More on deviant language

After my last blog on Language of a Con Man I have been listening to a lot of podcasts mostly on fraud and fraudsters. I will share a list of interesting podcasts, documentaries, and books in a future blog.  

One of the podcasts however was ABC’s podcast “Truth and Lies” on Jeffrey Epstein, deceased multi-sex offender who sexually abused minors amongst other sex offenses. There was one recording, where Epstein comments on his need for privacy at his remote ranch and on his private island. Epstein’s utterances struck me as so remarkable, that I decided to write a blog about it following my blog about NXIVM and some of Keith Raniere’s messages and language patterns. I think it is high time that we really listen, what offenders say and start analysing and de-constructing their language patterns.

In episode 7 of said podcast from minute 3:52 to minute 4:15 one can hear Epstein state this:

“I realize what I am.
I am very comfortable in my own skin.
What I am really free to do is, I am free to follow my own personality.
I can’t be totally whacko, in what I do.
But within, on my own island, on my own ranch, I can think the thoughts I want to think.
I can do the work I want to do.
I am free to explore the way I see fit.”

Knowing what we know now that Epstein sexually abused female teenage minors, this is a chilling remark. The first two sentences alone seem to be an admittance on Epstein’s part, that he crystal clearly knew what he was, what he was doing and above all that he was okay with it. 

What is also striking in this short statement of seven sentences made up of 76 words, Epstein manages to utter 13 times “I”. That’s a lot of “I”s. 13 times “I” in a total of 76 words constitutes almost 20% of the entire statement. In every fifth word Epstein refers to himself. If we add the four times “my” and four times “own” as additional self-references, this adds up to 21 self-references or almost a third of all utterances in the statement. That is a remarkable exhibit of self-centeredness. Me, myself and I…

If you compare Epstein’s statement with the so-called 408 cipher of the Zodiac, a Bay Area serial killer of the sixties and seventies, who sent taunting letters to the press, you will find a significant difference. Zodiac’s encrypted letter sent in three parts to three different newspapers in 1969 and shortly thereafter decrypted, reads as follows (including misspellings but without scrambled filler letters at the end:

“I like killing people because it is much fun.
It is much more fun than killing wild game in the forrest because man is the most dangeroue animal of all.
To kill something gives me the most thrilling experence.
It is even better than getting your rocks off with a girl.
The best part of it is thae when I die I will be reborn in paradice and thei have killed will become my slaves.
I will not give you my name because you will try to sloi down or atop my collectiog of slaves for my afterlife.”

In comparison to Epstein, the Zodiac killer only utters four times “I”, four times “my” and once “me” in a message of six sentences made up of 98 words. Of course this message is longer, but that’s a significant lesser use of self-references just shy of 10% of all words in his message, than compared to Epstein’s. The Zodiac seems to brag about his killings and taunt the police, although one can infer that killing excited him.

What strikes me as odd, is that Epstein could have chosen to answer a million different ways than what he actually said. He could have explained that as an introvert he likes his privacy and needs time away from it all. He could have said that to rest and recover from his very demanding life, he needs locations at far-away places. But nay. He chose to tell it as it is. “I am free to explore the way I see fit.” Epstein gets what Epstein wants…

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