Yes Breivik's Headshots Were for the Slaughter

When the first pictures of Anders Breivik were released, I wondered whether: “these professionally-done headshots meant for this moment? Did he have them done in anticipation of seeing them splashed all over the world and included in history books? Did he mean to look as posed as possible for posterity?”

It seems that yes, yes they were posed for, for posterity.

“The police usually ‘leak’ ‘retarded looking’ photos to the press after raiding the cell’s apartment after an operation,” Brevik wrote. So he advised his would-be supporters to become well-groomed and have professional photos of themselves made.

“Visit a male salon if possible and apply light makeup,” he wrote. “Yes, I know — this might sound repulsive to big badass warriors like us, but we must look our best for the shoot.”

Got news for you, Breivik, if you were trying not to look “retarded” you succeeded beyond your wildest imaginings. You look like the very model of a modern metrosexual mediocrity.

Only not as smart.

Even worse — if pictures are worth 1000 words, then we should be grateful to you for taking the time to pose, for the rest of us. You’ve provided us with the very illustration of the banality of evil.

Evil has no substance of its own, but is only the defect, excess, perversion, or corruption of that which has substance. — John Henry Newman

And your substance is so…so…blandly unremarkable — even as hard as you have tried — it is ultimately unmemorable, except in its self-consciousness.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Actually, he looks. . . stuffed. As if a taxidermist had posed him.

    Unsurprising, as he seems to be dead inside already. . .

  • Gail F

    Ew. I was hoping it was just from a family photo shoot or something.

  • Stephen Taylor

    I am reminded of “The banality of evil.” We should remember also that many have depicted Satan as the most beautiful of all the angels.

    When we open our hearts to hate, Satan enters very gladly.

    Good post!

  • Stan Beck

    I have posted other places that a good part of his motive was narcissism. He wanted to be both famous and alive. For all the martyr talk he has in the manifesto he sure gave up quick when the police arrived.

    In those place i posted the want him to be a rightwing Christian fundamentalist so very few agreed with me.

  • Bertha

    The John Henry Newman quote is spot on.

  • Fire of Thy Love Catholic Blog

    Maybe he should have worn chain mail, he would have looked more like a “big badass warrior”
    I think that we need more commentary focusing on, as you did, what this actually is: evil. I think those trying to categorize him as being influenced by their opponents rather than looking into the actual event are doing the public quite a disservice.

  • Sounds like Gilbert & Sullivan

    Could be the opening line of a Breivik lampoon:

    You are the very model of a modern mediocrity…

    Catchy, yes?

    What a doofus!

    To me his eyes don’t look dead, they look deadly. Calculating and cold.

    By the way, those hitlerian photos of him in full military regalia would really suit for a nice parody of him complete with images. (Who is he competing with for media attention, Will and Kate?)

    You want attention, you moron? We’ll give it to you. What a total loser.

    Bet that poor photographer feels awful right now. I’d hate to be THAT particular studio.

    He’s gone down in flames. Kinda reminds me of that priest who thinks he is a dog…

  • Billiamo

    “The outer dress hides the inner distress”

    – Yiddish proverb

  •!/home.php?sk=group_27085299493&ap=1 Jean-François Virey

    You people are only projecting your anger on these photographs. If you had no idea who they were of, you wouldn’t be seeing half the things you’re seeing in them. If I told you this was a young pro-life activist who had just been murdered while supporting the cause, or some Catholic actor who was to play St John in an upcoming Jesus film, you’d be seeing very different things in his face.

  • Janet

    My wish? None of these pictures would be used from here on in when reporting about him. Take a few pics of him in a prison jumpsuit and shackles and use them – sparingly.

  • Andy

    Anchoress – with all due respect as I agree with your description of Mr. Breivik as evil, I am concerned about the word “retarded”. I work with many individuals who are intellectually impaired and their parents as well as with preservice teachers who want to become special educators. The word retarded has become a synonym with stupid, evil, worthless and a host of other negative descriptors. I wish, even as Ms. Palin wanted, and it hard for me to agree with her, that we banish this word from our descriptions of people. This is a “flash point” for me I realize, and maybe me alone. but I feel strongly about it.
    I am not attempting to tell you how to write or what to write I am asking for those folks I work with who need respect.

    [Andy. I was QUOTING HIM. I grew up with Down syndrome kids and believe me I'm just as sensitive as you are. But that's the word he used. Sometimes people use the word and you quote them to showcase their ignorance and their narrow, small, evil little minds. Down syndrome kids have much more dignity and love of humanity that this mediocrity. Get it, now? -admin]

  • Andy

    Anchoress – i did not realize that it was his word. I was not trying to imply a lack of sensitivity. Like I said it one of my flash points, as I hear all to often in the towns I work in. Thank you for the explanation that it was his.

    [Thanks Andy, and I'm sorry if I seemed testy, but frankly it gets frustrating sometimes -- people are so quick to call "insensitivity" on others, without really digesting what they're seeing or hearing. I clearly had his quotes in italics or insets; I clearly used quotation marks. I think part of our difficulties as a nation is connected to how quick we all are to take offense at something and jump on it. And I'm sure I do it, too. But we all need to take a breath and climb down! :-) -admin]

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    No, I don’t think so, Jean.

    I think his face would still look pretty weird, and dead, to me.

    (And I seriously doubt you can read our minds, or see into alternate time streams—so you can’t tell us what we’d see if things had been different, blah, blah, blah.)

  • Sue from Buffalo


    I don’t see what most of you see in those photos. I see a young man posing for the camera. Not bad looking. I feel sick that he did this just so that the world would get a good picture of him.

    I really do think that if we didn’t know anything about him that he would just look like the average young man.

    My heart is so sick. This evil masquerades as someone normal.