Bloody trendsters

Bloody trendsters
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In what is hopefully nothing more than a gruesome coincidence, last week’s news cycle was oddly dominated a string of almost impossibly grotesque murders and assaults.

First there was the infamous “face-eating naked guy” in Florida, who chewed off a homeless man’s face on a Miami highway ramp. He was shot, but the hobo survived, God help him.

This was followed up by intestine-throwing Jersey guy, who apparently cut deep into his own guts and heaved organs and skin at the police during a domestic confrontation. He too, will evidently require some special care going forward.

Then there was the amateur MMA fighter in North Carolina who tore out his training buddy’s still-beating heart. But at least he didn’t eat it, which is more than we can say for this guy in Maryland.

By far the worst episode in what some have dubbed the “Zombie Apocalypse” and others the “Gore Spring,” however, is the Canadian case of Rocco Luka Magnotta.

Unlike the other nuts mentioned above, Magnotta was a reasonably competent, self-aware human. He was young and blandly good-looking, and worked as a male model and gay porn star in Montreal and Toronto. Never successfully, of course; he wasn’t very good at either, and mostly seems to have gone through life nursing illusions that he deserved better, constantly auditioning at reality shows and hanging out at trendy bars and making elaborate self-promotional websites and social media campaigns. I’m not interested in linking to such things, but you can very easily Google his name and find all manner of Magnotta-related content unrelated to his crimes. He was very much a savvy egotist of the digital age.

And like so many, he was also deft at using the net to satiate his most twisted fetishes and fantasies — in this case erotic snuff, which he both actively consumed and created. It began with animals; Magnotta has a literal oeuvre of self-directed videos in which he tortures baby cats, usually by suffocation. In one he dresses as Santa Claus and feeds them to a python. This is what I like doing, this is what I get off on, Magnotta wrote all over the place. You’re not going to stop me.

He was dating a 33-year-old Chinese student named Lin Jun. Then he decided to kill Lin Jun, so he tied him to the bed and stabbed him repeatedly with an ice pick. Then he slit his throat. Then he let his dog eat some of the guts. Then he had sex with the corpse. Then he chopped up the body and mailed a foot to the Conservative Party and a hand to the Liberals. He stupidly threw the torso out back with the trash, and someone found it, so here we are.

Oh yes, and he also filmed the entire thing for some gore-hungry snuff site, which apparently exist. Christie Blatchford in the National Post wrote an amazing and chilling account of the vile corner of the web that Magnotta apparently used as his outlet of choice; a community full of people so deranged and desensitized that they’re most troubled by  the background music of Lin Jun’s video slaughter.

Magnotta is still at large, though as I write this there are rumours of sightings in Paris. The Canadian press has obviously been subjecting us to round-the-clock details of the case, including ever deeper dips into the twisted and elaborate social scene Magnotta inhabited, including the men and women he dated, his brushes his ordinary people, and his various (now haunting) appearances in the mainstream media.

The irony is that the obsessive coverage of Magnotta and his corpse-mangling contemporaries occurs at precisely the same moment considerably worse carnage is unfolding in Syria. I’m not generally one to play the righteously overwrought “we don’t care unless it happens here” card, but it’s still hard to escape the feeling that there’s something a bit off with our lurid and angry fascination with the supposedly worst-of-the-worst domestic criminals at a time when similar crimes are routinely committed at a much vaster scale at the hands of foreign despots. Even someone like Ted Bundy, usually the very synonym of pure evil in a domestic context, killed less than half as many innocent civilians in his whole lifetime as the Syrians massacred last Friday.

In other words, while a lone act of evil only requires a single ambitious psychopath, truly mass evil requires a government. It would be nice if we didn’t have so many of the former running the latter.


  1. David

    "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic." – Joseph Stalin

    And this is, in a nutshell, why Magnotta et. al get press time away from al-Assad

  2. @Cristiona

    Or, like Megadeth said (cribbing from Jean Rostand): "Kill a man and you're a murderer, kill many and you're a conqueror, kill them all, you're a god."

    al-Assad kills many.

  3. Taylor

    Surprised the Canadian media fell for the whole "dating Homolka" thing, given his years of bizarre self promotion.

    Actually, thinking again, I'm not.

  4. Aidinthel

    I'm inclined to doubt that there's anything special about these murders; it's probably just that we're paying more attention than usual. I remember watching a Discovery Channel show about the so-called "Summer of the Shark" or something in 2001 when the media flipped out about shark attacks and the year actually had slightly fewer than average.

  5. Jbot

    "Oh yes, and he also filmed the entire thing for some gore-hungry snuff site, which apparently exist."

    It's called the darknet, and it can only be reached with certain know-how and certain programs. You can't stumble upon it; you have to know how to find it and go looking for this sick and twisted stuff. It would turn your stomach to see the kind of stuff that gets put up there.

  6. Guest

    "Then he chopped up the body and mailed a foot to the Conservative Party and a hand to the Liberals."
    So it seems the NDP is still considered a third party, despite being official opposition? I mean, he clearly had a spare hand and foot.

  7. JohnStJames

    Even this sicko knows that the Orange Wave is a temporary phenomenon. Why waste a perfectly good appendage on a bunch of nobodies?

  8. JonasB

    My understanding is that the users of the gore site were responsible for identifying Magnotta.

  9. Zulu

    JJ, I'm disappointed in your article. I thought you were going to talk about how the internet HELPED identify the murder suspect Magnotta. The fact is that internet users on identified the alledged killer days before police did. They notified police (including American police and the FBI), and were dismissed. Police said the video was a fake, while internet users (which include lawyers and medical professionals that have experience in this matter) said it was very real and the purpetrator must be caught. This gave Magnotta 3 days to dispose the body and leave the country. Had police heeded their word, they might have caught Magnotta in the act of getting rid of the body. But no; they're just sick desensitized guys that love gore. Now, Magnotta is loose, looking for his next victim. (Just got word he was just arrested!!!). All this could have been avoided.

    BTW, only one user commented on the music of the video being scary. Please don't characterize hundreds of thousands with one person's words. That's what the mainstream media does.

  10. Jake_Ackers

    The unexpected draws attention. Genocide in a 3rd world country is common place and people feel like they can't do much. While craziness in a 1st world country hits closer to home.

    One crazy man is more dangerous than a dictator. Why? How many Dictators are in Canada like Assad? How many crazy people are in Canada? A whole not more. In a first world country, especially Western Europe/North America you are way less likely to the victim of a dictator as opposed to a crazy person.

  11. Monte

    Today's news says that just located and arrested Magnotta in Berlin.

  12. Gray

    I'd heard that story (on the radio, NPR/BBC World Service I think), but I didn't have a frame of reference. And hearing a fifteen second blurb about "the gay porn star who sent body parts to politicians" left me, well, a bit confused to say the least (particularly when no murder was mentioned in the blurb and I didn't hear a longer story).

  13. Sisi

    All of this INCLUDING the murders might possibly have been avoided if this man's acts against animals were taken for the serious crimes they should be but are not.

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