In TWO FACE I discuss the seemingly esoteric subject of man as a symbolic animal, and as a symbolic animal, how we are nourished [validated] with symbols that mean things to us. Flags, colors, brands, songs – the human experience is awash with things that enhance our experience of the world. But just as an animal who is nourished on symbols can find them infinitely and exquisitely validating, he can also be infinitely and excruciatingly invalidated.
Facebook is a great example of a simple symbolic schema that, if we allow it, determines our worth. We measure ourselves [our social power] and one another [their social power] by the number of friends, likes and and interactions we get on social media, and we especially value gestures of reinforcement from people that are important, or important to us. There three dynamics at play on social media. My social power, yours, and then the dynamic between mine and yours. In other words, who am I vis-a-vis everyone else, and who are you vis-a-vis me, and everyone else.
The magic of Thrive is how it’s designed to be a system where a nobody can be thrown a social media life-buoy and turned into somebody by legions of other MLM nobodies all hellbent on same need for social self-enrichment [and the piles of gold coins anticipated to go along with that]. You sing my praises and I’ll sing yours. You follow me and I’ll follow you. I make you rich, give you free stuff, and you do the same for me. It’s brilliant, because everyone wins. Right?
We’ve seen Shan’ann singing her husband’s praises as her Rock, the love of her life, the one for her, the one who stood by her, someone who she considered “amazing” as a man, a husband and a father. Validating, right?
Now imagine what this feels like.
To understand what’s really going on here, Shan’ann actually took out her camera and snapped a picture demonstrating her husband’s idiocy after giving him instructions. What this reveals isn’t just someone who’s used to barking out a lot of orders, but someone who expresses anger and contempt when her servant falls short.
It’s unlikely the picture in the above post is from the two Christmasses past. But the fact that Shan’ann would go to the effort to demo how dumb her partner was in this instance to better and more fully illustrate her point and share it on social media [note the face palms] says something about a tendency to “borrow strength” from her Facebook flock when her husband fell out of favor.
It wasn’t enough to chastise him in private, he needed to punished, to be flogged in public.
In another post she uses seven face palms to make her point, all symbolic emoticons that, if Chris Watts saw them, would tend to invalidate all the flattering stuff Shan’ann had said about him previously.
Now imagine this. Imagine when you’re being validated it’s not because of something real that you did, or because of some genuine encouragement, but rather it’s part of a spiel to sell patches. Who he is is simply and conveniently expropriated for economies of scope to tip the social media scales in her favor. But then, at other times, when he’s being invalidated, well, that’s real. That’s based on real life. Nothing is being sold there except the abounding truth that he’s an idiot.
In either case, Shan’ann is turning to Facebook to be her megaphone about her feelings.
It’s a betrayal.
Each and every one of those face palms is deeply invalidating, it’s the complete opposite of the feel-good factor of social media mentioned earlier.
By anchoring praise in Thrive-themed promotion on the one hand and anchoring criticism to reality in the other, Shan’ann’s exposing herself as a capricious charlatan, at least in terms of her marriage. He sees all too clearly her contempt for him; he’s become only good enough as a prop in her business, and a fake one at that [and they both know it].
If Shan’ann could do this on a public platform, what did she say and do when she was really angry with her husband?
Without knowing anything about the Watts case other than the fact that their were three victims [and the unborn Niko], it’s abundantly clear there was an excess of sadism in this particular crime. To be clear, all crimes are sadistic. Sadism is the intentional effort to benefit at another’s expense. I kill you, you’re dead, I live at your expense and hopefully I flourish at your expense. The more murders the more sadism.
The Watts Family murders is one of the most sadistic family murders I’ve come across, though it’s no match for the sadism of the Van Breda axe murders, where a 20-year-old hacked to death both parents, his older brother and his younger sister [who ultimately survived].
The Watts case feels gentler than axe murders, but consider the level of sadism to carry out one, then another, then a third strangling? There’s also something particularly reprehensible about killing one’s own children, as well as this idea of quiet man quietly killing three innocent, helpless females in his care and custody.
If strangling is less sadistic than murder by axe, the carefully crafted disposal of the remains in oil drums and dirt feels coolly calculated, cruel and heartless. As if people he once knew as family, as a wife, as his own flesh and blood children, had suddenly been alchemised into garbage, and once they were garbage they could all be treated as such. And not a single tear shed in regret or remembrance.
Wherever there is sadism, there is anality. They go hand in hand. And wherever there is anality, there is humiliation. Without knowing anything about the Watts case it was immediately obvious that there was an extreme amount of humiliation somehow at play in the family dynamics.
We’re starting to see evidence of that now. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and the humiliation, mark my words, isn’t limited just to what the murderer felt…