Boys Who Kill: Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb

HIST leo01.jpg

The third installment of Boys Who Kill stars Nathan Leopold (right) and Richard Loeb (left). On 21 May 1924 in Chicago, Nathan and Richard kidnapped and killed a 14-year-old boy.

Nathan and Richard each had daddies who amassed mountains of money. Nathan’s daddy owned one of the biggest shipping business in the country and Richard’s daddy was the vice president of Sears Roebuck. But the wealth that surrounded them didn’t dispel boredom. The two didn’t want money, they aimed for fame, sensationalism, and transgression. One of Richard’s favorite dreams had him as a notorious criminal who was beat and whipped in public, with girls and boys arriving in droves to express their mixture of awe, sympathy, and disgust. As for Nathan, he envisioned himself as a king’s favorite slave. One day, Nathan saved the king’s life, and the king offered to set him free, but, being loyal, Nathan declined. Both fantasies are rather Jean Genet: they are sumptuous, romantic, and somewhat sordid.

Like that French prison boy, Nathan and Richard carried out many crimes, including stealing automobiles and smashing bricks through windows. Mostly, though, the crimes were initiated by Richard, who insisted that Nathan come along to serve as an audience. After the two stole a typewriter and other possessions from Richard’s former frat house at the University of Michigan, Nathan became upset at Richard because the latter wasn’t wasn’t having enough xxx with the former.

Nathan and Richard’s friendship/boyfriendship sort of resembles the typical depiction (though it’s likely bullcrap) of Eric and Dylan. Eric is the aggressor and Dylan is the follower. Eric constructed NBK and Dylan just acquiesced. It’s also been rumored that Eric and Dylan liked boys (though that’s definitely bullcrap). Columbine jocks told the media that the two BFFs were a part of the Trench Coat Mafia, whose members touched one another in hallways and convened group showers. In Gus Van Sant’s Elephant, the two Columbine-esque boys get into the shower together and kiss and maybe do other things before they commit their high school massacre.

But Nathan and Richard really did like boys. Though Richard was perceived as the leader, he was the one who took it in the tushy. That this is so, sort of confounds how boys who take in the tushy are assessed. Richard engineered many crimes, including murder, so maybe boys who take in the tushy aren’t all basic bitches after all. Another hypothetical reason for why Richard took it in the tushy is, as he declared to friends, he didn’t need xxx. Richard was beyond lust and all of that other stuff that occupies the ironic minds of 20-something Brooklyners day and night. The symbolism about taking it in the tushy had no effect on him, as he only cared about a life of crime.


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November 24th, 2009 / 11:55 pm

A Little Friday Inspiration


“Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood.”

Now let’s get out there and write some fiction or poetry, people.

From The Nietzsche Family Circus.

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March 13th, 2009 / 2:28 pm

Thus spoke Pink, a review

When first encountering Sam Pink’s writing, one may be tempted to dismiss it, as I did, as adolescent misanthropy seasoned with Asperger’s syndrome. It’s hard to get past the graphic violence and misogyny. Though, if there is such a thing as an open mind, on a good day I think I have one, so I asked Sam to send me Yum Yum I Can’t Wait to Die, which he did.

I was immediately struck by how such dense ideas could be evoked/initiated by such simple and direct language. His writing is quite philosophical, yet not in some alienating solipsist way. I found myself re-reading sentences, trying to get my head around certain turns of phrases or concepts. He has a riddle-like way of saying things. Around the seventh page, I said to myself, “This is guy is fucking Nietzsche.” Both of them are able to get to truth while sounding like an asshole.

Yum Yum I Can’t Wait to Die is comprised of little aphorisms and modern pedestrian allegories, of a guy who is, well, completely fucked in the head. This may not be the most original motif, but Pink is less interested in his narrator, and more so on ideas. It’s a mixed bag of philosophy, hilarity, and rare moments of genuine sadness—made striking by Pink’s unlikely empathy. He speaks of a timeless omnipresent wind outlasting all of us; his dog protecting unbaptized babies in purgatory; leaves and twigs distorting the surface of a puddle, spraying the moon with blood, and so on. Each part is a violent haiku. And there are moments of stunning loneliness, marked by self-effacing irony:

Today a telemarketer called and I said, “Please don’t hang up on me. Please.”

Of course, before we start thinking this guy is Basho or Issa, he offers this:

I want to blow my head off with a shotgun, into the open birth canal of whatever pop star is currently cool, so she has to menstruate my splattered skull and brains.

Such hyperbolic violence is either rhetorical device, or Pink is truly a little insane. I doubt Sam Pink is actually his name. I imagine a guy whose snorted his own semen for material (pun intended). The object of his ‘ambivalent’ (to put it lightly) affection is an unnamed and vaguely implied girl, and one forgets the philosophy and realizes that this is just some lonely loser. Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to jump into the narrator’s shoes. We’ve all been lonely, some of us still are. Pink’s words have a way to jumping inside you and moving organs around. To read him is to see things from a new inverted angle. He says, in my favorite line:

And when your mind is a field your tongue is a cloud.

Now my thoughts grow up-side-down towards a voiceless mouth. Thank you Sam Pink, you sick fuck.

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October 30th, 2008 / 4:37 pm