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andreas lubitz empathy deficit entitlement grandiosity homophobia masculinity playing the victim

Male rage, aggrieved entitlement, and Andreas Lubitz

Andreas Lubitz: Becoming less of a mystery?
Andreas Lubitz: Becoming less of a mystery?

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We still don’t know for sure what led Andreas Lubitz to (allegedly) crash Germanwings Flight 9525 into a mountain in the French Alps, but some of the information that’s coming out today strongly suggests that Lubitz may indeed have been motivated by a toxic mixture of entitlement and rage.

The most revealing information, assuming it’s accurate, comes from an ex-girlfriend who gave an interview to the German newspaper Bild about her time with Lubitz, describing him as a “tormented” soul given to outbursts of explosive rage and delusions of grandeur, at one point telling her that someday he would “do something” to make “everyone … know my name and remember me.”

Based on information gleaned from her interview and from other news reports, a clearer portrait is emerging of the man who (allegedly) took 149 others with him in his dramatic suicide.

1) Andreas Lubitz seems to have been a “nice guy” in public who was given to explosive outbursts behind closed doors. According to the ex-girlfriend — and I’m using the translated version of her remarks you can find in this Telegraph article — Lubitz was a lamb in public. “He … could be very sweet,” she told Bild. “He brought me flowers.” But in private he was a “weak” person “who needed love,” and was given to wild mood swings:

During conversations he’d suddenly throw a tantrum and scream at me. I was afraid.

2) His girlfriend had apparently broken up with him relatively recently, in part because she was unnerved by his explosive outbursts. There’s some confusion about Lubitz’ romantic history. The girlfriend who spoke to Bild was a flight attendant who apparently dated him for some months last year; he also seems to have had a fiancée, who may have broken up with him more recently — some accounts even suggest she left him the day before the crash. According to some news accounts, he tried to win back one of his exes by buying her a car. She evidently refused the gift.

As I pointed out yesterday, angry men tend to react poorly to romantic rejection, sometimes lashing out with violence. Roughly a third of all female murder victims in the United States are killed by their exes. While Lubitz doesn’t appear to have inflicted violence on his ex (or exes) in the wake of their breakup(s), it certainly seems likely that rage over rejection was one of the triggers of his actions.

3) He suffered from depression, anxiety, vision problems, and possibly other medical conditions and was afraid — with good reason — that he would likely lose his dream job as a result. His ex-girlfriend said that when they spoke about work, which they often did,

he became another person. He became agitated about the circumstances in which he had to work, too little money, anxiety about his contract and too much pressure.

He seems to have felt this pressure keenly, sometimes waking up screaming from dreams of plane crashes. Yet he was unwilling to give up a job he’d dreamed of having since childhood, tearing up notes from doctors indicating he was unfit to fly rather than turning them over to his employer. Indeed, Lubitz’ ex believes that his fear of being fired was the primary motivation for his final act:

He did it because he realised that because of his health problems his big dream of a job with Lufthansa; a job as captain and as a long haul pilot was as good as impossible.

4) He was regularly teased by other pilots because he started off his career as a flight attendant, a job that usually goes to women. According to the Mirror, “he was nicknamed ‘Tomato Andy’ because they believed he didn’t know if he was a ‘fruit or veg’ – a reference to his sexuality.” (The British tabloid The Star has decided, based on this, that he was actually gay.) It’s likely that this sort of treatment at the hands of his co-workers contributed to the insecurities his ex-girlfriend spoke of. [EDIT: A native German speaker tells me that the “fruit/veg” explanation does’t make sense in German. But I have seen other references to the nickname and the teasing.]

5) He evidently had a highly developed sense of “aggrieved entitlement.” After one of his girlfriends left him, he seems to have thought he could buy her back with a car. He felt he deserved his dream job as a pilot even though he was deemed medically unfit to fly, and even before his final flight was putting passengers at risk by hiding evidence of his unfitness from his employers. And he evidently felt so wronged, both by romantic rejection and by the probable loss of his job, that he decided he needed to take revenge on his enemies with a grand nihilistic gesture that would, as he told his ex, make the world remember his name.

This toxic mixture of anger, entitlement, and grandiosity is, not to put to fine a point on it, quintessentially male. Women don’t fly planes into mountains or buildings to take retribution on a world that they see as their enemy; men do. Women don’t track down their exes and murder them; men do. (I am oversimplifying somewhat here; these are overwhelmingly male crimes, but not exclusively so.)

While only a tiny fraction of a percent of men resort to acts as violent as killing an entire planeload of innocent people, there are unfortunately many men out there cultivating a similar if less extreme mixture of anger/entitlement/grandiosity, devoting their live to collecting grievances and daydreaming about some apocalyptic revenge.

After five years of writing this blog, I have to say I have become very familiar with this personality type. These guys are everywhere in the toxic online world of Men’s Rights Activists, MGTOWers, PUAs and PUA-haters. No, Lubitz was not, as far as we know, an MRA. No, I don’t expect that any of the MRAs I write about will resort to mass murder, though there are a few I hope the authorities are aware of.

My real worry is that the extreme and often violent rhetoric of many of those in the mainstream of the Men’s Rights movement could push some man who is already close to the edge over it. I don’t see this as unlikely in the slightest; indeed, it seems almost inevitable. I will have more about this, and about the vitriolic anger my posts about Lubitz have inspired amongst some MRAs, in a later post.

EDIT: I removed part of a quote because the translation I was using (by The Telegraph) was wrong, according to a native German speaker in the comments below. I also added a note in the paragraph about other pilots teasing Lubitz, and made a couple of minor tweaks in that paragraph and elsewhere.

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Linux
Linux
5 years ago

Sorry David but “Bild” isnt a news paper, not a good one. They constantly lie

“Zeit online” is a good one

Anarchonist
Anarchonist
5 years ago

Wow. Just wow. I am always struck with some sort of combination of confusion and repulsion when MRAs and people like the commenter Vichtenaar deliberately interpret things in such a light that abusers and even mass murderers are “innocent victims”. Apparently, their despicable actions are secondary; their poor poor widdle feelings come first.

I recently had to work with a guy (thankfully, he left) who loved to make rape and racist jokes and who constantly used slurs for POC, women, the disabled, and gay people. Yet he was quick to anger when he heard a white person being made fun of. He defended a former co-worker who had allegedly been chatting up underage girls in chats and attempted to get to meet them in person. All of those who showed sympathy for the potential victims and condemned his actions were just meanies who attacked a harmless guy for being “a little different”. Just like Vichtenaar attempts to turn the very justified accusations of aggravated entitlement (as defined and described in the article itself) into David attacking a guy who suffered from stress (ignoring his actual behavior), my ex-co-worker tried to make critics of terrible behavior seem like the unreasonable ones.

Dishonest as shit, Vichtenaar. Dishonest as shit.

Litschi
Litschi
5 years ago

I agree with Linux and many others: Don’t go for “Bild”. Honestly! When I read the interview, I wondered, if they really spoke to the ex-girlfriend and just twisted some of her sentences or if they made the whole thing up. It just sounds so much like a typical, “sensations-geiler” article by “Bild”.

Wetherby
Wetherby
5 years ago

While everyone’s laying into Bild, I thought I should probably mention that the also-cited Daily Star is pretty much universally regarded as the absolute dregs of the British tabloid press (it used to be only a notch above the now-deceased Daily Sport, which was openly pornographic, and I daresay it’s right at the bottom now).

Two anecdotes that neatly sum up what kind of paper it is:

1. When it was first launched in the late 1970s, the Communist daily paper the Morning Star sued on the grounds that people might mistake the new paper for theirs. The judge threw out the case, claiming that “only a moron in a hurry” would confuse the two. The Morning Star appealed, on the grounds that “a moron in a hurry” was a perfect description of the Daily Star‘s actual target market, but although this was undoubtedly true, they didn’t get anywhere.

2. The Daily Star, like all British newspapers, includes the information that it’s “Registered with the Post Office as a newspaper”. On more than one occasion people have joked that this is a blatant infringement of the Trades Descriptions Act – and I can see what they meant: I leafed idly through a copy last year while waiting for a haircut, and the number of stories that I’d consider legitimate “news” was vanishingly minuscule. In fact, sometimes it’s quite hard to work out the date of publication from the content.

Tessa
5 years ago

AllisonW:

Cyberwulf wrote: “Man, you know. One of these days. One of these days, women will snap. One of us is going to look at this catalogue of violent acts and the violent rhetoric coming from the manosphere and that woman is going to do something in response.”

And I would have trouble blaming her. Then again, I disagree with Vanir–of course the Men’s Rights Bowel Movement would whine about it being the fault of all women while men’s actions are only ever the fault of an individual man (unless women are to blame for his actions too), but more than once I’ve found myself wondering if the reason so many men are so quick to take out their anger on women is because they’ve been led to believe women won’t fight back. Perhaps fearing women *physically* and not just *socially* would keep some of them in check.

I’ve thought about this some. I believe it’s a mix of thinking that women won’t fight back, and the idea women are supposed to be beneath them. Typical entitlement type deal. Even if a man is powerless among men, he can exert his power over women. This is why women get blamed for not cooperating and providing blowjobs.

As for the last part, while I’d love for women not to be pressured by society to avoid become physically strong at all costs, and that any muscles are bad, I’m not exactly enthusiastic about contributing to the idea that might makes right.

Also, I’m a little squicked out that the original comment was about a woman snapping and “doing something in response,” and the first responding comment was about how the manosphere would use it to make feminists look bad. What about the individuals that’d be harmed? I know they’re horrible people and all, but “doing something in response” (the comment implied violence) shouldn’t be condoned.

(I apologize if that came off as tone trolly.)

Doug
Doug
5 years ago

The bit about grandiose aggrieved entitlement struck a chord with me. I’m a middle aged, white male now. But, as an adolescent white male, I recall my reaction to a college English assignment that suggests I suffered more than a little bit with that. We had to write an essay responding to a line in “Catcher in the Rye.” It said: “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.”

That line provoked an emotional response in me. It felt emasculating. Like somehow it would be inflicting a grievous wrong upon me to take away my right to go out in a blaze of glory. I’ve mellowed a lot since then, as aging men will do. But, as I fancied myself such a rational guy back then, that emotional response still surprises me. I imagine a lot of it is attributable to a mix of culture and testosterone.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

Germans are hardly (generally) renowned for compassionate honesty.

As a Canadian of German immigrant parentage, I’ll thank you to keep your idiotic generalizations about my people to yourself.

Better still, you can just stuff them back up the smelly orifice from which you pulled them.

darrensball
5 years ago

“We still don’t know for sure what led Andreas Lubitz to (allegedly) crash Germanwings Flight 9525 into a mountain in the French Alps”

Correct David, and yet as your article develops this uncertainly completely disappears, as below, for instance:

“And he evidently felt so wronged, both by romantic rejection and by the probable loss of his job, that he decided he needed to take revenge on his enemies with a grand nihilistic gesture that would, as he told his ex, make the world remember his name”

There’s a time and a place for taking on MRAs, but it would be more respectful to the families of all those who died if you would at least wait until we had the facts, especially as you were quoting from some very dodgy tabloids, including the British tabloid the Star. Nobody in the UK would ever quote the Star – it’s virtually a soft porn publication. .

Kate Minter
5 years ago

Choosing relationships purely based on sexual attraction and mistaking sex for intimacy are the reasons people are failing at relationships. Sex does not save people who are, in actuality, seeking intimacy or something that cannot be found in another human being (i.e. God/perfection/absolution). Meaningless sex actually exacerbates feelings of loneliness, isolation, and hopelessness. Its a temporary solution that only adds to the problem (just as someone dying of thirst might drink salt water to bring relief only to speed up their demise). The antidote is not to become a “sexual appliance,” to become some sort of sexual sacrifice to someone. Anyone telling you that having sex “cured” their partner has made a false diagnosis. Its not about the sex; its about the intimacy. Commitment + Intimacy = Happiness

TomBcat
TomBcat
5 years ago

As a German I just wanted to mention: Please don’t trust anything the Bild has to offer.
You can’t even call that a newspaper. It’s as if The Onion took itself seriously.
Also, his nickname had something to do with his past as a flight attendant, I think?

TomBcat
TomBcat
5 years ago

And never mind that, I skimmed through the comments to see if that’s been said already but apparently the auto search wanted to embarrass me on the comment string. Sorry.

Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
Banana Jackie Cake, the Best Jackie and Cake! Yum! (^v^)
5 years ago

@weirwoodtreehugger

I’m aware I wasn’t trollish. ;D (Kinda.) It’s was more of a silly teasing than anything. I could see how two of the same usernames could confuse people, so I changed it to something so ridiculous no one will likely copy it…maybe.

@TomBcat

I think the more German users saying that the Bild is crap, the better, IMO.

AllisonW
AllisonW
5 years ago

Marrying an asshole misogynist is not the answer to your own internalised misogyny.

Tessa: not everyone is a pacifist, not even on the Left, and these people are effectively *declaring war* on women and women’s essential liberty. So yes, I would have a lot of trouble blaming a woman for responding to such a declaration physically.

mildlymagnificent: ignoring for right now that Germaine Greer is a shitty person in her own right, unless those women were posing a serious “or else” as the teeth behind a more peaceful solution, I’m not sure how the comparison would fit. I was only born in 1986, so my knowledge of second-wave feminist politics may not be perfect, but weren’t even second-wave feminists frequently advocates of pacifism? When I think Malcolm X, I think more like… his advocacy that black people own and use guns to defend themselves from racist white people. I know guns alone aren’t enough in the case of women being abused by patriarchal men–there are also matters like self-defense laws needing to be reformed to apply to domestic violence and long-term chronic abuse as opposed to just stranger violence, and undoing all the anti-aggression conditioning women receive–but I find myself nodding along to the general idea.

Actually, now that I think about it, I think I recall Andrea Dworkin feeling the same way about the need to reform self-defense laws, so perhaps my assessment is inaccurate.

skullbearer
5 years ago

A theory I saw put forward which would explain his actions and lack of suicide note is that he was angry about something and that he wanted to protest or make a statement by pretending to crash the plane- or maybe engineering a situation in which he ‘saved’ the plane from a crash. Only he didn’t quite manage it.

Lea
Lea
5 years ago

Tessa,
Thank you. That was well spotted and responded to.

Shut up, Kate.

Aunt Edna
Aunt Edna
5 years ago

@skullbearer:

That’s interesting. I cannot imagine how he could have just pretended and/or managed to ‘save’ the plane in those circumstances, but who knows.

It is certain, though — if this act was as deliberate as everything suggests — that he wanted to make a “statement.”

Here is a story of another commercial pilot who killed his ex-wife and considered crashing Boening 747 (which at full capacity can sit from 400+ to 600+ people) the next day to make a “statement:”

“In October 2010, Brown argued with his wife while dropping off their two children at her home in Ascot, Berkshire, and hit her 14 times with a claw hammer.

He then buried her body in Windsor Great Park – but he told his murder trial that he had considered crashing a plane the next day after being harassed by Joanna’s lawyers.

‘I thought something needs to be done,’ Brown said. ‘I thought I want to fly one last time and crash the aircraft. I wanted them to be held accountable.

‘I thought if I got to work I could crash an aircraft, or fly to Lagos and crash it there or hang myself in the hotel room. I wanted to make a statement.’

Instead, he called in sick and another pilot stepped in to fly the BA jumbo jet to Nigeria. Brown was arrested later the same day, and subsequently convicted of manslaughter and jailed for 26 years.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3017629/BA-pilot-planned-crash-plane-killing-wife.html#ixzz3VsfeVoPS

He wanted his wife’s lawyers “to be accountable” (= punish them) and “to make a statement” by killing hundreds of innocent people.

Male aggrieved entitlement is a terrible thing. Male ego (or is it id?) has likely caused more mayhem in the history of humanity than any other human-related factor. It destroys relationships and world peace with an equal oblivion to consequences, only to satisfy its grandiose pride and lust for revenge and control.

dustwolves
dustwolves
5 years ago

re: the nickname Tomato-andi

The explanation I read (and google seems to confirm, although my German is a bit shaky) is that air hostesses are sometimes called “tomato juice pushers” (as in, pushing a trolley with tomato juice). So it could be intended as a homophobic slur, just not the elaborate fruit/veg metaphor some sources argue.

/relurks

Tracy
Tracy
5 years ago

Ugh, RPW. Horrible place. Even more horrible, bc there I found that Judgy has written an article for Buzzfeed, and it’s… wow.

5 cliches about women that are mostly true

(They mostly aren’t, shocker)

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

re: the nickname Tomato-andi

The explanation I read (and google seems to confirm, although my German is a bit shaky) is that air hostesses are sometimes called “tomato juice pushers” (as in, pushing a trolley with tomato juice). So it could be intended as a homophobic slur, just not the elaborate fruit/veg metaphor some sources argue.

Well, if a cabin steward (who hands out tomato juice to passengers!) is regarded as gay, or not quite as masculine and macho as a pilot, maybe. But yeah…the two German words I know of for “fruit” are neither of them used as slurs for “gay”. So the jibe of “is he a fruit or a vegetable, hurr hurr hurr” is an English thing, not a German one. The real significance of the demotion/loss of a piloting career is lost in this silly mistranslation.

Mew York Kitty (@CCMSparkster)

I dunno, I feel you really screwed up here. As someone who has struggled with mental illness his entire life, I really hate it when people equate mental illness with misogyny.
Newsflash: We’re more likely to be victims of hate crimes than perpetrators of them.
I just found this piece to be incredibly ableist.
I feel like someone’s gonna look at this and automatically assume I’m some Red-Piller who could just spontaneously murder a whole bunch of people in a fit of misogynist rage just because I’m on the autism spectrum as well as having depression and anxiety and all those things that contribute to suicides like this.

Paradoxical Intention
5 years ago

@Mew York Kitty:

Could you please specify what you think was ableist?

All I saw was David mentioning the fact that he suffered from mental illnesses, and they were the cause of his fear of losing his job, which made him feel forced to do things that put himself and others in danger, not that they were the cause of his misogyny.

While I didn’t see anything that was ableist myself (I have depression and anxiety), perhaps I missed something?

Mew York Kitty (@CCMSparkster)

@Paradoxical Intention I saw him as equating male entitlement and mental illness, as if you can’t have one without the other. It’s what some did with Elliot Rodger, associating his misogyny with his possible mental illnesses. (He was prescribed Risperdal after all, a drug I take myself. However, he refused to take it.) I know there’s a balance between acknowledging personal responsibility and acknowledging the role mental illness plays in stuff like this, as well as societal norms that make it difficult for people (especially men) to get help, but just from the general tone of this article, he seemed to be suggesting that mental illness inherently leads to male entitlement which inherently leads to mass-murder therefore the pilot was just a Bad Person (TM) and lazy and all that.
Thing is that men are often afraid to get help, so we can’t always pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and go to HR when we’re being harassed for not conforming to social norms regarding masculinity, mental health, etc.
Furthermore, Futrelle’s sources are tabloid trash as others have pointed out, and I don’t see any evidence that Lubitz was at all part of any sort of Redpill hate group. His feelings of entitlement seem to be not that different from most other men, which is still terrible but not on the level of Elliot Rodger or most other Angry White Men who commit mass murder-suicides.
We really need an international conversation about this. As someone who is Ex-Redpill myself, just writing this off as Bad People being Bad People isn’t adequate. The reason one goes Redpill is similar to why someone joins a cult or a hate group. It’s often a toxic combination of not conforming to patriarchal gender norms, feeling inadequate for not doing so, deteriorating physical and mental health, poverty, fear for the future, and substance abuse. So basically, not alphas. If anyone on the Redpill Right was actually alpha, they wouldn’t be so afraid of having their masculinity and hobbies challenged by random people on the internet. If anything, feminist men are generally the true alpha men.

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
5 years ago

The only place I saw mental illness being mentioned at all was in (3) in the list. And that section was about the source of Lubitz’s fear for the loss of his job. I’m not seeing a “general tone” of mental illness leading to entitlement…

Maybe you could be a bit more specific, Mew York Kitty?

Ellesar
Ellesar
5 years ago

Mew York Kitty – you seem to be newly dropped in because we have A LOT of debates about mental health here, and no regular conflates mental health problems with misogyny. The broad feeling here is that a misogynist tends to be an awful person (we sometimes cut a little slack for the naive and ill informed) , whereas a mentally ill person can be ANY kind of person.

And yes, we are very aware that people with MH problems are more likely to be victims of violence and other abuse, than perpetrators.

Scott
Scott
1 year ago

whew lots of the usual marxist simpleton buzzwords and narrative at this site.
are you people really this god damned indoctrinated?
ableist. entitlement. projection much? you actually think you are left wing indoctrination makes you psychologists now.
that is truly pathetic.
keep discussing mental health here. you folks need it badly.
bye cat ladies.

Ooglyboggles
Ooglyboggles
1 year ago

@Scott

you actually think you are left wing indoctrination makes you psychologists now.

I didn’t know that we are literally left wing indoctrination! Good to know 😀

Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
Kat, ambassador of the feminist government in exile
1 year ago

@Scott

bye cat ladies.

Wait, wait! Don’t go, Scott — I have only my cats to keep me company!

Please!