I can remember it like it was yesterday. On a lark, my friends in Monarchist Twitter nominate me for the Twitter “Content Emmy’s”, a Honeypot/Kantbot production that gathered all realms of the fringo twitter underground. I was nominated for “most prolific thirst-poster” category as an inside joke if I recall correctly; During the livestream, I keep hearing about this odd and deeply disturbed punk artist that won the best Twitter musician category, “School Shooter”.
I was confused at first, seeing as he burst onto the frog-twitter scene out of nowhere, and then we all hear his song, the now famed (rather infamous) “Bad Vibes”, an upbeat and catchy punk song with a spectacularly edited lyric music video. Bad Vibes is an archetypal Shooter song,featuring clips from various movies, cartoons, anime, news reels and tragedies, etc. Edited together in a hyper accelerated, visceral, almost comically depressive presentation designed to present the viewer with a gory and grungy display of lamentation.
Shooter’s music at first appears like a distillation of chan-culture edge-lordery, but believe me, it is a deep lament. A lament over what the generations that precede the ubiquitous, superfluous, culture-industry created millennial. Shooter’s themes often include suicide, depression, drug abuse, unrequited love, media exploitation of various tragedies, and the total withering away of youth into a dismal, nihilistic, decadent post-industrial society wasteland; The younger post-millennial is enervated by pop culture nostalgia, often imposed on them by the entertainment industry that caters to the generations above them (Gen-x and the older Millennials), so the various music video edits include the cobbling together of infotainment violence and excess, coupled with lo-fi editing that makes one reminiscent of the video art present in NobodyTM.
As for the music itself, Shooter is what underground, DIY punk once was before it sold out to mass, hot-topic appeal. Imagine if you will, the gritty and grimy, simplistic, yet catchy and hyper beat-driven energy of early Punk, not hardcore per-say, but punk with the color of southwest Emo that has the ability to go slower, and have a bit more feeling into it (especially with Shooter’s often calmer and monotonous singing style). Image that combined with the single-man spirit of early Black metal. “Side effects” is once example of an energetic song that breaks into an acoustic outro after the rare guitar solo that really drives home the theme of bitterness, and the hair-thin edge of sanity that comes with doing drugs after a breakup. “No Funeral” is another song with a deflated chord progression, an almost stereotypical Emo song (lets say, the archetypal Emo song) about dying and not being remembered.
The aesthetic of Shooter seems, as I have said above, like a try-hard edge lord being as shocking and sensationalist at possible. From the album art, to the content of each music video, Shooter almost glorifies mass violence, social decay, grotesque exploitation, terrorism, and of course, the moniker theme of school shootings. These events on display almost seem like a dark comedy rather than somber and heart-breaking tragedies, and above it all are the constant use of images from Columbine, centering around Dylan and Eric themselves.
There are a few reasons for this on a deeper level that i believe Shooter is trying to get at; Rather than the glorification of the speed, intensity, and raw-nerve chaos of these events, Shooter uses them as a backdrop, a personification of personal feelings of alienation, anger, and bitterness with a world that has left the youth behind, young males in particular. So the glorification of terrorists, mass shooters, brutal dictatorial ideologues on the fringes, and serial killers serves as a release valve for younger Millennial and gen-Z Doomers. Think of how many young anons on Twitter, 4chan, etc. that are attracted to marginal, dead and mass-grave producing ideologies from the far left, far right, or ones that simply defy categorization. In a world infused by politics everywhere, where “the personal is the political”, the only way to defy the social fabric is by adopting every more unreachable and esoteric politics. Hence why the Shooter is pointing towards the youth becoming increasingly desensitized to overtly political violence. As if the various displays of taking revenge on one’s school, or whichever demon is plaguing one’s psyche (like women and popular chads in the case of Elliot Rodger) are a cynical form of cheap entertainment for media-saturated young people.
As for the main emblem of Shooter’s aesthetic, Dylan and Eric; I have remarked before that to the millennial, and post-millennial, Columbine, that single name which evokes one of the most memorable tragedies in recent history, is a turning point, an archetype of the era we live in, the era of the school shooter. The serial killer seems like a bygone fascination, it is the mass, shadow-like gunman that strikes out of the blue, the nihilistic spree-killer that has seared itself into the collective psyche. Dylan and Eric, with their combat gear, trench coats and “natural selection”/”Wrath” tee, stand on top of the millennial imagination as towering demonic figures. They stand similar to the soured-over counter-culture teens in rebellion, clad in combat boot youth gangs in Anthony Brugess’ “A Clockwork Orange”. Standing eternally ready to go to war against bogie society, sinking into the depths of ultra-violent depravity. Columbine is a virtual negative (or positive for some freaks) millennial mythology, Dylan and Eric have become near mythological figures in 21st century youth culture. Shooter uses them in the realm of the symbolic, not, as he states “to glorify violence”, but to show what happens when the internet age robs people of purpose. To quote him in an interview with famed under ground accelerationist musician Nishiki Prestige:
“These shootings don’t happen because of guns, they happen because something is fundamentally wrong with our society. The schools in America are fucked up. They don’t teach you any real knowledge or skills, they train you how to be compliant and take orders without question. It’s basically prison.
It’s understandable how an individual that’s not completely well-adjusted could develop an absolute hatred for humanity in this kind of environment. The kids that shoot up their schools are victims too but the media never plays it like that. It’s easier to sell people the simple picture instead of actually understanding the problem. Most people prefer illusion to despair, they can’t handle the truth so they decide to dismiss it completely and create a new truth for themselves”.
Shooter remarks in a livestream that the glorification of violence i merely a way of exposing one’s inner disposition, to “focus on the good things, but sometimes life deals you a bad hand, and the bad things creep up on you”. Shooter unfortunately will never have semi-mainstream appeal, its even hard just to explain to people you listen to an artist named school shooter! But his music embodies the true punk DIY ethos, whose appeal is an edgier compliment to the emo rap gen-z is enthralled by. At this time in history, musicians can find legitimacy, and in Shooter’s case, infamy on the internet, and Shooter is an example of a true outsider musician in every sense of the word, outside of even himself at times. And of course, like frog-twitter and its roots in the post-irony of artist like Sam Hyde, one can never really be sure if Shooter is being serious. One cannot figure out on the surface if he is stating a political message, or is simply hiding the true meaning of exposing current youth culture, utilizing edginess that is a foil for strategic irony.