Here’s what Stephen King has to say about Cho Seung-Hui:
For most creative people, the imagination serves as an excretory channel for violence: We visualize what we will never actually do…Cho doesn’t strike me as in the least creative, however. Dude was crazy. Dude was, in the memorable phrasing of Nikki Giovanni, ”just mean.” Essentially there’s no story here, except for a paranoid a–hole who went DEFCON-1. He may have been inspired by Columbine, but only because he was too dim to think up such a scenario on his own.
This is disappointing. Rather than taking a golden opportunity to seriously address the rush to judgment and blame we’ve witnessed in the media this week, King goes the easy route by turning glib. Writers, health providers, police officers, professors, university administrators and (don’t forget!) gamers have all had their turns being thrown under the bus; and while he does flippantly mention in the opening graf of this that his “own college writing…would have raised red flags,” King seems to go out of his way to drop some distasteful epithets. He’s quick to align himself with Nikki Giovanni here, but King never spent time in the classroom with Cho, and like 99.9% of us out here on The Internets, he hadn’t read a word of his creative writing until after Monday’s awful events.
I trust Giovanni’s assessment and think she is well-founded in describing Cho and his work as “mean.” I’m bothered, though, by King’s own meanness here. It has been well-established that like Charles Whitman before him, Cho suffered from severe mental depression. In describing Cho through such tender mercies as “dim,” someone who “doesn’t strike me as in the least creative,” and “Dude was crazy…a paranoid a–hole who went DEFCON-1,” King does little to elevate the discourse.
Which I suppose explains why “Dude” is Contributing Editor of Entertainment Weekly…