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Books can change the world. That's not a controversial statement: From the Holy Bible to Reading Rainbow, just about everybody acknowledges the importance and influence of the written word. Even psychopaths.

...

Especially psychopaths.

5
The Lord of the Rings - Neo-Nazis

The Classic Book

Lord of the Rings basically defined the fantasy genre. Its staples--elves and dwarves, dragons and orcs--are still the groundwork of most fantasy fiction today. It was a tale of brotherhood versus greed, good versus evil and like eight different kinds of midget versus the grim reaper. It was awesome, is what we're saying here.

The Offenders

Neo-Nazis.

Wait... seriously?

For example, take this discussion on the white pride forum Stormfront featuring musings on which Middle Earth species represent each race.

But it's not an isolated Internet shenanigan: Italian fascists also viewed the book similarly, going as far as naming their fascist training facilities "hobbit camps." A whopping three-thousand kids attended, because it sounds way more fun when you phrase it as "romping about the shire with friends" as opposed to "learning how to combat the economic stranglehold of the Jews on modern Europe."

And that wasn't even relegated to antiquity: The modern equivalent of those same factions have also screened the first film. So it's not like you're missing something subtle they're interpreting in those dense tomes; they totally think the story as presented by the movies is pro-Nazi.

Why the Bullshit Interpretation is Exactly That

Lord of the Rings is a work that shows multiple races setting aside their mistrust and hatred of each other, and working together for a peaceful world. It would be much easier to analyze the novel as a veiled condemnation of Nazism and racism than twisting it to be pro-fascist. The only hidden meaning to Lord of the Rings as confirmed by the author is the horror of rapid industrial expansion at the expense of nature. Which pretty much opposes the policies of the Nazi party completely. Whatever else they were, they were not "green."


More of a shit brown, really.

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4
Catcher in the Rye - Various Murderers

The Classic Book

It's doubtful that, by telling the story of a whiny 17-year-old reminiscing on things that happened to him when he was a whiny 16-year-old, J.D. Salinger intended to give sweaty man-birth to a new gospel. It was just a story, and a rather simple one at that: It's a few days in the unremarkable life of Holden Caulfield, a teenager who pretty much hates everything (like every teenager) except children (like those creepy camp counselors).


Camp counselors ruin everything.

The Offenders

Apparently Holden's self-centered whining makes people want to kill celebrities. And not in a small scale, "fuck those guys" kind of way. No, in a "call the national guard, everybody is dead oh god they're all dead" kind of way.

Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon five times outside the Dakota apartment building in New York, claiming Catcher in the Rye was his inspiration. After committing the crime, Chapman even pulled out the book and started reading while still steps away from the murder scene. He signed, "This is my statement, Holden Caulfield" on the inside cover. So he either the chubby adult murderer thought he was Holden, or he thought Holden was real and could absorb all knowledge imprinted upon his book. When both options for your mental state are that crazy, it doesn't even matter which one was the case; doctors just diagnose you with "clinical craziness."

Robert John Bardo stalked a lengthy list of actresses before murdering Rebecca Schaeffer in 1989, also while carrying a copy of the book. A copy was also found in the possession of John Hinckley, Jr., the attempted assassin of Ronald Reagan. And those are just the celebrities; you know, the important people. The novel has been linked to a number of lower-profile murders over the years since its release.

Why the Bullshit Interpretation is Exactly That

It's been speculated that Chapman killed John Lennon in order to preserve his innocence--which is odd considering Lennon was like 40 years old at the time. Not exactly an age of wide-eyed wonder, 40. If you see a 40 year-old man riding a big wheel and asking why the sky is blue, you don't shoot him to preserve innocence, you ask around to find his caretaker and make sure his helmet is on tight.

But even if Lennon was about to enter puberty at the age of 41, the book doesn't support that action: Holden, while initially wanting to protect children, realizes that he's no role model, and they're all better off left alone anyway. Sure, some of 'em will fall off that cliff, but how else are kids gonna learn not to play in rye?

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3
Horton Hears a Who - Rabid Pro-Lifers

The Classic Book

Horton Hears a Who is the story of a flamboyant elephant who discovers a tiny planet on a speck of dust, and all the other animals--perhaps with good cause--think Horton is a mental case for believing the planet exists. Less reasonably, they quickly put him in a cage and torture and mock him relentlessly rather than just write him a prescription for Elephant Xanax. Ultimately, the inhabitants of the speck of dust make enough noise for the sadistic captor animals to hear them, thus ending the debate on their existence and freeing Horton.


Seriously though, look into medication if this happens to you.

The Offenders

Fanatically religious pro-lifers. Apparently, the story--geared towards ages four to six--is meant to be a complex, prophetic metaphor which condemns the right of a woman to choose to get de-babied. Christian website The Elijah List, which boasts 127,000 members, ran a piece which not only drew parallels between Seuss's book and the abortion debate, but heralded it as a banner for their movement to rally around. In their words:

"Horton...is the prophetic Church with big ears and a large trumpet. He can hear what no one else can hear -- the sound of these little people. In the book, we also find a kangaroo who wants to kill all the little Whos, because he cannot see or hear them. He doesn't believe they exist. Immediately the thought came to me, "The kangaroo is the kangaroo court!" -- it stands for the Supreme Court who issued the death decree of '73 in Roe v Wade, and legalized abortion."


Or it's about an elephant.

So it's not even as if they're using the book as an example to support their argument, they're actually treating it as the word of God. This isn't some long-dead movement either, as eagle-eyed readers will have noticed when we said they had a website: They're still going to this day. Pro-lifers even stormed the premiere of the film version of Horton, parading around the theater chanting religious jargon, which tragically distracted from the valid attendees there to mourn the death of Jim Carrey's career.

Why the Bullshit Interpretation is Exactly That

Remember how we mocked the church earlier for taking a harmless kid's story as allegory for complicated political rallies? Yeah, our bad: Turns out he was totally doing that. It just wasn't about abortion at all. Seuss intended Horton Hears a Who to serve as an allegory for the American post-war occupation of Japan, not the issue of abortion, which--considering it was written in 1954, 20 years before Roe V. Wade--should have been obvious to everybody that doesn't believe Dr. Seuss can see through time. Even Seuss himself felt compelled to set the record straight, stating that "Horton is not a book about abortions. These notions are distortions; they're heaping portions of deciduous contortions piled high with a side of whamdiddly dodortions."

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2
The Collector - Serial Killers

The Classic Book

The Collector by John Fowles is the chilling story of Frederick Clegg, a socially inept loser who collects butterflies. Creeeepy, right?

Oh, and girls.

He collects girls, too. But mostly the butterfly thing.

In the story he kidnaps and locks a girl in his house, but struggles with the morality of his baser urges that push him to abuse her. Ultimately, he manages to resist his psychosis and not rape or murder her, though she tragically dies of pneumonia anyway.

We guess the moral is, "Why bother not murdering - nature's gonna get 'em anyway."

The Offenders

If you found yourself nodding quietly along with that previous statement, you're probably a serial killer. Because that's exactly what they got out of the story: Load's of them took inspiration from Clegg's actions, except that they actually did all the fucked up shit that he abstained from. Take Leonard Lake and Charles Ng, who have an estimated body count of 25. They dubbed their spree "Operation Miranda" after a character in Fowles's book, documenting their crimes in a series of videotapes and diaries. Christopher Wilder, another spree killer of women, had the book on him when he was shot by the FBI. Robert Bordella took inspiration from the film version of The Collector, killing six young men. But all the other serial killers laugh at him; the book-motivated murders were way better than the movie-motivated ones.

Why the Bullshit Interpretation is Exactly That

The Collector was intended as a cautionary tale about the divisions of class in our society, and the dangers of power becoming available to people who are too untrustworthy to handle it. It was in no way a glorification of kidnap or murder. In fact, Fredrick Clegg, the anti-hero of Fowles's novel, repeatedly disapproves of physically harming or sexually abusing his captive--only wanting to be loved by her. The killers who took inspiration from the novel are the exact kind of people which Fowles was warning of: Complete lunatics who abuse the power that they're allowed.

Which is pretty much to be expected of serial killers. You'd just figure that, of all the many things they insist tell them to kill--from Son of Sam's dog to John Wayne Gacy's catalogue of ICP albums--a book whose central message is "try not to kill people" wouldn't be that high up there.

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1
Lolita - Millions of Pedophiles

The Classic Book

Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita is the story of the unfortunately named Humbert Humbert, a middle-aged professor who's also basically a deranged pedophile. Humbert kidnaps a young girl, Lolita, and travels the country with her, until she runs off with another middle-aged man. Man, talk about jumping out of the pot-bellied frying pan and into the hair-plugged fire, right?

Oh, and then everybody dies.


The kids will love it.

The Offenders

Japanese pedophiles.

Japan--presumably struggling to outdo its long and storied tradition of mind-boggling lunacy--has a booming "lolicon" industry. That's a portmanteau of "Lolita complex" and, yes, it's porn. Obviously. It is Japan after all.

The term specifically refers to animated pornography that depicts children in an erotic context. Even more disturbing? The volume: Almost half of the animated porn released in Japan every year (which is like, all of it. They seriously love to hump cartoons in the Land of the Rising Sun) fits comfortably into the lolicon genre. Though the studies aren't exactly concrete, many do suggest that the prevalence of lolicon in Japan has reportedly led to significantly increased sex crime rates against children and teens.

Why the Bullshit Interpretation is Exactly That

The message of Lolita is hardly "pedophiles are awesome!"

In fact, it's pretty much the exact fucking opposite. Remember how everybody dies and all? We don't know how the translation was handled, but we're pretty sure the Japanese version didn't end with all the characters laughing and leaping into the air for an '80s sitcom style freeze-frame. Most of the interpretations of Nabokov's famous novel point to Humbert being a gigantic collection of dick-shaped blobs--a completely and utterly reprehensible human being that should by no means be emulated. Nabokov himself even hated the character, as evidenced by the fact that he wrote him as a goddamn pedophile.

For more crazy fans, check out 6 Insane Fan Theories That Actually Make Great Movies Better. Or find out about some assassination attempts that blow the mind, in The 6 Most Utterly Insane Attempts to Kill a US President.

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