June 24, 2018

Dehumanizing obits for school shooting victims read like striver college applications that never got to be sent

Sorry you got mass-murdered at school, but on the plus-side, I'll make sure everybody knows that you would've gotten into to an awesome college and scored a kickass career after graduation.

In a comment on the post below, I addressed the infrequent and narrow range of cases when the elites actually do highlight the problems that American children are facing, as opposed to their non-stop hand-wringing about the 10 billion immigrants they want to overwhelm our country with.

The reason why they rarely feel sympathy for American kids is that they are treated less like real human beings and more like robots to be programmed for maximum status-striving potential in the hyper-competitive globalized labor market. The elites see the outcome of that childrearing practice, and it is not easily recognizably human, hence their difficulty feeling sympathy for such children.

Sympathy anchors on authentic human beings -- or at least sentient creatures, not inanimate devices whose behavioral output has been fine-tuned by clinical engineers and programmers.

So, the elites only want to protect American kids in the school setting -- the main site of feeding them through the striver grinder, with surrogate parent-engineers taking over for the micro-programming while Mom and Dad are busy striving for pay. The elites can only conceive of "harm to children" to the extent that something disrupts the day-in and day-out micro-programming of their robo-kids. They couldn't care less what's affecting them outside of the cram school context.

To truly appreciate how dehumanizing the elites' treatment of American children is, just look at how the victims of mass school shootings are memorialized in the media. Consider this list of Parkland obituaries from CNN as representative of national media coverage. In fairness, local coverage is more humanizing and personal, but I'm talking about the big-picture bullet points from a major outlet like CNN that frames the national impression and conversation. It's not just that longer articles in the local press can go into greater depth -- the national press does not summarize that portrait into a thumbnail sketch, but focuses on a different set of traits.

Very little in CNN's descriptions has to do with who they are as people, whether as individuals or as members of a larger group that exists outside the striver school setting. They are not portraits of human beings. Rather, they are business reports about how far along this particular item was in the striver production process. The intended sense of tragic loss is only conveyed by detailing how much work had gone into its programming so far, and what future assembly lines it was destined for in order to receive the final bells and whistles before being brought to market -- at last -- before potential buyers.

The "senseless act of violence" comes across not so much as snuffing out a real-life human being, or robbing a social group of one of its crucial members -- but as an act of industrial sabotage in the striver factory. All those products that had come so far along in the manufacturing process -- some almost ready to roll right off the end of the assembly line -- damaged beyond the engineers' ability to salvage them and fulfill their clients' orders after all.

Normal obituaries of adults may mention their career accomplishments, although they also include sections on the person's early life and upbringing, as well as their social relationships, in a holistic portrait. The victims of mass school shootings are only teenagers, who do not have a career to speak of -- or do they? Their striver parents and handlers all treat them as though they had training-wheel careers of their own, with status and accomplishments to boast of just as much as any adult.

They don't understand how dehumanizing it strikes a normal person to treat a child as merely a yuppie-in-training, while ignoring anything about their personality, their interests, their hobbies, their social relations, and so on. Or perhaps those humanizing aspects are being prevented from developing in the first place, lest they get in the way of the proto-yuppie production process. Either way, it makes these obituaries awkward to read.

In fact, the only people quoted who do not refer to the slain victims as just promising cogs in a status-striving machine are their fellow age-mates -- other students, siblings or cousins, and neighborhood friends.

This contrast between the profane programmers and the respectful peers is starkest in the entry for Carmen Schentrup:

Carmen was a National Merit Scholar semifinalist.

"Marjory Stoneman Douglas had 10 students qualify as semifinalists for 2018, which is the second year in a row 10 students have qualified," the Eagle Eye student blog said.

Carmen was mourned in the community and on social media.

"Rest In Peace Carmen Schentrup," one tweet said. "You family is forever in my thoughts and prayers. I'm so sorry."

Anticipating fierce competition, this obit opens immediately with a knockout punch -- National Merit semifinalist, think you can compete with that? I'm surprised these obits didn't list "GPA" and "SAT score" along with their name and age in the headers.

In an even more disgusting profanation, it quotes a student blog post that brags about how well the school does in the National Merit competition. In this context, it comes across as crass and tone-deaf; however, it is actually a post from last fall, not one written in response to the mass murder. But the writers here just couldn't help it -- not even something sacred like an obituary could stop them from quoting standard PR bragging from today's hyper-competitive education system.

The connotation is that the victim was only worth something in this world to the extent that she helped rack up a high score for her striver factory in the industry-wide awards for striver production -- without her, there is now one fewer National Merit semifinalist for the school to boast about in its marketing copy. That bastard with the AR-15 ought to be sued into replacing her with another National Merit semifinalist, it's the only way true justice can be served.

Nicholas Dworet's obit ups the ante by declaring that he's already been accepted to college, which it name-drops, and announcing that he was in fact recruited for the swim team, unlike the less competitive applicants who have to beg colleges for admission.

The sole person quoted is from that university -- which he didn't even get to attend, and who therefore knows nothing about him and has no connection to him whatsoever. It's purely to vouch for the student's promising college prospects, to clarify that he wasn't a loser in the striver competition. Oh, and it's the university president, not some low-ranking staffer, who writes this posthumous letter of recommendation to future employers from The Beyond.

For the striver adults commemorating him, nothing else mattered. Not even joking, here it is in its entirety:

Nicholas, a 17-year-old senior, was killed in the shooting, the University of Indianapolis confirmed. He was recruited for the university swim team and would have been an incoming freshman this fall.

"Nick's death is a reminder that we are connected to the larger world, and when tragedy hits in places around the world, it oftentimes affects us at home," said Robert L. Manuel, University of Indianapolis president.

"Today, and in the coming days, I hope you will hold Nick, his family, all of the victims, as well as the Parkland community and first responders in your prayers."

Meadow Pollack's obit also opens with the declaration that she had gotten into a named college, but only a spokeswoman rather than the president vouches for her. (That's why they shouldn't be contacting these institutions to begin with, since it creates needless competition.) As in the first case, this college spokeswoman knows absolutely nothing about the dead teenager who never attended the institution that she works for, but doesn't let that get in the way of vouching for her, using HR boilerplate ("join our community," one rung above "join our team"):

Meadow, 18, had been accepted at Lynn University in Boca Raton, spokeswoman Jamie D'Aria said.

"Meadow was a lovely young woman, who was full of energy. We were very much looking forward to having her join our community in the fall," D'Aria said.

For the adult programmers and engineers, what matters most is maximizing the status of their sabotaged products, and that means getting an endorsement from as high-ranking of a source as possible, not from someone who actually knew the victim as a person. Her friends, and friends of the family, are at least allowed to chime in after the university spokeswoman is done vouching for the deceased's status credentials, and they sound like real people who knew another real person and are struck by grief.

Jaime Guttenberg was only 14, so her obit couldn't reassure us that she had gotten into a good school just yet. But not to worry -- the writer makes sure to include remarks from her father's alma mater, only half-hinting that she could have gotten her degree there, if it weren't for that bastard with the AR:

Skidmore College, where Fred Guttenberg attended, released a statement saying their hearts go out to Jaime's parents and others affected by the tragedy.

"There really are no words to lessen the suffering that the families of victims are feeling at this moment, but perhaps knowing that we stand with them can provide some small measure of solace," the college said.

This quote comes abruptly after several sentences of the father's grieving. It's not clear whether he put his alma mater up to this, or whether the writers investigated where the dead teenager might have enjoyed legacy status in the admissions competition later on. At any rate, in juxtaposition, the father's grieving reads more as a set-up for the college's remarks -- he is the connection, so if the writers had not introduced the grieving father first, the remarks from his alma mater would have sounded a little too out-of-the-blue.

Only in a pathologically striver-stricken culture would obituary writers subordinate paternal grief to the reassurance that the mass-murdered daughter was likely bound for a college with a median SAT of 1320.

Alyssa Alhadeff's obit emphasizes her extracurriculars -- Parkland Travel Soccer, Camp Coleman ("Section 5: Please describe how you've spent your last three summers"). Not what role she played in these groups -- was she the jokester or the straight-faced one, a leader or a helper ("Hmmm, if she wasn't the leader, that won't look good on the application"), who else she connected with, how they shaped her, or anything human about belonging to a group. It's simply a list of extracurriculars to pad her file for ultimate judgment by that great big admissions panel up in the sky.

Sadly, even her own mother offers little description of who her daughter was, beyond what any mother would say while pleading her case in front of the admissions board: "Alyssa was a beautiful, smart, talented, successful, awesome, amazing soccer player." Look, I made sure she's going to crush it in her career choices, what else do you expect me to know about my daughter?

Cara Loughran's obit begins with her extracurricular: she "danced at the Drake School of Irish Dance in South Florida." It doesn't describe what she was like at the studio, what her favorite kinds of dances were, or any other portrait-like details. It just lists her membership in an institution whose WASP-y name, "the Drake School," is designed to sound like an exclusive private school.

Even when her adult neighbor is quoted, the remarks are abstract rather than concrete, and generic rather than personal -- "fly with the angels," "celebrate your beautiful life". It sounds more like someone who signed your yearbook without knowing you -- "Have a fun trip 2 Heaven, C U next lifetime."

Gina Montalto's obit starts off with her extracurricular -- winter guard on the marching band -- and follows with a condolence from the Winter Guard International, who did not know her, but whose high-ranking status will hopefully make their letter of rec more status-boosting to the dead teenager. She does get a more personal portrayal from her middle school coach, though. Her aunt tries to tell us that she was into art and design, but cannot help turning it into a grievance about the striver career that the young girl never got to kick ass at: "I know somewhere in the heavens she's designing the latest and greatest trends," she says awkwardly, falling back on PR buzzwords toward the end.

Alaina Petty's obit focuses more on the "service" section of the college application -- volunteering after Hurricane Irma, Helping Hands program with the Mormon church, member of junior ROTC, which the writers emphasize is "a leadership program" taught by retired Army personnel. Her family seem to have her career prospects mainly in mind: "Alaina loved to serve," and the family "will not have the opportunity to watch her grow up and become the amazing woman we know she would become". In context, "amazing" means kicking ass in the status competition.

Alex Schachter's obit is entirely about his extracurriculars of marching band and orchestra. The band director's letter of recommendation -- "I felt he really had a bright future on the trombone" -- emphasizes the student's appeal to college admissions boards, or perhaps as a career choice if he were really good at it. In either case, it is about status prospects that will not be realized. There is no description of his personality or social relations, other than noting that he had a family when mentioning who it is that has set up a music scholarship in his memory.

Luke Hoyer's obit is one of the few that does not dryly run through a checklist of academics, extracurriculars, and service activities. In addition to some personality traits, it is about the state of shock that his grandparents are in. They are described as a "close-knit family," although the grandparents live 10 hours drive away from Fort Lauderdale, in Appalachian South Carolina. Recall that these mass school shootings only happen in rootless striver colonies, such as anywhere in Florida. If the parents had remained close to the grandparents, it would have been an even more close-knit family, and not exposed to the risk of mass school shootings.

At any rate, his obit goes to show that, unlike the overall pattern in America, people from Appalachian background are unlikely to treat their kids solely as robots to be programmed into status-strivers, and view them more as holistic human beings, especially by being plugged into extended kinship networks.

Other than his, the only obits that present a more personal sketch instead of a college application belong to the students who are of recent immigrant background. That reinforces the point that our elites feel sympathy for immigrant children because they do not perceive them to be robotic proto-yuppies whose humanity has been crushed out of them after getting cranked through the striver grinder by programmer-engineer parents.

Helena Ramsay's obit centers around her personality and kin relations, with both people quoted being family members. The fact that she would've started college next year is mentioned in passing, not drawn out (no name of the college). In her personality description, there is one reference to the cram school context -- "she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies" -- but again is mentioned more in passing. She was of recent Afro-Caribbean background.

Peter Wang's obit does mention that he was in junior ROTC, but it's not so much of an item in an extracurricular checklist, as it is a set-up for the description of the brave way in which he died -- holding open the door so other kids could escape. Most of the description is personal, from a close friend and classmate who describes how he made her smile and laugh, and how excited he was to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year. He was of recent Chinese background.

The obit for Martin Duque Anguiano, born in Mexico, focuses on his personality and his place in the family structure. They specify that he's the baby brother, with the roles that implies, rather than just being a fungible member of Team Duque. And it's written by his older brother instead of a programmer parent.

Finally the obit for Joaquin Oliver, also an immigrant:

Joaquin was born in Venezuela, moved to the United States when he was 3 and became a naturalized citizen in January 2017, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

"Among friends at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, he was known as 'Guac,' a moniker that appeared on his Instagram account. His interests: football, basketball, the Venezuelan national soccer team, urban graffiti and hip-hop," the paper said.

An Instagram post dated December 31 was his final social media post -- a message to his girlfriend, the paper said.

"Thank you lord for putting a greater blessing than I could ever imagine into my life this past year," he said. "I love you with all my heart."

Nothing about academics, extracurriculars, or service activities. It lists football and basketball under interests rather than participation on school teams. He actually has interests of his own, not only activities that he is fed into by programmer parents. He actually has friends. They've even given him a nickname -- a unique personal detail, whose informal and familiar tone brings the reader into their social circle.

And unlike the apparently sexless American robo-kids, the writers emphasize that this guy actually has a girlfriend -- might actually get married, might actually raise a family. It's that never-realized marriage and family that is the tragic loss in his entry. The robo-kids are presumed to advance to the procreation stage once their amazing careers have reached the kickass level -- before then, it would only get in the way of foundational striver development.

What are the range of interests of the other students? Who are their friends? What are their nicknames? Who are their girlfriends or boyfriends? What are their plans for marriage, for raising families one day? According to their adult programmers and the national media -- who cares? Don't you really want to know instead what would make them an amazing candidate for a "fast, early acceptance into an Ivy League school (and please let it be Harvard)"?

With this conception of American children, it's no surprise that the elites have such difficulty feeling sympathy for them, and turn to immigrant children instead, who they see as more authentically human than robotic.


  1. Great article, I still view the great replacement project as a conspiracy, but I'm not at all surprised that rootless, elite striver types like it. And like it for many of your stated reasons. I'll just say that atomized upper class normies didn't collectively re-write the admissions policy for the whole of the anglosphere within like a two or 3 year window in the 60's. They just like it, maybe because they are natural shit eaters.

  2. It would be interesting to do the same analysis of the coverage of shooters themselves. Looking at things through this lens, my impression is that, again, the news reports focus on ticking off yearbook boxes: "we can analyze this kid through the clubs he didn't join, the unpopular bands he liked, the off-putting videos he posted."


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