by Joy Tomme
Remember Momism? Phillip Wylie coined the phrase “momism” in his 1942 savagely spiteful collection of screeds called “Generation of Vipers” in which he ranted on and on about everything that was wrong with everything…the world’s devotion to mothers being only one of society’s pathologies which, according to Wylie, had ruined the world.
Were Wylie alive today (he died of a heart attack in 1971)…one wonders if he would devote a few thousand choice words to Kidism.
I mention this, only because of the May 23rd killing spree of University of California student Elliot Rodger in Santa Barbara. The thing that is not mentioned much, but that probably carries more importance as to the “why” of this rampage than any other reason is that Elliot Rodger’s every whim during childhood was indulged in by his parents. Elliot Rodger’s parents practiced kidism to its maximum degree.
At one point in his 141-page Manifesto, Rodger says that after his parents divorced when he was seven years old he liked staying with his mother more than his father because “she indulged me more than my father”. But it was his father who had the bigger house, more money, more wherewithal to indulge his son. Young Elliot may have liked his mother’s parenting more, but he loved the grandiosity of his father’s life-style. And in fact, he said he was embarrassed by his mother’s small house.
Elliot Rodger speaks of how he was short and underdeveloped when he was young, that he was bullied and not liked in school, that he was made fun of. But when he was at home, it is clear he was a very important person…he had power. He developed a sense that just being Elliot Rodger entitled him to happiness, love, respect and actually, anything he wanted…he didn’t have to do anything, or in Rodger’s estimation, he shouldn’t have had to do anything but sit back and receive the perks he saw others had and that he was, by his very existence, entitled to.
The Rodger’s raised a brat. And, needless to say, not all brats go on to kill people when the world doesn’t reward them for being alive. But the current trend toward kidism among parents is certainly raising thousands of brats and Elliot Rodger was one of those entitled brats.
Yes, Elliot Rodger acquired an arsenal of guns to complete his massacre. But it’s not the guns and it’s not the NRA in this particular shooting scenario that are to blame for these killings. It’s Elliot Rodger’s sense of foiled entitlement that made him want to exact revenge.
He said that girls were his problem…girls didn’t like him. Rodger never considered that he was unlikeable or that in any relationship he had to earn love and respect. He certainly hadn’t needed to give anything back to his parents in the way of being loving. He had only needed to demand, or whine, or cry or have a tantrum. Elliot Rodger was raised to expect the world should react to him in the same way his parents had reacted—everyone should love him, praise him, give him whatever he wanted because he existed.
Had Rodger not been able to acquire guns, he would have built bombs…or used knives, hatpins or razor blades to kill people because the world needed to know that Elliot Rodger was worthy of worship, not dismissal, sleights and disregard.
Was Elliot Rodger just a brat gone wrong, or was he a sociopath or psychopath? These are unanswered questions, and they may be unanswerable. But the kidism practiced by his parents cannot be discounted.