ELLIOT RODGER, "INCEL MENTALITY" AND THE FALL OF ELIAS ROGIER
"The Supreme Gentleman" tells the "coming of age"-tale of Elias Rogier, a sexually frustrated young man, who posits the meaning of his life as vengeance. The film is based on the true story of Elliot Rodger, who in 2014 committed an attack in the collegetown Santa Barbara in California. Rodger's attack can justly be described as the very extreme of the sort of behaviour which flows from an "incel mentality."
Incels, or "involuntary celibates," are an online community made up of mostly men, who subscribe to the overarching ideology, that the world is bound by a certain sexual hierarchy to which they have fallen victim. At the top of the totempole are the 'chads', the alpha males, who wrap women around their finger without any effort. Beneath them we find, for instance, 'cucks' or beta males, who do get intimacy but only conditionally. Incels are at the bottom of the hierarchy and their lives are excluded from any kind of romantic or sexual relationship in general. Be it because of their looks (the structure of their skull, their height, their wristsize, etc.), their race (think of terms such as 'blackcel'. 'ricecel' or 'currycel') or a psychological defect (as would be the case with 'mentalcels'). Incels often view their position at the bottom of the 'sexual hierarchy' as inevitable. Biological and psychological traits seem after all to imply a certain permanency. It also happens however that incels blame their 'fate' on the sexual revolution and the rise of feminism. In the case of Rodger, his position would ultimately stem from the fact that he is not a part of the human race at all. Instead, he lives above humanity as a god.
A 'virgin vs. chad'-meme, originating from the website 4chan.org in 2017.
This sexual frustration of the incels often expresses itself in sexist, mysoginist or misanthropic behaviour. And in the extreme case in transgressive behaviour of an unusually violent nature. As was the case with Rodger, but also those who let themselves be inspired by his deeds (Nikolas Cruz or Alek Minassian for instance).
Elliot Rodger (2014)
Of course, cases such as Rodger's are an exception to the rule. And it seems difficult to ascribe just one cause to an act such as his, let alone subribing to a particular ideology. Still, it remains inevitability, that this kind of ideology will express itself violently either way. Be it in words or deeds, emotionally or physically. And what we can have the least doubts about is that this ideology does violence to the exact individual who first establishes it in the world. And it is precisely this aspect of Rodger's story which this film seeks to investigate: the way in which Rodger did, in the first place, was behaving violently towards himself, by shaping his world according to a specific frame of mind. To do this we will rely on a couple of crucial passages from Rodger's manifesto. We will show the 'slice of life' in which our charachter, the 22 year old student Elias Rogier, makes his pessimistic ideology final.
Elias Rogier (2021)
What is Elias' relation to his peers? Wat does "hope" mean to him? What happens when this boy attends a typical college party? Wat kind of "lack" is it that he is living anyways? What is it that the behaviour of Elias evokes? Is it laughter, compassion or digust?
A USEFUL REFLECTION
I believe that the path of Elliot Rodger is a path that we are all on to a certain degree. This is , of course, not to say that we are all 'incels', but it does mean that all of us have the potential to resemble an incel; in reference to our behaviour, our worldview and the way in which we project our frustrations into our surrounding world. Therefore it is a useful exercise to, in light of such a consideration, investigate in which way this resemblance exists. And it is precisely the story of Elliot Rodger which motivates us towards such an investigation. One wants to understand Rodger, but as soon as one lingers on his case one discovers that no explanation suffices. And this enduring fascination is what drives me towards making this film. When I first encountered Rodger's manifesto, I could not keep my eyes from it. His story is horror, tragedy and comedy all at once: a riddle which does not let itself be solved. It is without a doubt that film is the means for encouraging the kind of reflection that I'm interested in to a broader audience. But the making of a just translation of this story obviously requires the gathering of a group of enthousiastic and talented actors and crew, equipment, props, clothing, make-up and all other means necessary to ensure a succesful production and post-production process. I have dug deep into my own pockets to finance all of these means, but unfortunately I didn't find enough there. And this is why I am asking for your support.
– Klaas Bonnema
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