Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Suicide by Webcam

THIS STORY is so disturbing and perplexing I don't know what to make of it. It involves a webcam, a camgirl, a webcasted suicide attempt, and our own LiveJournal. If you think this would be too troubling to read about, then read no further.

stacy keeps both a webcam and a LiveJournal, like us. Well, at least the LJ like us. On July 10th her boyfriend of 4 months broke up with her. She posted several agonized entries to her LJ, took her webcam into the bathroom with her (!) and took an overdose of various medications. Her webcam audience, many of whom were watching, called 911. The thread is rather astonishing to read.

She survived the experience. Most people who attempt suicide by overdose do.

There is a very negative discussion of the episode, more of a rant, actually on Atomcam, and a slightly more balanced one on Metafilter. The webcam shot of her slumped over the toilet unconscious are really sad.

Now, LJ's are common. Suicide attempts are common. (I see one or two every night in my ER.) Sometimes I think it's a rite of passage of adolescence. But it's depressing when 30 year-olds are still doing it. Stacy is 30. Webcams are somewhat less common. Suicide on webcam is something new, but you knew it was going to happen.

And she took the webcam into the bathroom with her. I can't get over that. What does it mean? Was it an act of honesty? Was it a way of saying that she was lived her life on her webcam, and she wanted to die on it? Or was it just a bid for attention?

Or are they the same thing? Is even having a webcam a bid for attention? What are we to think of camgirls, after all? Are they being blisteringly honest with their lives, their selves, their bodies, their intimate moments? Are they pioneers on the frontiers of a new way for human beings to present themselves to the world, a new mode of interaction between the individual and society? Or are they just a crowd of unhappy, dysfunctional puppies with the Histrionic Personality Disorder, no different than any other unhappy psychologically maimed person? Is a webcam the ultimate tool of the manipulative Borderline?

Take a look at the picture of Stacy on Atomcam's site. Note that the, uh, product placement. The pill bottles are all neatly arranged in view of the webcam. I don't doubt Stacy's psycholgical torment. But it sure looks like she is engaging in an act heavy with theatre. A 'Drama Alert' as we say in the ER.

And what are we to make of all her friends' reaction? She has a ton of friends, at least on-line friends, as evidenced by her LJ friends list. Camgirl fans are supposed to be guys who get off on watching the private moments of young women. But Stacy seems to have had a huge contingent of female fans. That's nice. But what does that mean? Just that she's a very successful narcissist and manipulator? I want to be sympathetic. I just don't know what to think about this episode, or this person.

People have killed themselves in public before. A television news anchor did it a few years ago, and those of you in the Pennsylvania area may remember a politician named Bud Dwyer, who had been caught in some sort of political chicanery, killing himself with a pistol during a news conference a few years ago. Internet webcam-assisted suicide is something new, though. I don't think it will change anything. It's not like tens of thousands of more unhappy teen-age girls are going to take OD's now that they have webcams. But it is something new.

Correction, 7/14: The site with the very negative analysis of l'affaire Stacy is, not is Stacy's own site. It's not bad, take a look.

Since she's been released from the hospital, she's received inquires from Wired and the New York Post, both of which want to interview her.

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