Can you believe it's only now that someone has been dubbed the "Craigslist Killer?" I can't. But it's true. Of course, this isn't the first time that someone has ended up dead with Craigslist's circumstantial involvement this year; last month radio man George Weber was killed in his Brooklyn apartment by a teenage hooker he picked up on the site, and it seems unlikely that Philip Markoff is the first person to serially kill using the site as conduit. But, there he is in his khakis and blue button-down, blond hair tousled to a perfect coif of frat-boy-douche. He's been compared to the American Psycho character Patrick Bateman; there have been stories that potentially it was a massive gambling debt that drove him to the edge, that his motive was money and not whatever it is that drives people to murder for reasons other than love or money. The guy is despicable to be sure, but what's so scary is just how typically that guy he is. I'm just saying I don't think I'll ever go to Boston again.
Some of the stories floating around have also implicated Craigslist itself in the situation (there was one in this morning's AMNY, a free newspaper distributed in the subway to people too stupid and lazy to make other arrangements), which is somewhat mystifying. Psychos have been killing hookers since the dawn of time, anyone remember Jack the Ripper? Updating the ability to pick them up doesn't change the equation one little bit, it doesn't matter if it's an alley off 11th Avenue, over the phone or through the net. It's also not at all surprising that Craigslist would be a haven for the selling of pimp-less hookers, it's a haven for selling everything else after all and the internet would be nothing without its seedy underbelly.
This situation accentuates, I think, the deep connection between Craigslist and life in the early years of the 21st century, how much Craigslist is the epitome of both life right now and the internet as it exists in this moment. For surely if we are about anything at this point in time, it must be bargains, classifieds and deviant sex. And Craigslist of course excels in those areas. It's the first place many go to when considering a new apartment or a job change or when hunting for some specific product, and even though ebay does its fair share of business, there's something about Craigslist's locality that sets it apart in this realm. The local angle is what makes the rest possible as well, it's no use to set a date with someone across the country unless you're on the cutting edge of IM sex. And you can't really attempt to meet up later with some chick you saw on the subway and were too cowardly to talk to at the time, i.e. "missed connections." I have a friend who loved to dabble in the "missed connections," posting a note to every broad in a leopard print coat he shared a crosstown bus with. (Spoiler alert: it didn't work out.) But, what makes Craigslist the place for sordid affairs, and not the pick up line of choice for the chronically lame, is the "casual encounter."
The "casual encounter" is really the thing that sets Craigslist apart and makes it able to be the place to meet a prostitute or just fuck a stranger, a one night stand without the requisite tequila shots or lychee martinis. It's exactly right for this moment when we want all the fun and none of the work, another bargain really but the product isn't vinyl or a couch. There's so much irony in referring to these encounters as "casual" but I don't think I need to explain that too much. However, it is entirely fitting that "casual encounters" get people killed in the 21st century. Given the ways of hipsterdom, our previous president and other various world leaders, and industries whose continual failures daily come to light, is there anything more appropriate?
Come on, Eldrick.