Everyone Loves A Good Train Wreck

Everyone Loves A Good Train Wreck

Why We Can't Look Away

Book - 2012
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Why can't we look away?

Whether we admit it or not, we're fascinated by evil. Dark fantasies, morbid curiosities, Schadenfreude: As conventional wisdom has it, these are the symptoms of our wicked side, and we succumb to them at our own peril. But we're still compelled to look whenever we pass a grisly accident on the highway, and there's no slaking our thirst for gory entertainments like horror movies and police procedurals. What makes these spectacles so irresistible?

In Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck , the scholar Eric G. Wilson sets out to discover the source of our attraction to the caustic, drawing on the findings of biologists, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers, theologians, and artists. A professor of English literature and a lifelong student of the macabre, Wilson believes there's something nourishing in darkness. "To repress death is to lose the feeling of life," he writes. "A closeness to death discloses our most fertile energies."

His examples are legion, and startling in their diversity. Citing everything from elephant graveyards and Susan Sontag's On Photography to the Tiger Woods sex scandal and Steel Magnolias , Wilson finds heartening truths wherever he confronts death. In Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck , the perverse is never far from the sublime. The result is a powerful and delightfully provocative defense of what it means to be human--for better and for worse.

Publisher: New York : Sarah Crichton Books, 2012.
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780374150334
Characteristics: 213 p.


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Jul 02, 2012

While I find the authors thesis simply intriguing and refreshing I felt he missed the mark entirely. There was a great foundation that could have been built upon however, the book seemed to read more like a mishmash of quotations. Much like a graduation student quickly writing a paper that was due the next day.

Mar 02, 2012

Everyone Loves A Good Train Wreck: Why We Can't Look Away by Eric G. Wilson {NPR} "If fascination with the macabre is unethical," Wilson writes, "then I'm one heinous bastard." [This book] doesn't seek definitive answers. Instead, it simply aims to help readers gain "a fulfilling response to two of life's greatest, most pressing and persistent questions. What is the meaning of suffering? What is the significance of death?"

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