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The Aurora tragedy raises the haunting question: Why does pop culture inspire people to kill?

When a deranged killer sits in a courtroom, arraigned on the charges that have made him an overnight media icon of evil, all the clich├ęs about his previous non-behavior — he was “quiet,” he was “a loner,” there was “nothing remarkable” about him — tend to be incarnated in the disaffected blankness of his stare. Looking at the newspaper, or the TV or computer screen, we scrutinize his weirdly bland, impassive image, searching for a clue to the disorder of his mind, and almost inevitably (even in the case of, say, Jeffrey Dahmer) we see nothing. But when James Holmes, the 24-year-old lone gunman of the Dark Knight massacre, sat down in court on Monday, he didn’t recede into “anonymous” blankness — and that, of course, is because he was still wearing the chilling emblem of his madness: the hair that he had dyed bright orange, in a Day-Glo simulation of the Joker’s loony-tunes coif. Seeing that hair was more than just creepy and disturbing as hell. It made me angry, as if Holmes was mocking his victims, saying, in essence: I’m still the Joker — and you’d better believe I’d do it again. READ FULL STORY

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