Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck: Why We Can't Look Away (Sarah Crichton Books), by Eric G. Wilson
Our society hides death in a haze of euphemism (what did he pass, a kidney stone?) and antibacterial has become a lifestyle, yet we also live in a culture where gruesome flourishes and horror are an industry. These are among the paradoxes explored by Wake Forest English professor Eric Wilson. Unlike many from his tribe, he curbs his enthusiasm for impenetrable theorizing and actually writes well—in English! Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck investigates the impulse Poe famously called the “Imp of the Perverse” as well as the failure of scientific models to measure the effect of violent imagery on kids, the human need for narrative and catharsis, Carl Jung and Maurice Sendak and the thrill some of us experience when our idols (Tiger Woods?) topple.