Last night, Anderson Cooper 360 featured an interview with Violentacrez:
My reaction was one of distant sadness and pity. I feel sorry for him a now. After watching the interview, he’s more human and less of the monstrous other that I had built up in my head.
Michael Brutsch is a pathetic person for what he’s done. I didn’t find his apology sincere, and I can’t really tell what’s going on inside his head. That’s one reason I feel sorry for him – because he does not feel remorse for his actions, he’s not even the kind of sorry that’s only sorry he got caught.
In my time on Reddit, I had built Violentacrez into this a kind of charismatic Jack Nicholson-esque movie villian. I thought you needed more chutzpah to do the kinds of terrible things that he did. I didn’t think the average Cheetos eating, sweatpants wearing neckbeard he appears to be was capable of anything but whiny stubbornness. Watching the interview was a lesson about the banality of evil and how I must not have been paying attention to the Milgram study or the Zimbardo prison experiment in psychology, even though I would have sworn I could explain them to you right up until I saw that video.
What’s disturbing is that Michael Brutsch really does understand it, at least on the surface level. It’s all there in his explanation of how he loved all of the attention and positive reinforcement we gave him. He’s a monster, but we helped create him. Everyone who revered him as a leader and who reviled him as some kind of super human villain built up the mythos that he used to exploit girls and women.
This is one of the many dangers of dehumanizing one’s enemies. If you are only looking out for Darth Vader or The Borg Queen, you miss the creepy dude next door.