August 1st, 2004

analyze this

I dreamt that I was watching TV, and a commercial came on for some sort of documentary, perhaps on the Discovery Channel. It was about famous women of the nineteenth century, each of whom had accidentally stabbed herself with a knife and bled to death. It seemed a little strange, partly because of the subject matter, and partly because of the gruesomeness of the ad, which seemed inappropriate for a documentary--and that was just the commercial.

A few minutes later, there was another commercial, but this time it was about businesswomen of the twentieth century--again, each of whom had accidentally stabbed herself with a knife and bled to death. I began to realize that this wasn't just one documentary, but a whole series.

Later on that evening, as I was eating in a local restaurant, a couple of people came in to sell books about women who had accidentally stabbed themselves with knives and bled to death. This, I thought, was going too far--interrupting people's dinner hour with gratuitously violent material. Surprisingly, though, several people--mostly men, but also a few women--were taking the books and leafing through them with interest.

"What are you doing?" I shouted at them. "This stuff is disgusting! Don't give them your money!" But the people who had taken the books just looked embarrassed and turned away. I noticed that they furtively paid the booksellers for the books on the way out.

It suddenly dawned on me that I had been unaware, in my naivete, of what was really going on: like smoking, feet, and latex, this was just another fetish. All over America, there were people who got turned on by women who accidentally stabbed themselves with a knife and bled to death.