Rubberneck Culture

An accident occurs along the interstate. Usually on an interstate, metal-colliding-with-metal is going to happen at a high rate of speed, thus increasing the likelihood of injury and/or death. Whether it’s a simple fender-bender or a more serious multi-car pileup with injuries and even fatalities, most drivers respond in a predictable manner.

automobile accident, 1929
FROM: http://www.vintag.es/2013/04/an-automobile-accident-1929.html

They react with natural but morbid curiosity. They will avert their eyes from the road to see what has happened. In such instances (even for accidents that occur across the median) normal interstate traffic chokes to a crawl. Like sick voyeurs, we find our eyes irresistibly drawn to the misfortunes (perhaps even bloody misfortunes) of others.

I wonder about this rubbernecking of culture. The death of Robin Williams (see yesterday’s post here) was only the latest example of this phenomenon. First, we had the 24/7 media storm. Not just the simple fact that Williams was dead, but instant retrospectives appeared, featuring his life and artistic portfolio, even online photo displays of the inside of his home. There was an intensity in the examination that felt creepy … almost as if his underwear drawer had been laid bare for public scrutiny. Continue reading “Rubberneck Culture”

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Goodbye, Peter Pan

Suicide is never noble!

Let me repeat. Suicide. Is. Never. Noble. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever!

"Robin Williams 2011a (2)" by Eva Rinaldi → Flickr: Robin Williams - →This file has been extracted from another image: File:Robin Williams 2011a.jpg.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Robin_Williams_2011a_(2).jpg#mediaviewer/File:Robin_Williams_2011a_(2).jpg
FROM: http://tiny.cc/xehikx

The individual may be a supposedly devout Muslim and ardent follower of the radical Al-Qaeda who is perversely motivated by the promise of 72 virgins for dying a so-called martyr’s death.

Or the individual may be a celebrated comic, actor and all-around good guy as Robin Williams appears to have been.

Whatever the person’s status, religious conviction or seemingly hopeless conditions might be, not one of these reasons (in my view) justifies self-murder. And I say it again for emphasis:  No death by suicide should be considered a noble act … ever!

Am I being harsh? I don’t think so. I’ve posted about suicide before (here, here, here, among others). My thoughts on the subject should be clear to anyone who reads those posts. Most people who know me would probably agree I’m compassionate and have a deep well of empathy. But I’m also acutely pragmatic. Continue reading “Goodbye, Peter Pan”