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"I'm a sucker for serial killers."
May 2, 2005 5:04 AM   Subscribe

"I'm a sucker for serial killers." - Teller (of Penn and Teller) wrote something way back in 1994 about Jeffrey Dahmer that is still interesting, though short, after all this time. "One day when he was driving home, Dahmer gave a lift to a hitchhiker. I've done that. He saw beauty and wanted it in his power, utterly, as only a well-placed blow to the head can deliver. OK, I confess, I've wanted that as well -- but I chose not to pick up a sawed-off baseball bat and make my wish come true. That's why I can drive to the beach whenever I feel like it, while Dahmer has to live in a prison and talk to Stone Phillips. "
posted by soulhuntre (28 comments total)

 
[this is good]
posted by quonsar at 5:26 AM on May 2, 2005


I love Teller. I never cease to be amazed at how thoughtful and eloquent he is in real life, and how he can shut it all away and be a silent clown. Perhaps we can all learn something from him.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:33 AM on May 2, 2005


Penn Jillette has been so outspoken on things like serial killers that it took me a minute to realize that it was Teller that wrote this. And of course, Dahmer doesn't even get to talk to Stone anymore.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:35 AM on May 2, 2005


In a decade when criminals cloak guilt with victimhood, Dahmer's answer was strangely frank. "I feel it's wrong for people who commit crimes to try to shift the blame to someone else, onto their parents, or onto their upbringing or living circumstances. I think that's just a cop-out. I take full responsibility."

for a guy who strangled his victims, had sex with the corpses, dismembered the bodies, and kept the skulls as trophies blaming mom for not showing enough affection isn't really an option.
posted by three blind mice at 5:54 AM on May 2, 2005


What, you wouldn't accept "Mommy didn't hug me, so I had sex with corpses"? That seems valid.

Good article. I like Teller, and Penn.
posted by graventy at 6:11 AM on May 2, 2005


He saw beauty and wanted it in his power

He objectified a human being and wanted to utilize the object.

This is the root; look at a person, see a body. An extreme case of a common tendency. When you drive home tonight, do you see thousands of other people, just like you, trying to get home too, or do you see thousands of cursed objects blocking your path?
posted by scheptech at 6:37 AM on May 2, 2005


Well said, scheptech.
posted by devbrain at 6:42 AM on May 2, 2005


jeez 3 blind mice, i just lost 30 minutes of work reading that entire link and then staring blankly into space.

When you drive home tonight, do you see thousands of other people, just like you, trying to get home too

I see people trying to get home. But then, I'm all Jesusy.
posted by glenwood at 6:49 AM on May 2, 2005


or do you see thousands of cursed objects blocking your path?

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women are driving too fucking slow.
posted by Cyrano at 6:58 AM on May 2, 2005


Everyone knows that when you get behind the wheel of a car, you are the sole arbiter of right and wrong. Your speeding is fine, but the dude blazing past you is "a maniac". Sure, you cut off two people and didn't signal half a mile back, but the "stupid son of a bitch" who nearly sideswipped you, he's "a danger on the road" and should have his license revoked.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:12 AM on May 2, 2005


sheptech - brilliantly said.
posted by selfmedicating at 7:50 AM on May 2, 2005


He objectified a human being and wanted to utilize the object.

To some extent sure... but that isn't all of it. He saw human beings as something to be used and posessed. It's different.

In other words, he didn't see them as less than human and thus eligible for use and posession. He saw them as human and didn't see that as something that disqualified them from posession.

When you drive home tonight, do you see thousands of other people, just like you, trying to get home too, or do you see thousands of cursed objects blocking your path?

I see thousands of cursed people blocking my path :)
posted by soulhuntre at 8:06 AM on May 2, 2005


Penn would be a hero of mine, if I were the sort to have heroes. Minimal bullshit, maximal coolness.
posted by theorique at 8:19 AM on May 2, 2005


When I'm dead, all this will be yours.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:19 AM on May 2, 2005


"[the essay] is still interesting, though short, after all this time."

Just like Teller!
posted by Capn at 8:34 AM on May 2, 2005


I'm not really following what he's trying to say. That he too has wanted to bludgeon a hitchhiker?

Maybe I need some coffee.
posted by xmutex at 10:22 AM on May 2, 2005


It's fun to be objectified once in a while. But I'll pass on the muriatic-acid-to-the-brain trick.
posted by bardic at 10:36 AM on May 2, 2005


extreme loneliness, alcoholism and homosexual guilt with the butchery/necrophilia/cannibalism committed under heavy alcohol sedation. and if i'm remembering correctly, his first murder was committed under the influence of alcohol also.
the commission of 90%+ of ALL crimes is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
some people simply can't check their behavior while under the influence.
posted by emdog at 4:07 PM on May 2, 2005


Yeah, I have to watch myself when I get drunk too. I have this unfortunate tendency of picking up strangers and torturing them to death.
posted by schroedinger at 11:14 AM on May 3, 2005


He saw beauty and wanted it in his power, utterly, as only a well-placed blow to the head can deliver. OK, I confess, I've wanted that as well

OK, I confess that I can't get past this sentence without feeling sick to my stomach. What is wrong with people?
posted by jokeefe at 11:59 AM on May 3, 2005


It shouldn't make you feel sick. Wants and deeds are two different things. Personally, that sentence made me feel relief.
posted by jennanemone at 12:52 PM on May 3, 2005


emdog: I'll be he liked heavy metal and video games, too.
posted by wheat at 1:45 PM on May 3, 2005


scheptech wins
posted by poweredbybeard at 1:55 PM on May 3, 2005


I've seen beauty. I've also wanted to deliver a well deserved blow to the head.

But never at the same time.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 2:44 PM on May 3, 2005


local case; husband currently on trial for killing his wife, two .38s to the head, after a night of heavy drinking by the both of them.
why? an argument over beach towels.
beach towels!
i'd say extreme loneliness and homosexual guilt trumps beach towels.

the guys in charge of the experiments/torture and exterminations at the german concentration camps were very heavy drinkers.

some people simply can't check their behavior while under the influence.
posted by emdog at 2:56 PM on May 3, 2005


emdog: Nobody kills his wife over beach towels, though a fight over something as trivial may well be the triggering event that unleashes a hidden desire to do harm. Drinking reduces inhibitions and encourages you to give in to desires. Having the desire to hurt your loved one seems the real problem, as most people drink but very few people murder their wives.

And you surely did not play the Nazi card so early, did you?

As I recall, in a video I saw about Dalmer, he killed sober. But he often got drunk when it came time to chop up the bodies, as he found that bit distateful.
posted by wheat at 7:53 PM on May 3, 2005


Great little article.
posted by squirrel at 9:24 PM on May 3, 2005


correct; it's considered a depressant but it first reduces inhibitions.
beach towels wasn't the point but losing control due to alcohol was.
no he wasn't 'sober'. he frequented bars, drank while there and drank with the men he brought home.

"surely.........nazi card so early"
i'm not sure what you're saying/asking

how about this stat?; total US soldiers killed from the civil war to the gulf is half the total of alcohol related vehicular deaths from the car's invention to '92.
something like 1mil to 2mil.
posted by emdog at 3:16 PM on May 5, 2005


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