Seung-Hui Cho Revisited

So Dana Goldstein went and read the Wesley Yang essay on "The Face of Seung-Hui Cho" in N + 1 that I recommended so highly earlier and came away with some criticisms. Or, rather, she came across a somewhat ambiguous passage which, if you construe one way, seems to be making an objectionable claim. When I read that part, I assumed that that wasn't what Yang was trying to say since, as Dana argues, that wouldn't be a very smart thing to say.

In general, I think it's usually wise to be generous in your interpretation of other people's arguments when they don't have some kind of bad track record or something. At any rate, Yang himself jumps into the comment thread and says what I would have expected him to say -- that's not what he meant, and the essay isn't really about why Seung-Hui Cho become a mass murderer at all. Rather, it's about looking into the face of a mass murderer and seeing and exploring character traits that are much more widespread.