Clayton Weatherston's trial has brought all sorts of crap reporting out of the woodwork, using pop psychology to appeal to people's voyeurism.* 60 Minutes last night was an excellent example.
Last night's nonsensical item started out with a group of volunteers being surveyed to find out if they are narcissists. Narcissism was portrayed not as a personality trait that a person can control, but as something more akin to a mental illness. This was my first irk. Claiming that narcissism diminishes responsibility is crap - it's like me claiming my habitual morning grumpiness is some sort of syndrome I deserve treatment and sympathy for.
Anyway, the 60 Minutes item moved on to state that some 91% of men and 84% of women have thought about killing someone at some time. This was supposed to send shivers of terror through our spines, and make us realise that the person next door, the woman we work with, the guy who delivers the mail, is a potential Clayton Weatherston. What sensationalist bullshit. If this statistic is to be believed, it simply shows that the vast majority of the population has more self-control than Weatherston did.
Most offensively, one David M Buss, author of The Murderer Next Door: Why the Mind Is Designed to Kill, explained to viewers that men are 'hard-wired' for violence, particularly when their sexual dominance is threatened. Buss urged us to be 'sensitive' to the triggers to this violence, particularly female infidelity and women leaving relationships. Of all the shitty excuse-making for male violence I've heard recently, that just about takes the cake.
* A psychology lecturer from Victoria made an interesting comment about the greater prevalence of narcissism among men being related to the high esteem our culture has for male activities. It was really interesting - but it got swallowed by the general bullshit.