“It started like most murder sprees do these days: in an online discussion board. Well, I say ‘discussion board’ – it was the comments section below an educational video. Well, I say ‘educational’ – it was more like… well, it was a video of a guy crushing a glass jar in his anus.”
These words were spoken to me from behind a thick glass screen, through a prison phone.
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Speaking to me on the subject that had led to his arrest, the attempted murder of all five members of the pop rock band ‘Status Quo’, was a young man called Incel McMurderous. The unusual name, he claimed, was the result of his having allowed a message board on Reddit to legally change his name to whatever they decided.
The teenager continued to describe to me the moment he was first introduced to radical political theory, on the website www.wreckedrectums.com, saying:
“Some commenter called ‘Ass-BreathKiller69’ really made me start thinking about political theory when he compared the video of the jar being crushed up that dude’s arse with the state of contemporary society. He said that Status Quo is inherently destructive, and that it forces us to do meaningless, immoral things for the sake of its own experimental continuation.
“I replied to him saying Status Quo aren’t that experimental; Rockin’ All Over The World is hardly Eleanor Rigby. He just sent back ‘lmao’. I realised then that I was being stupid. There was clearly a lot more to this band than irritatingly catchy pop songs.”
Perhaps it was appropriate, considering how it began, that Incel’s radicalisation journey was, in his words, “a right pain in the arse.” It separated him from friends, family, and all the followers on his Tom Hardy appreciation instagram page.
“I just stopped talking to people about anything other than Status Quo. All anyone could speak to me about was the inevitable collapse of our planet’s ecosystems, the complete loss of the concept of privacy to unaccountable global technology companies, and the further slides towards incompetent right-wing populism, that would all happen if Status Quo was allowed to continue without radical transformation.
“I stopped eating, I stopped sleeping. I just read comments from Ass-BreathKiller69 all day, every day, because I knew he was the only person telling the truth about Status Quo. Before I finally went to kill the band, I wrote the Ass-BreathKiller69 manifesto on his behalf, which I think should be required reading for every politician.”
The Ass-BreathKiller69 manifesto is a surprisingly complex political document, touching on ecology, surveillance and even extremist violence, and relating them to literary works such as Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Attempts to link these complex political issues to a pop-rock band from the 70s, however, seem at all times like nonsensical overreaches. When I pressed Incel about that, he replied:
“Look, I know that now. I have realised at this point that it doesn’t make sense. Some tiny little rock band with no overt political opinions are somehow controlling the entire world? I mean when has anyone ever believed that a tiny group of people with no set ideology could be behind everything negative about the way the world works? People are too clever for that.
“What I think people don’t understand when I tell them about this is that I’m not an Ass-Breath Killer, because I think it is true. I killed Richie Malone and John ‘Rhino’ Edwards because I want it to be true. We’re all stuck in a mason jar up a man’s anal passage, and the walls are closing in. Obviously, the problem is the oppressive pressure of the sphincter, and we should be focusing our attention on holding that back from crushing us all.
“But have you ever tried holding someone’s sphincter open against their will? Believe me, it’s not easy.”
When I pressed Incel on how he came to this knowledge, he waved me off, and continued:
“It’s much easier to sit in the jar, and blame someone else who’s also in the jar, and kill them. And maybe you’ll turn out to be right. Maybe you’re not in an anus at all, and in fact would be really happy in the jar if you just killed a pop group that tours around it.”
At this point, Incel could tell that he was losing me with his metaphor, and simply said:
“I tried to kill Status Quo because it was easier than fighting the status quo. But that’s not really going to change anything.
“The only true change can come,” he said, “from the collective action, the unification, of everyone oppressed by our current world.
“In other words, real change is what happens when everyone comes together at the bottom.”