Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bridgend 2

My last comment on the Bridgend suicides took it for granted that this was, indeed, a group phenomenon. Local worthies denied this. Improbable then, now, with two more hangings, this denial has become absurd. Doubtless, we'll now get more anguished features about the bleakness of Bridgend and more psychiatrists intoning about self-esteem problems in teenagers. I've never been to Bridgend but I suspect it's no bleaker than anywhere else and self-esteem is a grotesque red herring. As I have written, its importance is little more than a consoling psychobabble myth. No, all that matters here is the fact that this is a group phenomenon. If we want to understand this - and, if my daughter was still a teenager, I would - then we should start and end with the dynamics of the group. But that's complicated so we probably won't.


  1. I agree about the group phenomenon. It's very hard to hang yourself unless you know about the little cartilage in the throat (whose name escapes me) which will stop your heart if pressure is applied to it. (Karate people know about this.)
    How did all these young people know how to hang themselves unless they've been communicating?

  2. Oh, and did you hear the young person from Bridgend on the radio - or telly - in reply to the interviewer's 'why are they doing it?' said something like 'there's much nothing else to do' or 'what else is there to do?'

  3. I heard that, Philip. Either fabulous self-delusion or great insight, I guess.

  4. Charles Taylor makes the fascinating point that, while there are certain widespread complaints common to every age and culture (kids are disrespectful, everybody is becoming lazy and selfish, etc.), the great popular existential lament ("It's all meaningless")is unique to the modern West. In fairness, I suppose, one must allow there were times when a sense of meaning and purpose ("Am I saved or am I damned?") resonated a tad too closely.

  5. To quote Bill the Butcher "civilization is crumbling." We are returning to the casual homicides & bestial ignorance of our neanderthal forebears.

    Our society is suicidal. Other symptoms of our cultural deathwish include: the popularity of nihilists such as Dawkins and Literary Theorists; Nu Labour; mass immigration; drug addiction; crimes of purposeless savagery. These kids probably killed themselves because, to quote No Country for Old Men: "maybe the TV was broke." How much of our culture is the equivalent of a soul-numbing drug, to make the utter emptiness less galling? TV, booze, porn, celebrity gossip, cocaine, violence, blogs - take them away and people start hanging themselves.

    In a generation (at most) the few survivors will be huddled round fires scratched together from twigs, trying to figure out how to cook human flesh.

    Either that or perhaps Islam will indeed save us and in 25 years Britan will be the Northern Saudi Arabia, ruled by sharia law. Take your pick, i guess. Whichever, to quote No Country again: "you can't stop what's coming."