In the December 2004 issue of SPIN, we published Los Angeles journalist/musician Liam Gowing's detailed, empathetic look at the last years of Elliott Smith's life and the circumstances that led up to the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter's apparent suicide. "Mr. Misery" was difficult to read, a tremendous challenge to edit and fact-check, and one of the most remarkably intimate pieces in the magazine's history. On the 10th anniversary of Smith's death, it's now available for the first time on the site. [more inside]
Self-harm now takes more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. Why are we killing ourselves, and how can we stop it?
Over the last five decades, millions of lives have been remade for the better. Yet within this brighter tomorrow, we suffer unprecedented despair. In a time defined by ever more social progress and astounding innovations, we have never been more burdened by sadness or more consumed by self-harm. And this may be only the beginning. If Joiner and others are right—and a landmark collection of studies suggests they are—we’ve reached the end of one order of human history and are at the beginning of a new order entirely, one beset by a whole lot of self-inflicted bloodshed, and a whole lot more to come.
Inner Vision by Sunil Rao (SLFlash) This struck me as a rather powerful analysis of suicide and why not to, even if it is a rather simplistic Flash game. [more inside]
In Korea, Changes in Society and Family Dynamics Drive Rise in Elderly Suicides - "The epidemic is the counterpoint to the nation's runaway economic success, which has worn away at the Confucian social contract that formed the bedrock of Korean culture for centuries." [more inside]
The British Columbia Supreme Court has struck down a ban on physician-assisted suicide, in a whopping 1415-paragraph decision. [more inside]
NFL great Junior Seau, who spent the majority of his career with the San Diego Chargers, with additional runs with the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, was found dead today of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. [more inside]
Terry Pratchett starts process to take his own life. Sir Terry Pratchett, the fantasy writer who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2008, said yesterday he had started the formal process that could lead to his own assisted suicide at the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland. The fantasy writer Terry Pratchett says he has received consent forms requesting assisted suicide but has not yet signed them. [Previously] [Previously]
Donnie Moore was the California Angels' relief ace in 1986. After he gave up a home run that began the Angels' collapse in the ALCS, Moore's life and psyche steadily deteriorated, until he committed suicide in 1989. Steve Hofstetter wrote about Moore and the divergent paths taken by other athletes in similar situations.
Chen Sah is an unlikely good samaritan, a gruff man who cajoles would be jumpers into the Yangtze River to rethink their plans of suicide. [more inside]
On January 1st, the U.S. estate tax will disappear. For exactly one year. Then it will come back higher on Jan. 1, 2011. Will lots of old rich people die? [more inside]
Terry Pratchett: I'll die before the endgame
How to best show your love if you're a rockabilly singer in the 50's? First, claim you might cry. Or die. Or commit suicide. If that doesn't work, you can threaten her vaguely, threaten her with a baseball bat, or even threaten her with death. Oh, you're female? Try the gun/sex metaphor (NSFW images) or just go hog wild and claim you'll blow his head off with nitro. Touched on previously. [more inside]
Last Year I Killed A Man, by Vaughan Thomas. Published Saturday July 19, 2008 by The Guardian.
Why is anonymous group suicide so popular in Japan? From 2003 through 2005, 180 people died in 61 reported cases of Internet-assisted group suicide in Japan . . . All but two of these cases have proceeded according to a common blueprint: The victims meet online, using anonymous screen names, and then take sleeping pills and use briquettes, charcoal burners, and tape to turn a car or van into a mobile gas chamber.
1-800-SUICIDE loses govt. funding: Despite the fact that almost 2 million callers have reached help and hope over the last 8 years, and a government funded evaluation stating the benefits of 1-800-SUICIDE, the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), a division of Health & Human Services, has decided to create their own government run system where they would have direct access to confidential data on individuals in crisis. (SAMHSA has already scrubbed their websites of any and all LGBT information, and gay youth are 2-3 times more likely to commit suicide.) Save 1-800-SUICIDE website here.
"To all our sisters who have committed suicide or who have been institutionalized for their rebellion."
"To all our sisters who have committed suicide or who have been institutionalized for their rebellion." Throughout her career, but especially in her latest and most wrenching work— Sisters, Saints, & Sibyls, the 39-minute three-screen lamentation that is a duel memoir of her sister's suicide at the age of 19 and her own mortifications of the flesh and battles with addiction—the photographer Nan Goldin has been one of the great living suicides of recent art history... Charles Baxter wrote that novelist Malcolm Lowry captured "the way things radiate just before they turn to ash." At her best Goldin does this too.
Forty-nine published plays. Four Pulitzer Prizes. Three marriages. A suicide attempt. A celebrity for a father. A drug-addicted mother who blamed her habit on her son. A daughter estranged, a son who committed suicide. A Nobel Prize, the only ever awarded to an American playwright. Eugene O'Neill from inside out: a documentary film for American Experience. More inside.
After a Noel Mewton-Wood performance of Hindemith's (.pdf) Ludus Tonalis, Dame Myra Hess exclaimed: ‘The boy is truly remarkable, and what shall he be like at 40-odd?’. Glowing testimonials to his ‘genius’ (Sir Malcolm Sargent) from Beecham, Schnabel, Bliss, Hindemith and Britten were countered by indifference from the major record labels and concert managements. In 1953, at the age of 31, the pianist, a shy young man susceptible to depression, committed suicide. Now, the Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive of Middlesex University offers a scan of the The London Evening News page with the report of Mewton-Wood's death. And here is a mp3 page with some of his out-of-print work.
17 Minutes is a performance and video blog project by new media artist Chris Barr. It's about suicide. [MI]
Lethal Beauty is a seven-part series by the San Francisco Chronicle about the Golden Gate Bridge and its history of suicides. The articles present both sides of the argument regarding a barrier which would stop such tragedies. The presentation includes graphic representations of suicides by location, a timeline and podcasts from survivors & relatives, among others.
Hunter S Thompson commits suicide. Goodbye, the king of Gonzo Journalism. A timeline of his life is here. And some more here and of course here.
Cult leader proves his divinity by being buried alive and resurrecting himself. Except for the resurrecting bit. Good show for trying though
A little over the top? I know some people are depressed but......this?
Might as well jump. JUMP! An interesting article (nicked from linkfilter) about suicide and the Golden Gate Bridge. Only 26 people are known to have survived the 220 ft drop into water 350ft deep. I have been across the bridge once and was "amused" by the fact that there is a free counselling phone as you get halfway across. Reading this article and realising the numbers involved, it suddenly seems less funny... BTW, the jumper (who before he went a second time was one of the 26) protesting the Iraq War was discussed here.
"Donald looked upon violence as an artist might look on paint..." Director Donald Cammell committed suicide at home on April 24, 1996. Because of the location of the gunshot wound he inflicted on himself, he stayed alive and conscious for 45 minutes. He asked for a mirror to observe his own death. Foreshadowing this, in Cammell's underrated 1987 film White of the Eye, serial killer David Keith holds a mirror up to a victim's face as she dies. Filmmaker and author Kenneth Anger said "I predicted Donald Cammell's suicide. He was in love with death." He wrote seven films and directed six, ranging from the controversial end-of-the-psychedelic-sixties counterculture gangster film Performance (starring Mick Jagger),to the schlocky Demon Seed (based on a Dean Koontz novel), in which Julie Christie is raped by a computer, to a documentary about U2. A man of unusual talent, Cammell was an enigma even to those closest to him. "Cammell knew that nothing was as ever as it looked, that there was no single, simple truth." His body of work, as diverse as it is sparse, reflects this. Three different biographers are working on Cammell projects, and a fascinating biodocumentary Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance was released in 1998. His films are well worth seeking out, taken as a whole, they present an interesting psychological picture of their creator, and taken separately, they're thoughtful and interesting examinations of perception, reality, violence, and the nature of power.
Ex Enron Vice Chair Commits Suicide J. Clifford Baxter was found dead in his car in a Houston suburb Firday. Texas police said the cause of death was suicide.
If, after careful consideration, like so many others you decide that life isn't worth living anymore, please do the research first, debunk the myths, buy the book, consider more elegant methods, and don't forget to alert your VSG. Or, better yet, stop your morbid self-indulgence and go make some ice cream.
Jack Kevorkian's lawyer in trouble. He made some negative comments about a few appeals court judges. Not while he was in court, but on a radio talk show. Even so, he could potentially lose his license. His partner said, "Since when is it improper to make comments that are critical of government officials?"