Morbid Curiosity

by Bill Brenner on May 5, 2011

My tirade against Michele Mcphee and the bin Laden death photos yesterday got me thinking. Maybe part of my rage was coming from an uncomfortable truth about myself.

Mood music:

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I’ve always had a morbid curiosity about blood-and-guts images. I’m nothing special there. A lot of people share that trait. That’s why you see so much spam posing as pictures of a dead bin Laden. The spam pushers know they’ll always hook in enough suckers to make some money.

I remember the first time I read “Helter Skelter” and saw crime scene photos where the bodies where whited out. I wanted to see the full photos so badly. It was the same thing when I read about the Amityville murders. Seeing those images became an obsession, and, eventually, the Internet would feed that obsession.

I felt pretty gross after seeing the Manson photos, especially the autopsy pictures. I felt evil for even wanting to see them. I’m grateful I had that reaction. Enjoying what I was seeing would have revealed something a lot darker about me.

Morbid curiosity for such photos is, in my opinion, no different than the curiosity someone has to see pornography.

It’s a dark temptation that was coded into our brains back when we were granted free will.

So when a talk radio host suggests that bin Laden’s death photos should be released to the public and that not doing so is an insult to the memories of 9-11 victims, I bristle.

Would I look at the death photos if they were released? Absolutely. The obsession never really goes away.

But I’d be ashamed afterward for looking.

If that makes me a wishy-washy left-wing tree-hugging type in the eyes of some people, so be it.

Mcphee made me think about an unpleasant side of myself, and I guess that’s a good thing. We should always be taking personal inventory because we could always do better.

But her motive wasn’t to make people like me think about how I could do better.

It was to incite more anger among the right-wing extremists that make up her audience.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Becky May 5, 2011 at 2:48 am

It’s an interesting and honest approach to the topic of the photos. I, myself, am probably considered a “flaming conservative” by some, but I would probably feel sick after seeing the photos as well. Even though I’m curious about such things, I have found that the more darkness I allow my eyes too see (real or fiction), the more dark my thoughts are…so I consciously refrain from graphic crime shows/novels/blah, blah, blah. As far as the decision to not release the photos, I can see reasons for both, which is why I have no anger/emotional response to that decision.

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