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Vice Magazine Sticks Its Head in the Oven of Good Taste

By Courtney Enlow | Think Pieces | June 18, 2013 | Comments ()


plath.jpg

“Suicide. It’s so beautiful, you guys.” — the most dangerous thought that can occur to a person / a gleefully accepted suggestion in Vice’s last content meeting.

Well, as you may have heard by now, Vice, in its latest Fiction issue, decided to create an entire fashion spread dedicated to female authors who’ve committed suicide (and Dorothy Parker because she ded, whatevs). Each meticulously staged photo was complete with fashion credits (you, too, can purchase the stockings Sanmao used to hang herself! Wear them with a cute herringbone skirt!) and the death details of each author (but not, like, mentions of her work or anything unnecessary like that, because all that matters is live fast, die young, literary girls do it well, I suppose).

I don’t want to shock you. But pretty pictures depicting the suicides of severely ill women who left a legacy of much more than death did not sit well with the internet.

Only after the firestorm (about fourteen hours of it) did Vice make the goodhearted sacrifice of pulling the images from their website.

“Last Words” is a fashion spread featuring models reenacting the suicides of female authors who tragically ended their own lives. It is part of our 2013 Fiction Issue, one that is entirely dedicated to female writers, photographers, illustrators, painters, and other contributors.



The fashion spreads in VICE Magazine are always unconventional and approached with an art editorial point-of-view rather than a typical fashion photo-editorial one. Our main goal is to create artful images, with the fashion message following, rather than leading.



”Last Words” was created in this tradition and focused on the demise of a set of writers whose lives we very much wish weren’t cut tragically short, especially at their own hands. We will no longer display “Last Words” on our website and apologize to anyone who was hurt or offended.



—VICE

As always, it only seems like a good idea to pull the offending piece after an internet shitstorm. Also, it’s still in the published magazine, so enjoy the suicide, I guess.

I mean, I don’t have to say things like “as someone whose family has been affected by suicide blah blah blah” right? I don’t need to point out that for young artsy teens who go through life unable to fit in, the idea that suicide is somehow poignant is incredibly dangerous and this photo shoot literally glorifying its glamour is horrifically negligent? I don’t need to point out that a spread that basically says “Elise Cowen jumped out a window. Buy these shoes for $600!” is really fucked up, right? Cool. Just making sure we’re on the same page.



On "Mad Men," Don Draper Demands His Pound of Flesh | Double Threats: In Loving Tribute To The Actors Who Write For Their Own Show






Are you following Pajiba on Facebook or Twitter? Every time you do, Bill Murray crashes a wedding.


Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • DehydrationStation

    "... pretty pictures depicting the
    suicides of severely ill women ... did
    not sit well with the internet."

    What does this even mean? And since when did we start giving a shit what the Internet thinks? Good Lord, it's jam-packed full of reactionary idiots.

    I am dismayed that VICE responded to this ridiculous outcry and removed the spread 'Last Words' from its webpage. Dismayed, firstly, that (as usual) the most entitled and vocal and shallow and reactionary people in our society have apparently been given the power of veto over what some of us consider art.

    ----- OH NO! I AM SAYING THINGS YOU DISAGREE WITH!

    But I am also dismayed that VICE didn't have the confidence in what it had created to stand firm in its decision to print this bold set of photos. What a sad betrayal of the artist. VICE said, "Yes, Annabel Mehran, we love it, and we will definitely put your work on the Internet... but if it causes a shitstorm, go fuck yourself and your stupid pictures."

    ----- MORE WORDS THAT MAKE YOU ANGRY!

    As an artist who understands art and art's function, I would be proud to have created such a shitstorm. I would take off my shirt and fucking dance around in it. My greatest fear is that artists and photographers will respond to a reactionary audience by moderating their work into milquetoast, bland, lumpy shit. And many of them are.

    ----- AARRGH! YOU SO DISAGREE!

    Listen, I know I'm probably not going to turn you around on this issue, but you should all be made aware of what you're doing to our society. By allowing your vociferous, petty concerns about being offended to rule what is deemed acceptable in the world of art, you are only guaranteeing that the type of art that is produced will bore you. By reacting this way, and telling artists that pushing boundaries is socially unacceptable, you are effectively acting like half-witted censors for the future.

    ----- YOU ARE SO FUCKING MAD RIGHT NOW!

    Yes, censors. These JEZEBEL idiots succeeded in getting 'Last Words' removed from the Internet. Bully for them. Is this something that you PAJIBANS are actually happy about? Could you possibly be this stupid? Do you even understand what a disgusting affront that is to the very nature and phenomena of the Internet itself? I really get the sense that you don't.

    ----- SOOOO MAD!

    So, celebrate your victory. Be it in the name of feminism, or in the name of your daughters' future, or in the name of Oh-my-God-I-know-someone-who-committed-suicide, or whatever your axe to grind may be. Celebrate your victory like it actually means something, and wasn't just a knee-jerk response by a bunch of offended fucking Internet housewives to a type of art they probably never would have been exposed to anyway, and probably couldn't understand even if it came with subtitles.

    ----- LISTENING TO ICE-CREAM TRUCK MUSIC ALL AFTERNOON MAD!

    Some of us ghoulish trolls actually do believe that art is a celebration of just how diverse and creative the human mind is. Some of us see censorship as a blight, but you people obviously see it as a best friend who protects you from maybe having your sensibilities offended. Good luck with that. I look forward to the day it comes around and bites you on the ass.

  • ferryman

    I had to give you an up vote because I was able to relate your rant to another subject that is similarly argued elsewhere.
    In the end, art is a personal opinion, unique to each individual and therefore practically impossible to attach "rules" to same.
    Thank you for helping me understand some small vexing issue I have wrestled with for a number of years.

  • DehydrationStation

    An upvote! Gracious! What shall I spend it on? Can someone post a link to the upvote store? I'm ready to cash in!

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Yeah, if you could remove all the signs that your hemorrhoids are inflamed from your post, that'd be great.

  • alwaysanswerb
  • $27019454

    I'm not so fucking mad right now and I'm not offended and I'm not even particularly provoked -- neither by the photo spread, nor by Courtney's think piece. I'm not even "so mad" at you. I'm just BLOWN away you have so much hot air to waste on a message board on the internet. Chill, man. It's a message board. On the internet.

  • DehydrationStation

    Look on the bright side. I'm not murdering kittens. And at least I am not using my Internet voice to curtail Annabel Mehran`s freedom of expression.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    But, for the sake of "Art", you would murder kittens, right?

  • Was murdering kittens the next thing on your agenda? And if not, why mention it? And Annabel Mehran not only expressed herself, she got it published. The spread is still in the magazine. No one stopped her from taking those pictures. No one stopped them from publishing the magazine. The backlash from potential customers - based on using images of dead writers to sell clothes whilst mentioning nary a one of their accomplishments - prompted the magazine to make the CHOICE to take down the pictures. So go be mad at them for that.

  • DehydrationStation

    "Was murdering kittens the next thing on your agenda? And if not, why mention it?"

    To be funny? You know, humour. Maybe have that added to your programming sometime.

    You raise an interesting point. Why aren't those who are opposed to this tasteless spread not going after the print edition? I mean, getting the photos taken off the internet is essentially moot now that JEZEBEL has essentially re-posted the entire shoot.

  • Yes, dear, that was a joke. Dry humor is now on the list of stuff you don't get. And again I say: no one has objected to the photos. They have objected to the lack of acknowledgment of what those women accomplished besides, you know, dying, and the fact that the pictures of dead artists are being used to sell clothing. Do you really not get that?

  • DehydrationStation

    Humour. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    So, apart from the whole selling shoes thing, you would have been perfectly happy if each photo came with a little pull-out biography, informing the ignorant masses of the accomplishments of Sylvia Plath prior to her ending her life.

  • There is no APART from the whole selling shoes thing. That is the POINT of the photo spread. "Here are dead writers, buy these clothes!" I find that offensive.

  • DehydrationStation

    Yes, I know there is no APART from the whole selling shoes thing; I am positing an alternative reality to you in order to more clearly delineate what exactly offends you, and what might need to be removed from or added to this scenario in order for the photographs to be considered acceptable art.

    You see, these pictures are already art to me, and aren't offensive to me in the least.

    But, that being said, I don't give a shit about the newest pair of Manolo Blahniks. I also don't get offended by fictionalized depictions of suicide. I've seen countless fictional depictions of suicide, as well as some real ones. I also don't need a printed biography of each artist being depicted, because most photographs of famous people (or, rather, people pretending to be famous people) don't come with this.

    I appreciate that I am being effectively demonized in this thread for not being offended and outraged like everyone believes I should be, but I honestly think that my NOT being offended by these different elements, as well as my appreciation that this photo shoot is quite artful, isn't that much of a stretch.

    In fact, I am beginning to see that most people are offended simply because of a confluence of elements. OH! Suicide! OH! Famous women's accomplishments not being acknowledged! OH! Commercialism! OH! Shocking imagery!

    Remove one or more of those elements, and people would probably be OK with the shoot, and begin to appreciate it as art, worthy of being protected.

    The photo shoot was designed to shock; that is what VICE magazine is about. I don't get offended easily, and I respond positively to art that tries to take you out of your comfort zone. So I don't need elements removed.

  • $27019454

    Wow. You so edgy, man.

  • Monica

    I bet he makes shitty art.

  • DehydrationStation

    Now that's not very nice at all.

  • Thanks for telling us how we feel. Nothing remotely condescending in that. And I think you missed the point. If these pictures had been in a gallery or presented as art, rather than being used to sell articles of clothing while not once mentioning the work of the authors in question, nor in any way reflecting on the pain that led them to commit suicide, then I would happily enjoy the macabre images, revel in the beauty of the moment before death, reflect upon how difficult their lives must have been to bring them to this moment. But it was a fucking fashion shoot, and the implications of that go beyond art to what is pushed on women as "glamorous" - which frequently involves images glorifying abuse, rape, starvation, and murder of female models.

    I'm not a goddamned internet housewife. I'm a woman who deals with the epidemic of rape and its psychological damage to its victims every single fucking day. So you go ahead and see the "art" in reducing great writers to the way they died, and using that to sell expensive clothes. I'll be over here thanking my lucky stars that women have a voice - and purchasing power - they are willing to use to point out that some images and tropes contribute to damage done daily to the position, standing, and psyches of women, all in the name of selling us shit most of us don't want.

    BTW, censorship is a government function. The choice of a money-making institution to issue an apology for having offended potential customers is called the free market.

  • DehydrationStation

    Yes, because art can only exist in a gallery. I can think of no better way to exemplify the type of narrow mindedness you are embodying.

    Art is always censored because of "the implications ... that go beyond art." Art is never censored simply because it is bad art.

  • Close reading is not your forte. I said if it was presented as art, which can be done in magazines, on the sides of buildings, in a person's home, in books, in parks, etc. But to say that this was supposed to simply be art, when it was quite obviously a fashion shoot to sell the items of clothing listed with prices and places one could buy them is disingenuous.

  • DehydrationStation

    Yes, your claiming it is merely an advertisement is certainly a neat way to get around the whole nasty "art" angle. But, not having to argue your position, I see no reason why it can't be both. Indeed, most artists and photographers cut their teeth in the commercial arena.

  • And because it was a commercial shoot in a commercial magazine selling commercial products, the owners of said magazine decided that they should apologize for their decision to present something most folks would find distressing (suicide) as a meter for fashion choices. No one said "That's bad art." They said it's in bad taste to use suicide of literary figures to sell stockings. Not sure why you have a problem with people holding that opinion. And I explained fully that I could appreciate the art if it were a reflection on the suicides, but that's not the point of these pictures. Again, close reading isn't your thing, is it?

  • DehydrationStation

    So... showing shoe prices under the photo equals "cheapening the life and legacy of female artists" and no shoe prices equals art you can appreciate?

  • If they had a photo shoot portraying Kurt Cobain or Ernest Hemingway, with zero mention of their artistic output at all, accompanied by an advertisement for shotguns, I would have the exact same problem with it. I never said the photos weren't interesting or nice. What bothers me is that they weren't there to ruminate on death or any other aspect of the purported subjects' lives, but to sell luxury apparel.

    Tell me, do you consider the JC Penny flyer in the Sunday paper art? There are photographers hired to pose people in ways that are supposed to entice us to purchase clothing and other goods. Unless you are positing that all commercial photo shoots hold intrinsic artistic value, then your argument does not hold up.

    The talent of the photographer has never been in question. Using her images to try to sell women things, while simultaneously ignoring anything remarkable about those women, save the manner of their deaths, is offensive to me. And, quite obviously, to enough people that the magazine felt it incumbent upon them to issue an apology.

  • I have been reading this lengthy debate here and I think the point you make about Kurt Cobain is your best one yet. I think if you had an image of Cobain on the floor dead, shotgun laying next to him and text around the body telling us where we could by his shoes, pants and shirt it would be in HORRIBLE taste.

  • DehydrationStation

    For me, the pictures were there almost entirely to provoke rumination on death and suicide and mental health. But I don't buy luxury women's apparel.

    Whether this gives me some sort of gender blindness to the issues being raised is, I suppose, debatable, but I don't think I need to equate it to every JC Penney spread in existence to "prove" that it has artistic merit. Clearly, it just does, and also VICE referred to their intent to highlight the art editorial point of view.

    You seem less upset that they used it for advertising than the fact that they didn't go out of their way to provide a lengthy artist's bio for every person being depicted. Myself, I think that may have been rather the point. Here is this deep artist, devoid of accomplishment and now alone, committing suicide, ending a life of brilliance.

  • No, I'm mostly upset that in an issue dedicated to fiction, the only use they could find for these female writers was to sell dresses that might have been popular when they committed suicide.

  • DehydrationStation

    Showing a single element of someone's life in isolation, in this case how they died, isn't always a detestable and willful negation of everything else that they are or were.

    Again, this is quite apart from the whole shoes selling thing.

    These suicide reenactments, shown in isolation, may actually have a point to make by being that way.

    But, hey, If you recognize the person in the picture as Sylvia Plath, maybe it adds a profound depth to the image for you. If you don't, you can always fucking Google her name.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Admit it. When was the last time you had this much fun?

    Say what you will, this has been a particularly articulate shit storm.

  • DehydrationStation

    I haven't had this much fun since I posted on PAJIBA for a short time back in 2010.

    I once posted, "Going merely by the response to my posts in this single thread, [Pajiba is] a suspicious, insular clique of insecure hipster doofuses who are far more willing to insult and reject a newbie than offer even the tiniest shred of welcome.

    And earned the following comments:

    "There's a slight possibility that you're the worst person on earth."

    "... this won't be the last time we hear from [him]. He'll be back and bitching with all of us eventually and maybe start to realize he actually likes all these hipsters even though he doesn't agree with them."

    Perhaps Becks was right. :)

  • Maguita NYC

    This made me particularly sad.

    You've kept comments that hurt your feelings for over THREE YEARS, remembered what thread to look into, and the commentators who you thought had made you feel unwelcome. For three fucking years.

    You thought of it and held a grudge.

    I can't really judge that three-year-old thread, for you have opted to not post your initial comment that drew that particular Pajiba shit storm. And all this saddens me on a whole different level, for I can tell you I was quite warmly welcomed - Sass, quick temper, dirty mouth and all - the first day in Pajiba land, and was even honored with first-day orientation by none other then our favorite drunk Zeke-the-pig.

    And my first comment? Dissing Community's Chevy Chase back when it was not in style. Back when his assholistic behavior was not yet outed in the open, and he was some kind of king of all. So you can imagine the reaction.

    Here is something that might hurt, but you're a big girl, you've taken some rough shit these past 30-some hours and begged for more. Loves me a good masochist who can handle more than her fair share (hey, I just got me in the 50-Shades-of-Grey mood! Oh, my.)

    If you get into a tiff with a stranger first thing in the morning, you get over it and think "Meh, just an asshole".

    But you keep on getting into tiffs with more than half the population all day long?

    Sorry dear, Newsflash: You were the asshole all day long.

    So you go to bed, put the shitty behavior behind you, and start the next day with a good deed. Turn that negativity around. And now that you have been on a shit binge for almost two-days straight, time to put this to bed, and come tomorrow, how about you throw us some love, us poor snarky hipster doofeses.

    After all, it's been over three years already. Newsflash DehydrationStation, YOU ARE NOW A PAJIBAN!

    MWAAHHAHAHAHHHAAAHHAHAHAHAHHAAAAAA!

  • DehydrationStation

    Um, no.

    I did a keyword search for something I knew I wrote on Pajiba, spent 40 seconds searching for it, pulled it up in an archived version of the page, copied it, and pasted it here. I assure you, I have given that particular thread very little thought in the intervening years, and what thought I've given it is quite positive, as I enjoy both being an asshole and being part of particularly articulate shit storms.

    My first comment was on one of the feature writers who used the turn of phrase "up to our nips." I was so utterly disgusted and enthralled with how trying-too-hard it sounded, I had to create an account and post.

    As for my actually being a Pajiban as a result, I fear you may be speaking a bit too quickly. I'm not sure what grotesque hazing ritual awaits me should I choose the Pajiban way of life, but I am quite sure it will be awful and very very sexual.

  • Mrs. Julien

    How did you lay hands on those comments so quickly? Were they not lost to the sands of Disqus during the comment system transition? If there is a way I can get my hands on old comments, I should very much like to know it.
    Subject: Re: New comment posted on Vice Magazine Sticks Its Head in the Oven of Good Taste

  • Fabius_Maximus

    He's probably one of those who copy and paste whole discussions he took part in to beat people over the head with them later.

    We are rather welcoming to new people, D-Station, provided they don't prove themselves of belonging that particular species you need fire to remove permanently.

  • DehydrationStation

    Actually, @Fabius_Maximus:disqus, in the thread I'm referring to, Becks, Nieve 'The Threadkiller Queen', Spender and Orrin Hatch all pounded my ass relentlessly... until Becks and I finally started getting along, and then everybody behaved themselves like good little Pajibans right up until this thread.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    If you'd refrain from reacting butthurt in an internet discussion (I mean, you really don't need to respond immediately if you have rage issues), then maybe the reactions wouldn't be so harsh?

  • DehydrationStation

    This is the third time in this thread you have generously attempted to instruct me in how to best modify my online behaviour in order to make your experience of my posts, and others' reactions to my posts, more pleasant. Overall, do I strike you as someone who has placed a priority on pleasantries?

  • Fabius_Maximus

    No. But if you don't, and still act the way you do, you have no right to complain. Which you constantly do.

  • DehydrationStation

    Thanks for the advice, Dad.

  • Jezzer

    No, you strike us as someone with an Axis II disorder and delusions of grandeur, you hollow, pretentious schmuck.

  • DehydrationStation

    As per usual, I am being accused of delusions of grandeur by someone who is attempting to speak for the entire Pajiba community. You can't make up this shit, folks.

  • DehydrationStation

    Happy to walk you through it.
    E-mail me at dehydrationstation@gmail.com

  • Feralhousecat

    Hurray! I got dragged into this! Hi, Mom!

  • YES. YES YOU ARROGANT DOUCHENOZZLE.

    That right there is precisely the fucking point. USING A PERSON'S SUICIDE TO SELL GODDAMN SHOES IS FUCKING WRONG.

    If this was simply a photoshoot focusing on the women, the the "art" argument holds water. But the very intent of the shoot was to sell clothing. That is why Vice had it in the magazine. That is why it put it on the internet. Not to promote daring art. Not to highlight famous women, TO SELL FUCKING SHOES.

    If it really, truly has to be reduced to such kindergarten levels in order for you to remove that stick from your ass and let you get over yourself, then YES. THE PRICES WERE THE BIG PROBLEM.

    If Vice were really all that concerned about presenting daring and controversial art, why put those there? Why even detract from the experience of seeing the "art" by attaching such to it? Doesn't that dilute any message that it was meant to convey? Was it trying to convey anything at all?

    Art is, at the most basic level, communication. It is the artist trying to convey something to the audience is some form or fashion. So what exactly is this artist trying to convey? What is the message, the intent? WHAT IS THE FUCKING POINT, BESIDES SELLING FUCKING SHOES?!?!?!!!

  • DehydrationStation

    I had always assumed that advertising the contents of a magazine photo shoot was merely a way of covering the costs of the shoot. They did have to hire Annabel Mehran, and, really, any other (more or less artistic) noncommercial content in the magazine is (eventually) paid for by advertising.

    The very "intent" of VICE Magazine in general is to be profitable. Even art-specific magazines have advertising. How can anyone claim that a photo shoot has no artistic merit simply because the photos contain items you can purchase?

  • How many people did claim the photos have no artistic merit? I have not seen a single art critique on this discussion. I have seen disgust with the photos being used to sell clothing. Are we reading the same words?

  • How many of these art-specific magazines put the advertising on top of the art they are trying to highlight?

    And again, what what the point of the piece if it isn't to sell the clothing then? Hmmm? Please, explain that part to me. Tell me what was the noncommercial point of the shoot.

    Remember, then made no mention of these women or their lives EXCEPT the way they died. So any real context as to why we should even care about their deaths beyond basic human compassion has been intentionally removed. As far as anyone is concerned, these are just random women who killed themselves. So again, what is the point?

    No, an even better question: what do you THINK was the point? Since you insist it is "art" for art's sake, and it shouldn't be judged by the commercial applications. What is the message are YOU getting from this? What is your personal interpretation of the work?

    What did this say to you?

  • DehydrationStation

    "Tell me what was the noncommercial point of the shoot."

    Surely you don't believe the photographer had nothing to convey artistically. What was it? I don't know; ask her.

    I haven't seen all the pictures from the shoot, but I do find the photo that PAJIBA chose to re-post at the top of this page to be quite profound. It certainly has an eerie calm about it.

    Notwithstanding (a) its attachment to the unforgivable sin of commercialism, and (b) not including text which outlines all the accomplishments of the artist being depicted, I could see it in a photographic gallery.

  • frank247

    You are Barry Hogan!

    I win today's internet!!!!

  • Jezzer

    Baz is a lot less head-up-own-assy.

  • Feralhousecat

    The photographer and the stylist for this shoot are women and artists themselves. That struck me as horrible.

  • NateMan

    Women are exactly as dumb as men. Usually in different ways, but just as dumb. Every time we forget that, someone pops up to remind us.

  • Tinkerville

    I don't think she was ever saying that women aren't as dumb as men. The issue (for me at least) is that it's even more disappointing to find out that women were involved in something like this because these are famous female authors that the photos are depicting, and though the reasons behind their suicides are undoubtedly complicated, the fact that they felt stifled as women in society are said to have contributed to their decisions. Therefore, these are in part women's issues at hand and the women artists responsible should be ashamed.

    It's like when a woman says that they're okay with the gender wage gap, or that they should be submissive to their husbands. There's an extra dose of-- HUBBAWHAAAT that comes with it, moreso than when a man says it.

  • Feralhousecat

    Exactly. Female artists cheapening the life and legacy of fellow female artists.

  • DehydrationStation

    That`s an interesting interpretation of the photo shoot. How does depicting a suicide cheapen, well, anything?

  • frank247

    Using the depiction of a famous person's suicide as a pictorial to sell clothes is at best pitiful, and at heart, despicable.

    Shame on you for trying to defend Vice magazine.
    Are you a subscriber or a contributor?

  • Jezzer

    Apparently it's an artiste!

  • DehydrationStation

    No, not a subscriber or a contributor. I did watch their documentary on Liberia, though, so I could have become infected with my own opinion through that means.

  • frank247

    Why do you care so much then?

    Why spend so many hours online defending something in which you have no investment?

    Are you a troll, a professional disrupter?

    Are Dementors real, and is this the entrance exam?

    Do you not feel?

    To see so many people arguing against you, do you not CARE?

  • DehydrationStation

    I do admit to finding the Internet's response to the VICE photoshoot particularly interesting. The level of moral outrage, not only here but on the Globe and Mail and other places, is fascinating.

  • frank247

    But why do you not care, or at least empathise?
    Why do you feel that a stringent "you are incorrect" response is the sensible response?

  • DehydrationStation

    Empathise with whom?

  • frank247

    Empathise with those who took their lives, who else, ya dumb bastard.

    Really, I've lost any patience I had with you.
    I no longer care if you are mocking or uncaring, you deserve to have tropical diseases rain down on your, no doubt, thick skull.

    Stop being obtuse, stop being a troll, stop being stupid.

    Go away.

  • DehydrationStation

    It was an innocuous and perfectly valid question; I'm not sure why my asking it has apparently become the straw that has broken your back in this discussion.

    You're asking me to empathize with a dead person, but empathy relies on responding to someone else's emotional state. What emotional state does someone who killed themselves 40 years ago have?

    And these aren't pictures of people killing themselves; they are dramatized photographed re-enactments.

    All far as the whole sacredness you are apparently attaching to suicide, allow me to point out that suicide is depicted thousands of times in various forms of media. There's even a 2006 movie -- 'The Bridge' -- which shows several actual (that is, non-dramatized) suicides.

  • Wicked

    I watched that not too long ago. I felt so incredibly sad for the people affected by what they did. Many actually regret doing it while they are falling(many who have survived said this). Also, the director knew what he was doing, he was watching one of the final jumpers all day, he did nothing, not even warn the police, absolutely nothing. So that doc did have some controversy within it.

    Also, people need to understand that suicide is not joke. It comes with severe psychological imbalances and issues, especially manic depression, bipolar, schizophrenia and so on. I keep saying, sure it might seem selfish but many do not even comprehend what they are doing, they just want it to end... and when they do notice, it was too late.

  • DehydrationStation

    Yes, many people who attempt suicide say that their first thought right after they step off the bridge is, "I immediately regret this decision."

    For anyone interested in watching 'The Bridge', there is a subtitled version available online:

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com...

  • Vice - where cocaine isn't just a drug, it's the CEO.

  • e jerry powell

    Didn't we already go through a similar thing with ANTM Cycle 8, when someone went through and killed every model for beauty shots?

  • emmalita

    In the world pre-internet, I saw several fashion spreads that depicted women in high fashion dead either through murder or suicide. Obviously not really dead women, but it's not a new idea.

  • e jerry powell

    Nobody ever accused Tyra Banks of originality...
    :-D

  • I don't know, I think the most surprising thing is how many people are surprised that a magazine that built it's reputation on being (or trying to be) shocking and tasteless has done something shocking and tasteless. It's like going to see Andrew Dice Clay perform and being surprised that he's a chauvinist asshole. What did you expect?

  • Maguita NYC

    This is one of them try-hard publications going for "art" but falling short from "fart".

    Those artsy-fartsy publication types are more for those who don't know shit, have no personal opinions, and try buying into a passing trend.

  • emmalita

    Years ago I read an article about a woman who, inspired by Sylvia Plath, decided to commit suicide by putting her head in a gas oven. She decided to dress up nicely and told her neighbor, an angry gay man who didn't like her very much. He asked if he could join her, she agreed. He went back to his apartment and changed into a nice dress as well. The two of them knelt side-by-side waiting to be overcome by the gas. Before they succumbed, the author realized she really didn't want to die that way and didn't want to be found in those circumstances. That article was funny, painful, and real. It made me think about suicide differently. I think we should talk about suicide, and I think there are legitimate ways to explore suicide in art and pop culture. But it's a subject that needs to handled thoughtfully. Romanticizing women as they are about to commit suicide in order to sell products isn't the thoughtful handling this subject requires.

  • Tinkerville

    Do you remember where it was published? I'd be very interested in reading that. In regards to the second half of your comment, well said.

    I think there could even be a beautiful art photography series that could examine these female authors and how they died to prompt discussion and highlight what's wrong with encouraging suicide as something poignant. As Courtney mentioned, using them to sell clothes is completely disgusting.

  • emmalita

    I wish I could remember. It was in a magazine in the late 80's early 90's.

    I edited my comment because I think you are right and the point I was trying to make was the pictorial with the intent to sell product is what I find offensive.

  • Maguita NYC

    That is a funny story! How often you hear regret when discussing suicide, it is as if at the last moment people realize that it isn't that bad, and there is still much to live for. You are right though, we should discuss suicide, and maybe this time try and leave aside the religious notions instilled in us in regards to ending one's life.

    Although I feel any reason is good enough, be it religious or not, to make anyone change their mind and hold on to life.

  • PaddyDog

    I read about a study about ten years ago in which a researcher looked into suicides in the Thames River and what motivated them to jump. He (or she) omitted people with a documented mental illness that predisposed them to suicide. In almost every other case, people who had jumped because of "love" (broken relationship,etc.) had signs consistent with having a change of heart once they entered the water such as severe tearing damage to their fingers indicating they had tried to claw their way up the walls of the banks, etc. The people who appeared to have allowed themselves to fall to the bottom without a struggle usually were ones who had jumped because of money problems.

  • I've read about two gentlemen, one who lives in Australia, and I think, and one in Japan, who each happened to buy a house situated in a cliff that turned out to be a popular suicide spot. Both have made a habit of meeting people literally on the edge and inviting them to have tea and chat. Both have seen people jump and die right before their eyes. And both have talked to people who finished, got up, and finished what they were starting. And both have saved so, so many lives because so many people at the end of their ropes really just needed something as simple as a sympathetic ear.

    Those guys are my heroes.

  • emmalita

    I'd love to read that too.

  • I posted links in reply to Internet Magpie.

    I go back and read those articles every few months and they never fail to make me tear up.

  • emmalita

    What great articles. Thanks for sharing them. The man in Japan is doing extra heroic work going against culture as well.

  • InternetMagpie

    Do you have more information on those guys, Tyburn? I'd love to read about them.

  • Guest
  • Fabius_Maximus

    In a similar line, there are signs with help-line numbers all along the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. That was a chilling sight at a spot which was full of tourists.

  • PaddyDog

    When I was growing up, they actually held a three-day music festival at a venue just a couple of fields away from the Cliffs of Moher. A rock/folk festival! Where young people would camp and drink to excess and do any drugs they could get their hands on,just staggering distance from a free fall onto harsh rocks and an unsurvivable cold ocean. It took multiple deaths before someone decided this was not a great idea.

  • frank247

    Admittedly, the music was pish......

  • Maguita NYC

    This is exactly why we need to be a lot more open about the discussion of suicide.

    The answer is not "don't do it", it should be more think EXACTLY about it, and how do you feel every step of the planning of it, and the actual going through with it.

  • TK

    Similarly, the age-old "suicide is for cowards" or "think of the living" isn't particularly productive, either. Because basically you're just increasing the weight of guilt and shame on a person who is already being crushed by their life.

  • Maguita NYC

    We used to be taught in Bible Study that suicide is for the gutless. That suicide is for the insensitive, wanting to intentionally hurt their loved ones. That committing this act of ultimate cowardice and selfishness will result in nothing but misery in the afterlife.

    Later on I've learned that suicide is not gutless, suicide is not an easy choice, and suicide is not selfish. The selfish are those who would want you to stick around so they would not go through the pain of your loss, no matter the pain and hardships of your living. Not glorifying suicide here, but there is a lot more to it than not making someone else unhappy for a moment in life.

    Suicide has to be a lot more about the one thinking of committing it, and a lot less about the repercussions on those left behind.

  • God Of Bal-Sagoth

    I can't decide what part of that is the most god damn tragic.

  • Now I am gonna say something, and it may be taken the wrong way. But I do not mean to be callous or uncaring. In fact just the opposite.

    I don't think that a person is necessarily wrong in not wanting to live anymore. And I think "you have so much to live for" is as bad a reason for not doing it as any religious justification.

    While discussion of suicide is necessary, I think the constant demonization of it (and any reason the person might have to feel this way) goes a long way to why it isn't addressed.

  • Sirilicious

    I saw Milly's reply just before i went to bed last night. I wanted to give a kneejerk reply, but was able to not give into that. Last night in bed and today during work i thought of roughly 34 different responses, as we all do when shit matters. It really made a difference seeing all you people jump in, not necessarily to defend me or my cousin, but the fact that mental illness can be unbearable suffering as much as chronic unbearable pain can be (even if it isn't terminal), and noone should be judged that ignorantly for the choices they make because of that suffering.

    So to Milly i now only have this to say: you know nothing. To emmalita, Frank247, Jezzer, Claude Weaver and Reba: thanks for caring enough to reply.

  • Maguita NYC

    I agree how the demonization of suicide has rather shut down the discussion, instead of openly and more closely examining the repercussions of suicide, as well as choices in life that lead to it.

    However, I have been through puberty, and through rougher times, and yes had thought of suicide. Thinking of those who have much, so much less than I do to live for, I can't help but hope that any kind of intervention, even the divine kind (and I am some sort of Atheist), could stop those from going through with ending their lives.

    As Emm said though, this does not apply to those with terminal illnesses.

  • emmalita

    With the exception of suicide as a response to terminal illness, or being in a burning building with no exit, suicide isn't a rational choice that can be countered rationally. In most cases, I don't think suicide can be classified as right or wrong. I think of it more as a symptom than a choice.

  • Sirilicious

    My cousin was sexually abused by her father for years as a child, as were her sisters. As a result, she was depressed most of her life and every night when she put her head to the pillow, she got to relive it all over again. She had a loving husband and 2 teenage children when after years of psychiatrists, therapy, medication and even shock therapy, she decided she had enough. It was a rational choice, that was coming for months. Sometimes, whatever the reason, not living is better than living.

  • emmalita

    I am sorry to hear about your cousin and her family. I probably should have written a longer, more nuanced version of my views and why I have them. I've spent a lot of time thinking about suicide and why it happens. I don't judge someone for attempting suicide or committing suicide. One way to look at your cousin's suicide would be that she was suffering from a terminal condition with inadequate palliative care. Or you could look at it as a symptom of the trauma she suffered. However you look at it, at some point there was nothing anyone could say that would stop your cousin. If it were a rational decision, then there would have been debatable pros and cons. If it were a rational decision, then it would be reasonable to judge her for leaving her family that way. My experience with adults who have attempted or committed suicide leads me to believe that the decision to kill ones self comes either from intense pain or a severe imbalance in brain chemistry. Neither of those are conducive to reason. You don't blame someone with the flu for having a fever. You don't blame the Medieval doctor for being unable to prevent gangrene. If your cousin had had the option of living without the burden of the trauma, I suspect she would have chosen to do so. But psychiatric medications and treatments aren't there. I hope someday they will be, and I hope it is soon. I have a cousin too, and the pain he lives with breaks my heart. If he decides at some point that he can't live with it anymore, I am not going to be ok with it, but I'm also not going to blame him.

  • Milly

    Rational? Really? That sounds spiteful. Because she had a fucked up childhood she will leave two kids without a mother, and a husband without a wive,all of whom will wonder if it was their fault and if they could have done something differently.. That is exactly the sort of selfish behaviour that should not be romanticised, or applauded or given any positive thought whatsoever.

  • hippyherb

    You really are a cold person. You just don't care who you hurt with your comments. Ugh.

  • Why do you assume that her family will think they are to blame? That's an enormous leap. Most people who live with someone with depression or other psychological issues are quite aware of the situation. Presuming that they will feel guilty for her condition is bizarre.

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