Hideousness at Its Roots
As described in David Foster Wallace’s fictional accounts of his book, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, and in many of the most unsettling events of the past century, these occurrences are found to have been carefully, and at times tenaciously, controlled by their executors. Whether more to ensure that the events proceed without inhibition or hindrance from outside forces or a stress to bend the will of the victims consumed, the culprits of such crimes against humanity were observed to exert powerful control over the situations and people involved. Digging deeper, the theme of control typically begins in the sinister individual’s childhood; traumatizing or conflicting experiences from one’s youth initiate psychological repercussions that may lead to hideous decisions later in life.
“These children that come at you with knives. They are your children.” –Charles Manson
Unlike Mason’s position of distantly guiding other hideous people to perform evil acts, comparably infamous twentieth century
Sexual crimes are considered acts intended to control or assert one’s dominance over the victim as well, and rape and murder are arguably the two most heinous crimes
Jeffrey Dahmer was a Milwaukee native who committed his first murder at the age of 18. Luring young men into his home, actually either his parent’s or grandmother’s homes, or hotel rooms, he would intoxicate and kill them. He would rape his victims before killing them and many times also attempt necrophilia before dismembering the corpses and disposing of them around his home. Evidence also suggests he engaged in cannibalism with some of the remains. Dahmer retained severed heads and genitals from his victims, as well as an extensive gallery of photographs from each murder. Throughout the years he spent serving in the United States Army stationed in Germany and carrying out minor prison sentences for various charges related to sexual offenses, alcoholism, and misconduct, Dahmer would take
17 victims in thirteen years,
Dahmer’s hideousness is exemplified in one of Wallace’s brief interviews, in which a man describes another, more hideous man’s acts against a woman they both encountered. The criminal man in the account entices the woman to enter his vehicle as a willing hitchhiker but is then revealed to be a serial rapist and murderer by the “energy field in the car- she said she instantly knew in the depths of her soul that the fellow’s intention was to brutally rape, torture, and kill her” (Wallace 251). Dahmer’s first victim, Steven Hicks, was an unfortunate hitchhiker whom Dahmer took to his home.
The roots of Dahmer’s deplorable compulsions, according to the hideous man himself, stem from the acrimonious divorce of his parents when Dahmer was 14 years old. Childhood stresses and unresolved psychological conflicts developed the haunting character as which Dahmer is now infamously remembered. Struggle with divorce is identified as a root cause of hideousness in many of Wallace’s stories, namely “The Depressed Person”. Although Dahmer’s exact experience with his parents’ separation is unknown, it is not unheard of “for an emotionally sensitive child to… feel guilty about the staggering cost” incurred during the experience (Wallace 40). Dahmer also claimed to be traumatized by a surgical procedure to correct a double hernia as a child (Bio). Possibly the compounding factors of childhood conflicts left unresolved fostered a suitable mentality to allow for Dahmer’s dark desires.
"The Killer Clown"
Gacy’s disability was a neurological disorder that, rather than gain him the pity of his victims, warranted regular abuse from his father. His father also regularly berated his son for exhibiting characteristics of homosexuals as a child (Deputy). Gacy’s childhood abuse and mental health among other afflictions serve as the
deeply rooted issues that influenced his hideous actions later in life.
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