Mucko’s wish list

The internet is exciting and new, we all know that. And we also know

that it can be used for nefarious purposes. But today I came across

something I never really thought I’d see, although in retrospect it

was obvious it would happen. Michael McDermott, the man who shot

seven people dead in Boston, had a Wish

List on Amazon.com, which anyone can look at.

Amazon’s wish lists are a weird mixture of the public and the private:

they’re not the sort of thing you expect complete strangers to parse,

as surely people across the country are doing now (and as I’m doing

here), yet at the same time they are public documents, reflecting

both your desires and how you might wish to be seen by your acquintances.

McDermott, known as Mucko (he even registered the domain name mucko.com)

describes himself on his Amazon page as “Uncle Mucko, a big, fat, hairy

guy with glasses.” The last bit we already knew about, but the Uncle

bit is disconcerting: there’s nothing avuncular about storming into

your office with a shotgun and blowing away half a dozen of your co-workers.

All the same, the nickname was given to him by his nephews and nieces,

so there’s probably nothing creepy about it.

It seems unlikely that McDermott thought of himself as a person

likely to go postal, and there’s really no evidence from his wish

list that he had any kind of psychopathic tendencies.

McDermott started his wishlist on March 14, with a request for a

VHS tape of Wizards, a very poorly-received animated feature

by cult cartoonist Ralph Bakshi

(Fritz the Cat). With its fantasy-world setting of post-apocalyptic

wizards and elves, it fits right in to the stereotype of what a lonely

nerd like McDermott would like, but in fact it’s atypical of the other

films on his list.

For one thing, it’s the only VHS film on the list: all the others

are DVDs. And for another, it’s obscure. Nearly every other film on

McDermott’s extensive list is a famous movie most cinema-literate

people will know.

The Wish List started getting much more mainstream with McDermott’s

next two additions, on March 20 and 22: The Shawshank Redemption

and There’s Something About Mary œ which still hasn’t been

released on DVD. Both films seem typical McDermott fare: the former

a well-received example of what Hollywood is capable of at its best,

the latter an equally well-received example of Hollywood pitching

itself squarely at the lowest common denominator.

After adding Ace Ventura: Pet Detective on July 3, McDermott

then went on something of a spree July 14, adding 17 new DVDs to his

list. Maybe he expected some friendly person would buy him the lot,

maybe he wanted to give people a large array of films they could choose

from, maybe he just wanted to keep a list of his favourite films.

Maybe he decided to upgrade his collection from VHS to DVD. We’re

unlikely to know for a long time, if ever.

The real heart of the Wish List, however, was added on September

18, when McDermott added 43 new DVDs. There are no books on the list,

no CDs, and certainly no electronic gadgets or garden furniture. It’s

just films.

It turns out that McDermott didn’t have bad taste, really. He was

something of a completist: if he wanted Lethal Weapon or The

Naked Gun, he had to have all of the sequels as well. (Ace

Ventura: When Nature Calls was added on September 18.) But the

themes running through his choices are all perfectly respectable.

There are five Bill Murray films, three each with Kenneth Branagh

and Jack Nicholson, and no fewer than seven Mel Gibson flicks, thanks

to all the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon sequels.

McDermott liked classic comedy, with choices ranging from The

Jerk and A Fish Called Wanda to classics from Tim Burton

and Terry Gilliam. Most of all, however, he liked science fiction:

nothing particularly out of the ordinary there.

Of course, there’s no reason why any of this should come as a surprise.

That Michael McDermott had decent taste in film is no less likely,

on the face of it, than if he’d turned out to have good taste in wine,

or in art. But the difference is that had McDermott’s Wish List turned

out to be full of bloody slasher flicks, all manner of cultural conservatives

would be running out of the woodwork to denounce the way in which

Hollywood corrupts Americans.

But it’ll be hard for anybody to start pointing to films like Total

Recall and Conan the Barbarian as morally dangerous, especially

when they share billing with The Princess Bride and Ferris

Bueller’s Day Off.

Rather, what we have learned from Michael McDermott is that mass

murderers aren’t always hormone-addled teenagers, or illiterate gun

freaks; that they can be funny guys who quote The Hitchhiker’s

Guide to the Galaxy on their answering machines and who get into

trouble with the tax man. In other words, they can be a lot like the

rest of us. Thank god for the big beard, eh: otherwise, McDermott

might seem just a little bit too normal for comfort.

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13 Responses to Mucko’s wish list

  1. Jimbob says:

    How do you think a guy like McDermott will fare in jail?

  2. a friend says:

    I think Mike will fare pretty much the same as anyone else in prison. He’s a big enough guy that I don’t think many people will want to mess with him, and he can look scary if he wants to, but don’t be fooled by his eyes. I knew him and his entire family in high school, and they all have the same eyes. He was a very intelligent, funny, and sensitive guy, and was well liked. It’s a tragedy that his life has been screwed up by depression and financial and other life problems which eventually pushed him beyond what he could tolerate. Not that I condone mass murder– I’m just saying I think I may have some understanding of what got him to that point. I hope he finds some peace in prison, just as I hope his victims’ families can find a way not to let this tragedy completely ruin their lives as well.

  3. blah says:

    “…I’m just saying I think I may have some understanding of what got him to that point.”

    Do you even understand what he did to those seven people? There is no way to understand what he did. Cold-blooded murder is wrong and nothing could ever justify it. “Gee, my wages are being garnished by my employer to pay a debt to the I.R.S., I think I’ll kill that lady in accounting, and anyone else who may get in my way.” Yeah, that makes it OK in my book! Jackass.

  4. Amy says:

    One of the victims Michael McDermott killed was my cousin, Paul Marceau. Paul was only 36 years old and the father of two young children. He did not deserve to die. He did nothing to Michael McDermott. In fact, he was simply having papers signed off on by the accounting department…he didn’t even work in that group.

    I do not understand how anyone can sympathize or wonder what went wrong with Michael McDermott. Many people have bad experiences in their lives. That doesn’t justify a crime such as the one he committed. He took seven lives because of roughly a little over 5,000.00 that HE owed.

    What was said about all of the victims…was that they were the nicest group of people you could ever hope to meet or work with. Their families have all suffered tremendous loss that they will have to deal with for the rest of their lives. That is tragic.

  5. In response to the above messages, there is no mystery about McDermott. He wasn’t some poor, depressed person who had financial problems. Neither did he become violent overnight. The truth is, he had $150,000.00 in the bank at the time of the shootings, which he used to pay his high profile lawyer. He was a long-term vocal NRA member who, typical to his kind of gun user, viewed weapons as a means to obtain the power he so lacked inside himself. He was a narcissist, pure and simple. He murdered for the glory he would obtain from it. His family offered no condolences to any of the victim’s families. On the contrary, they put us through an unnecessary and heartrwrenching trial, all so their little Mikey , even at 44 years old, could remain irresponsible. These are not “intelligent” people. These are people who haven’t yet learned that the world doesn’t evolve around them.

  6. nunya says:

    Dear “friend”, I think you should choose your friends a little more wisely. McDermott only cared about himself, period. He thinks he’s a rocket scientist, maybe he should invent a lubricated butt plug because hopefully he will need it daily. He is nothing more than a filthy piece of crap and deserves to rot in hell. I know McDermott and his family also, which is unfortunate for me and the rest of the world. Good for you, big deal, you knew a filthy murderer and your crusade is to let the world know he was a victim of “society”. Please!!!! The only tragedy is the fact he was born. The only victims are the seven beautiful, innocent people he murdered for no reason at all. Get a clue you moron. No email supplied because your not worth it.

  7. nunya says:

    Dear “family member”.

    God Bless you

  8. Die Mucko says:

    I think the filthy maggot should have his balls cut off and crammed down his murdering queer throught.

  9. i think you lowered my iq says:

    please remove your fithy piece of shit from this world because people could benifit from you crawling in a hole and sitting their in a helpless pile of shit with you rot with your psychotic ideas. Have a nice fucking life knowing that you support someone who couldn’t take into reason that everyone has problems. But wait , you don’t see them going out and killing people for their own selfish desire to proclaim that they are a fucktard! (yes that is my own little word made just for “fucko”) :-D hope you fall into a reversable depression knowing what you have done and die a revolting, long lasting suffering death

  10. DA BIRDMAN Mitch Pavelko says:

    I KNEW MUCKO IN HIGH SCHOOL TOO. HE FUCKED BITCHES AND GOT MONEY WITH THAT BEARD OF HIS. HE WAS A JIGALO AND A PROUD MEMBER OF THE NAACP. HE KILLED HITLER!! HE THOUGHT HE DID A NOBLE DEED, SO SHOW SOME RESPECT!!

  11. DA BIRDMAN Mitch Pavelko says:

    I KNEW MUCKO IN HIGH SCHOOL TOO. HE FUCKED BITCHES AND GOT MONEY WITH THAT BEARD OF HIS. HE WAS A JIGALO AND A PROUD MEMBER OF THE NAACP. HE KILLED HITLER!! HE THOUGHT HE DID A NOBLE DEED, SO SHOW SOME RESPECT!!

  12. DA BIRDMAN Mitch Pavelko says:

    I KNEW MUCKO IN HIGH SCHOOL TOO. HE FUCKED BITCHES AND GOT MONEY WITH THAT BEARD OF HIS. HE WAS A JIGALO AND A PROUD MEMBER OF THE NAACP. HE KILLED HITLER!! HE THOUGHT HE DID A NOBLE DEED, SO SHOW SOME RESPECT!!

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