alicemacher: Lisa Winklemeyer from the webcomic Penny and Aggie, c2004-2011 G. Lagacé, T Campbell (Default)
[personal profile] alicemacher posting in [community profile] scans_daily

"Alan describes this story as 'an inversion of regular horror stories: What's horrible isn't that grotesque things happen to people, but that people want grotesque things to happen to them.' In such a society, where self-image and self-worth are perversely equated with public recognition and approval of self-destruction, where does the greater horror lie--in acceptance or rejection?"
--Steve Bissette's introduction

Trigger warning for suicide.

From Taboo #1 (Fall 1988; story scripted 1985). Art by Bill Wray.

Meet Carol Steiner, a polio survivor and recent arrival to New York.

Carol calls the network to complain, but they claim never to have heard of the show. She wonders all that week whether Joyce's death was real or a gag, and despite herself tunes in the next Monday evening, when a contestant spins the wheel and gets knifed to death. Clearly, no gag.

Carol's horror and nausea gradually become morbid fascination as she tunes in Monday after Monday. Eventually she sends away for tickets. On her first night seeing it live, a longtime audience member makes her feel at home. She witnesses a contestant get the hammer.

Date: 2017-07-14 05:28 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] blueprintstyles
Good God

Seen this in real life

Date: 2017-07-14 06:12 am (UTC)
blue_bolt: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blue_bolt
I'm not sure what the psychological terms would be, but I've seen a person who had a deathwish and I don't mean reckless. Although in their case it had something to do with thrill seeking so that's not really the same. This is a bit more unbalanced than that.

Any psychologists/psychiatrists reading this have a word that comes to mind?

Re: Seen this in real life

Date: 2017-07-14 09:12 am (UTC)
leoboiko: (Default)
From: [personal profile] leoboiko
I'm definitely not, just some average layperson, but this story makes me think not of an individual's choice of suicide, but of suicide culture – groups, cults, circles where acceptance and belonging are conditioned on the pedestalization of death. As in the author's quote, I think it isn't about thrill-seeking, but self-worth, and:

In such a society, where self-image and self-worth are perversely equated with public recognition and approval of self-destruction, where does the greater horror lie--in acceptance or rejection?"

…And the reader is left with the chilling realization that our mainstream society, too, does the same perverse equation. Not with suicide, of course; but we do starve and deform and shave and poison our bodies in the name of public recognition. Does the fact that we decide to do it voluntarily makes it any better?

In a less obvious way, I also think the story is so disturbing because notions of consent and agency start to get fuzzy if we accept that cultures and societies can make people want things. Thinking too hard about this leads to existential horror.

Date: 2017-07-14 09:29 am (UTC)
lissa_quon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lissa_quon
Hunh its like Videodrome and Suicide Club had a baby.

Not an expert on psychiatry but this feels more like a societal pressure. Shared hysteria of sorts. The drive and desire for suicide is a thing that pops up in Japanese horror a fair amount.

Date: 2017-07-14 12:28 pm (UTC)
wizardru: Hellboy (Default)
From: [personal profile] wizardru
Is the character changing age, aging or is the art just a bit inconsistent. I realize Wray is going for a style, here, but I'm trying to figure out if part of the punchline is that she's been coming for years and still hasn't been called, but keeps watching people die and watches unflinchingly.

Date: 2017-07-14 06:02 pm (UTC)
leoboiko: (Default)
From: [personal profile] leoboiko
I think it's intended as deliberate aging, yes. Probably meant to show that she takes a long time living in misery and self-harming with the show, before becoming fully eager to be called.

Date: 2017-07-14 01:43 pm (UTC)
fungo_squiggly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fungo_squiggly
The cartoonish nature of the art during the death scenes works pretty well to make them more outlandishly horrifying.


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