Friday, February 25, 2005

Ann Althouse warns against romanticizing Hunter Thompson's suicide:

I repeat the point from my title: do not romanticize a suicide. I'm sure the family needs to find ways to deal with their own loss and their own sense of responsibility and, less sympathetically, has an interest in preserving and promoting the reputation of the author, but statements like this are reckless and dangerous. How many young (and older) people read and admire Hunter S. Thompson and sometimes have thoughts of suicide? Portraying it as a beautiful thing, a triumph, and an act of sublime control over destiny is profoundly wrong!

Excellent point. How many disaffected twenty-somethings did I know in school who were trying to live the Bukowski life, as though destroying your body like he did his was the path to enlightenment? (Many grew out of this, some did not.) For that matter, how many young men in Romantic Era Europe shot themselves in the head a la Werther, as though this were a fashion choice not dissimilar to tying their cravats in the way their fictional hero described himself doing?


Thank you for the link, Ann. Working for an agency that treats behavioral health issues and having dealt with the deaths (self inflicted - slow method and quick) of more than one depressed artistic friend, I do find the media's playing up this romanticized image of suicide very irresponsible. People are so impressionable.

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