The type of speculation that caught my eye enough to want to blog about it is the one about the books the shooter listed as his favorites. Apparently, we can tell a lot about a person by the books he has read, or at least claims to have read (or anyhow just lists on a YouTube profile as "favorites"). 3 Quarks Daily links to an article from The Christian Science Monitor that just does this: ask what can we learn about the shooter from the books on his (virtual) bookshelf? I found the idea a bit ridiculous, but speculating is something the U.S. media does very well. By the way, you can find other relevant links at the CSM story.
So, I wondered, what if someone looked over some of the books I have read recently, what would they think about me? Keep in mind that, like the article, we are mostly going by the books listed. Would someone be calling the FBI? Would folks think I am a nutjob? Or something worse? In the interest of a little amusement, let's pick out some recent selections from my "Books Read" shelf over on GoodReads, throw in some snark, and see just what can we learn about this librarian. Oh, and before we go on, I had another question. Did the people doing the judging and speculating actually read any of the books listed on the shooter's list? Or did they simply speculate on the basis of titles or "common knowledge." For example, for Mein Kampf, which the shooter lists, did the critics just go, "holy shit! He lists Hitler's book. I have not read it, but damn, that means the guy is a sicko"?
So here is my book sampling and my speculation exercise. Just pretend some reporter got a hold of my booklist and went wild with it. You can find my reviews of the books in my GoodReads shelf if interested.
- The two hardcover compilations of The Walking Dead:
- "This guy must be obsessed with doomsday scenarios and the breakdown of society. It's got zombies in it, so he probably has an interest in the occult, making him antisocial and possibly anti-Christian (because we all know the only religion to be taken seriously in the U.S. is Protestant Christianity. If you like zombies, you like the occult, so therefore you are not Christian, which must mean you are bad).
- Armando Choy et.al., Nuestra historia aún se esta escribiendo. (this is the history of the Chinese-Cuban generals I recently read).
- "The guy is a fucking commie who glorifies Fidel and his generals. Why does he hate America?" (by the way, notice the automatic assumption, typical in the U.S., that America is just the United States. Last I looked, Cuba, along with the rest of Latin America as well as Canada, is part of America. You get extra points if you say something about the book being in Spanish, namely a foreign language, and wondering if it says something bad about Americans in general).
- Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.
- "The man is a socialist and a troublemaker. Somebody should keep an eye on him because he's probably plotting something."
- Kelly Huegel's GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Queer and Questioning Teens.
- "The guy is a fag sympathizer; hell, he is probably a closeted pervert looking to indoctrinate young people into the 'gay agenda' to destroy 'traditional' family values."
- Ted Nugent's Ted, White & Blue.
- "This guy is a right wing nutjob (hey, if Obama can be a fascist AND a socialist, this is not that much of a stretch).
- Eric Garcia's The Repossession Mambo.
- "The guy clearly hates banks, Wall Street, and financial institutions. His house is probably on foreclosure or already repossessed by the bank."
- Jack Huberman's The Quotable Atheist.
- "See, we told you. He is a pervert, communist, fascist who hates Christians. The guy is an effing atheist. Do you really need more proof?"
- James Morrow's Bible Stories for Adults.
- "Not only is he an atheist pervert, but he is also a porn fiend who enjoys twisted porn that desecrates the Bible."
- Hiroshi Sakurazaka's All You Need is Kill.
- "Holy Shit! This guy is a serial killer just waiting to go on a shooting spree. He is probably suicidal too. Call the authorities now."