10.02.2008

Death-Media

This blog once had a topic.

Here is a good instance of the Death-Media-Effect playing itself out:
The body of the [South Korean] actress, Choi Jin-sil, 39, was found in the bathroom of her apartment with a rope made out of bandages around her neck, Yang Jae-ho, a senior police investigator, said at a news conference.

Already struggling with a messy divorce, she had been deeply troubled by online accusations that she had driven another actor to gas himself in his car a month earlier, Mr. Yang said. The actor, Ahn Jae-hwan, was struggling with debt, and the rumors said she had pressed him relentlessly to repay money she had loaned. She complained to the police about the rumors, which she called baseless, and they were investigating when she died.
Gas-tly rumors, dare we say? (Homage to Dan, 2006/2007) But seriously, rumors that she was a shrewish lender whose shrill and prating demands for the repayment of a loan caused another actor's suicide drove her to suicide? Talk about a media obsessed culture. The Times chimes in with this gem of a detail:
Then, in a sort of high-tech suicide note, Ms. Choi sent cellphone text messages to her makeup assistant, asking her to look after her two children, Mr. Yang said.
Text-messaging is "high-tech?" I would have accepted "post-modern" (though it would have been inaccurate) or "contemporary" or even just "unusual," or I would have taken no mention of it all, but this dimwitted use of a non-current neologism really irks me. And what's with the "sort of?" Is it "high-tech" or not? Make up your mind, don't make me do it for you!

Moving on, a related story of possibly media-induced suicide (though more likely suicide induced by depression, alcohol, and guilt):
A New York City police lieutenant who gave the order to fire a Taser stun gun at an emotionally disturbed man who then fell to his death in Brooklyn committed suicide early on Thursday, law enforcement officials said.

Lt. Michael W. Pigott, a 21-year veteran of the force, was found in a police locker room at a former airfield in Brooklyn, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, said Paul Browne, the police department’s deputy commissioner for public information.
Pretty dark. But in brighter news, it turns out all of those stories about massive numbers of suicides-by-defenestration following the 1929 stock market crash are greatly exaggerated:
Between Black Thursday and the end of 1929, only four of the 100 suicides and suicide attempts reported in the New York Times were plunges linked to the crash, and only two took place on Wall Street.
But fear not, there is some good news:
(There were some crash-related suicides that didn't involve fatal jumps: The president of County Trust Co. and the head of Rochester Gas and Electric both killed themselves, but they used a gun and gas, respectively.)
Have a wonderful day!

1 comment:

Nostradamus said...
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