“Ted Bundy was one of us!”
Ted Bundy was a serial killer and rapist who murdered at least 36 young women. In some cases, he performed sex acts with their dead bodies and kept their severed heads as mementos in his apartment.
But for some liberals, and particularly feminists, that’s not the most triggering thing about the man.
In response to a pair of movies about Bundy released last week, one a documentary miniseries on Netflix and the other a feature film, race- and gender-conscious commentators expressed outrage at the killer’s supposed handsomeness and “white privilege” ― deeming them proof that America is a white supremacist patriarchy.
On Monday, feminist feeding ground Refinery 29 published an essay with the headline “Ted Bundy Wasn’t Special Or Smart. He Was Just White.” Politics reporter Ashley Alese Edwards complained therein that both the new movies celebrate Bundy as “artful, handsome, and exceptionally intelligent” ― a regular “machiavellian Romeo.”
Edwards went on to make the case that the news media covered Bundy in much the same way back in the 1970s and 1980s, when he was making headlines for his gruesome acts and charming judges and reporters. She also insisted that Bundy wasn’t actually that special when it came to being smart, sexy, or good at crime.
“What Bundy did have was the power of being a white man in a society that reveres them and has implicit faith in their abilities. This privilege gave Bundy the ability to make even the most heinous of crimes take second place to his personality,” she said. “Even when convicted of the most depraved crimes, a white man’s supposed potential will supersede reality.”
That kind of deference, Edwards continued, is rarely “afforded to men of color, particularly those who are Black.”
if ur gonna say things like “ted bundy was the LEAST likely serial killer!” “ted bundy was one of us!” “ted bundy didn’t match the typical serial killer profile!” then u should also talk about white supremacy & the way it paints white cis manhood as “innocent” by default ok!!!!!!
— olivia gatwood (@oliviagatwood) January 28, 2019
Here’s a big You’re Wrong About: Ted Bundy was not hot, nor was he particularly smart. He was an average white guy who evaded the suspicions of other average white guys for so long mostly because he reminded them so much of themselves. https://t.co/Q3Tfma00CF
— Sarah Marshall (@Remember_Sarah) January 26, 2019
You know white supremacy is real when ppl see a funny looking, greasy haired, pallid white man, with a wild & vacant killer look in his eyes, and call him “handsome.”
— Nereyda (@TwittaHoney) January 16, 2019
Maybe the warrior princesses of social justice are right. Maybe Bundy’s being a white man did help him charm some people.
But even if that’s the case, it wasn’t enough to prevent him from being electrocuted to death in the Florida State Prison in 1989 as hundreds of revelers, including off-duty police officers, reportedly celebrated across the street.
So why does Bundy’s life need to be supercharged with identity politics postmortem? Maybe for the same reason that Jordan Peterson and the Covington Catholic schoolboys have been branded white supremacists and misogynists.
John McWorter has argued that both anti-racism and anti-feminism have gone from political struggles for rights to religious crusades for hearts and minds. As a liberal black linguist, he has made clear that he is all in favor social progress. His point has been that all the self-righteous preaching and attestations to white privilege these days amount to smoke and mirrors: Nobody’s mind is changed, nobody’s life is improved.