to (try to) get at the “truth.” That
means I refuse to be placated by easy answers.
Now if I tell you that this is not the solution, I don’t expect you to
believe me — I expect you to test it out for yourself. I am NOT setting
myself up as any sort of authority. All I’m saying is that in order
“test,” — in order to “find out” — you cannot go on repeating the same
old things you have been taught from childhood — because none of those
things work! You have to be willing to question, to look at things
afresh. You have to be willing — for the moment at least — to throw
out all of your ideas, your opinions, your beliefs.
That — believe it or not — is the most terrifying thought imaginable.
For, without your beliefs, ideas and opinions, where are “you?” Just
look at it. Don’t argue about it, don’t fuss with it — just be quiet
I have talked previously about de-programming. I guess perhaps in that
respect, I am one of the Woo Woo’s myself. Because I firmly believe we
are all programmed — conditioned — and that until we begin the process
of deprogramming ourselves — that is, freeing ourselves of all of our
ideas and opinions — we can never actually come to grips with the issue
Any of you who have dealt with cults (and/or people who have been
brainwashed) are aware that there are actual techniques that can be
utilized in order to de-program people. We don’t have time to go into
those techniques now, but suffice it to say, they exist. This process
involves the building of new pathways in the brain which will eventually
reroute the habits and thoughts which allow evil to work “through” us.
Right now, you only need to do one thing and that is to become aware of
evil. This is not easy to do — as you will experience for yourselves.
The fact is, the mind will play all sorts of tricks in order to keep you
from simply recognizing the fact of the evil within yourself.
To simply sit, and be aware of evil within us — which shows itself
through our thoughts, our addictions, our desires — is a tremendously
difficult task. It demands great discipline. I’m talking about awareness
… not the mindless droning of prayer or some stupid mantra. Awareness
means — literally — to be awake.
So I leave you with this. If you are serious about this whole issue (and
most of us are not really serious), if you want to begin to confront the
evil in yourselves, then that very desire will, in and of itself, create
the discipline you need in order to observe evil without trying to
do anything about it.
If you can do that — even just for a few minutes — you have taken the
first and most important step on what is going to be a long and painful
journey. But it is the only acceptable answer in the face of an
impending evil … an evil that threatening to overwhelm us like some
massive tidal wave.
Next week we will deal with more specific techniques for “deprogramming
“or de-conditioning” the mind so that you may begin — not through a
psychologist or a priest — but by yourself — to cleanse your mind and
heart of this spiritual cancer that currently has infected every single
one of us.
Woo Woo Links Following are some of the funniest (i.e. stupidest)
conspiracy theories on the Littleton massacre. A word of advice: don’t
waste too much time on this stuff. Check it out, have a few laughs, and
move on. Life is too short to indulge in this crap for more than a few
minute. Besides, if you read this stuff for too long, you’ll REALLY need
to be deprogrammed!
TONGUE UPDATE: For those of you who’ve been inquiring, we are
trying our best to get The Tongue
back up and running by next week. The site,
in addition to being totally redesigned, will contain a new Members
Only section where you can delve more deeply into issues such as
conditioning, deprogramming, and other related subject matters. In the
meanwhile, The Tongue’s counter-culture bookstore
— which contains
titles on subjects that you won’tfind in your local bookstore, is
open. If you’re looking for anything form ID changing, computer
snooping, to do-it-yourself investigative material, this is the place