I’ve been reading up on rapists, sadists, mass-slayers and dictators for the last couple of weeks. August’s novel will be a serial killer book, which I’ve probably been putting off for a while.
It must be thirty years, give or take, since it was last fashionable to bone up on this sort of stuff. Back then, most of my favourite bands made reference to this sort of thing in song titles, in lyrics and on album covers.
And ever since then, people have been advising me to read ‘Somebody’s husband, somebody’s son’ and ‘The streetcleaner’, supposed to be the best books on Peter Sutcliffe.
So I finally got around to reading ‘Somebody’s husband, somebody’s son’, which is an excellent/disturbing book, focusing on Sutcliffe’s family and the police operation to catch him.
What I took away from the book (quite early on, if I’m honest) was the macho – and misogynist – culture that Sutcliffe lived and breathed, the backdrop against which he operated.
Wife battering was prevalent (although Sutcliffe seems not to have been a practitioner). If kicking fuck out of a woman who belongs to you is okay, then it’s not a huge leap to smashing women you don’t know over the head with a hammer.
I don’t intend to write a book about Sutcliffe. As one of his psychiatrists said, if you take away his crimes, he’s a pretty boring individual.
I do, however, want to look at what drives us to kill and mutilate. one of the books I’ve been looking into is ‘Worse than war’, a study of the philosophy of exterminationism – the mindset that completely justifies writing off part of the human race – and after that, as Sade said, “no torture is too great for them”.
From the Amin’s Ugandan secret police to the Balkan rapes via that nice Mr. Cameron’s (and that nice Mr. Hitler’s) attacks on the disabled, there are no shortage of philosophies where diffrunt peepil don’t count and don’t matter.

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