I Like __ A Lot
Boys Who Kill: Kevin Khatchadourian
The final Boys Who Kill for the time being brings the spotlight to Kevin Khatchadourian. On 10 April 1999, ten days prior to Dylan and Eric’s premiere of NBK, Kevin killed his daddy and his sister before going to school and murdering seven students, one English teacher, and one janitor in the gym.
Growing up, Kevin’s two favorite words, according to his mommy, were “Idonlikedat” and “dumb.” Whether it was his mommy’s milk, his mommy’s cooking, his mommy in general, music, or cartoons, Kevin’s would probably be displeased by it. Although, there are some things that Kevin does like, like computer viruses and Robin Hood. Both Robin Hood and computer viruses attack targets that possess plenty of materials. Robin Hood deprives rich people of their things and computer viruses deprive computers of their ability to preserve their multitude of files and functions.
Kevin’s granddaddy and grandmommy maintain a motto: “Materials are everything.” The granddaddy and grandmommy fill their lives by doing things. They install water softeners and purchase first-rate 1000-dollar speakers, even though they don’t really like music all that much. As for Kevin, his mommy says that he “was never one to deceive himself that, by merely filling it, he was putting his time to productive use.” While 99 percent of people spend their Saturday afternoons doing something, like speculating on what they intend to do that night or checking their social media feeds, Kevin is “doing nothing but reviling every second of every minute of his.” With a tough tummy, Kevin can do what the phony baloneys can’t: “face the void.”
Simone Weil has a similar perspective on life. For the French ascetic, nothingness is truthfulness since it has to do with God. “We can only know one thing about God: that he is what we are not,” says Simone in her notebooks. God isn’t composed of matter nor is he quantifiable. Unlike humans, there is no corporeal limit to God. He is infinite. Humans are a sham. They use their days trying to satiate various desires (hunger, thirst, xxx, and so on) even though these hankerings can never be permanently filled because human beings are really just one giant hole. As Simone declares, “Human life is impossible.” Simone and Kevin each confront the hopelessness of fulfillment in a material and fleshy existence. They each effect divinity through destruction — Simone destroys herself and Kevin destroy the things and people around him. From a neighbor boy’s bike, to a classmate’s heirloom tea set, to his sister’s favorite horseie, to his sister’s exotic pet elephant shrew, to his sister’s eye, Kevin is a vessel for destruction. At a middle school dance, Kevin’s mommy (who’s chaperoning), notices him approaching a girl dancing by herself to “Stairway to Heaven.” Kevin’s mommy says he’s tracking the girl “like a patriot missile homing in on a scud.” Missiles ruin things. American missiles have shattered Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistani tribes, and probably many other things (it’s just that America isn’t telling because they don’t have to). Kevin, too, ruins things, like this girl. After finally reaching his target, Kevin says something so harmful that the girls spends the rest of the dance in a state of utter upsetness.
Since he’s a weapon who wrecks Western things (instead of non-Western things), Kevin gets sentenced to Claverack Juvenile Correctional Facility, and his mommy visits him as frequently as she’s allowed. During one visit, Kevin informs her: “I hate you.” But Kevin didn’t kill his mommy. He refers to her as his “audience.” Unlike his daddy, Kevin’s mommy is harsh — she gives fat people, SUVs, and many other American emblems a constant tongue lathing. It wasn’t Kevin’s mommy’s choice to move from Tribeca to a wealthy suburb, it was his daddy’s. Kevin’s mommy describes his daddy as embracing the “simple fineness of being alive.” When Kevin’s mommy informs him of Kevin’s disturbing behavior, he dismisses it as typical boyhood and nothing to worry over. Around his daddy, Kevin’s is much more accommodating. The two take in Happy Days marathons together and visit battle fields. But Kevin doesn’t really like his daddy. After he kills him, he tell his mommy that he’s an “asshole” and describes him to a telly documentarian as “Mister Plastic.” A middle-class buffoon who gobbles eggs, toast, and bacon for breakfast, Kevin’s daddy is dumb and has zero clue that the foundation of Western society is bullcrap. Kevin’s mommy, though, is like him. After the massacre, the press portrays her as steely, cold, and severe, which is sort of how Kevin’s mommy portrays him. Both are adept at “black, straight-faced banter.” When Kevin’s mommy tells him of a new boy at Claverack who killed his neighbors after they complained that he listened to the Monkees too loudly, Kevin’s mommy exclaims, “That’s appalling. I can’t believe anyone still listens to the Monkees.” Kevin’s mommy is tough and his daddy is a tool and they way he acts around each one corresponds to those distinctions.
While watching news coverage of a school shooting, Kevin’s mommy asks him, “Don’t boys at your school ever settle their difference with an old-fashioned fistfight?” Kevin’s reply: “Choice of weapons is half the fight.” Kevin’s weapon is a crossbow, which his daddy got him for a Christmas present. As with the previous four boys — Eric, Dylan, Cho, Nathan, and Leopold — Kevin’s crime was influenced by literature, as Robin Hood used a crossbow derivative to carry out his tasks. By choosing a crossbow, Kevin separates himself from the rest of the school-shooting boys, who all used guns. Kevin’s mommy describe school massacres as a “discipline.” Like painting, rap, and literature, it is its own field with it owns competitions and rivalries. Kevin is sharply aware of what the other boys in his specialty have done and continue to do. His mommy compares his contempt for Eric and Dylan to the criticism that John Updike dispensed to Tom Wolfe. School murders are in art form of sorts, and Kevin’s crossbow distinguishes him from all the pistol-toting boys the way that JonBenet Ramsey’s sassy poems distinguish her from all the non-sassy “poets.”
Kevin’s mommy suggests that he hates so Eric and Dylan because they took the spotlight from him. But, even with Eric and Dylan topping his murder total, Kevin continues to be a superstar. As Kevin mommy’s says, “He still seems intent on demonstrating to me that he may have been a subjugate in my house who had to clean his plate, but now he’s a celebrity who’s been on the cover of Newsweek.” Kevin’s name has come out of the mouth of every major news anchor. His mommy adds, “He’s even had a hand in setting the national agenda, sparking new calls for corporeal punishment, juvenile death sentences, and the V-chip.” Kevin tells his mommy that the other boys at Claverack, “fucking worship me.” A movie is in the works about Kevin’s life, and there’s rumors that he’ll be played by Brad Pitt or Leonardo DiCaprio. As with the first four boys of Boys Who Kill, Kevin is a media sensation — practically everyone is talking about him. In his interview with telly documentarian, Kevin supplies insight on his stardom:
You wake up, you watch TV, and you get in the car and you listen to the radio. You go to your little job or your little school, but you’re not going to hear about that on the 6:00 news, since guess what. Nothing is really happening. You read the paper, or if you’re into that sort of thing you read a book, which is just he same as watching only even more boring. You watch TV all night, or maybe you can go out so you can watch a movie, and maybe you’ll get a phone call so you can tell your friends what you’ve been watching. And you know, it’s got so bad that I’ve started to notice, the people on TV? Inside the TV? Half the time they’re watching TV. Or if you’ve got some romance in a movie? What do they do but go to a movie…. What are they watching? People like me.
American and American-like worlds are un-magical, un-special, and utterly uneventful. To counter the meaningless, its citizens surround themselves with screens and noise so that they can see and hear creatures, like the Little Mermaid, the young Carrie Bradshaw, the Columbine BFFs, and Kevin, do things that they actually believe in. “Everything Americans do that doesn’t work out too great has to be somebody else’s fault,” proclaims Kevin. “Me, I stand by what I done.” The telly and movies world are for those with conviction. The American world is for dupes. Kevin lures his subjects into the gym by informing them (on school stationary) that they are recipients of new Bright and Shinning Promise awards. The teens are excited about the acclaim and recognition, but, like almost all commendation that comes from America, it turns out to be untrue. The teens were duped, and Kevin killings deleted further dupes from the world.
PS, I don’t think Kevin’s little sister was a dupe, and I don’t think he should’ve shot her with a crossbow, because she was princess-like and meek.
Tags: boys who kill, carrie bradshaw, cho seung-hui, columbine, dylan klebold, eric harris, lionel shriver, nathan leopold, richard loeb, robin hood, simone weil, the carrie diaries, we need to talk about kevin