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A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain (1998): Grotesquerie

Marilee Strong, A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain (Penguin, 1998)

[originally posted 28Jun2001]

Four stills of the same woman in various stages of blurring adorn the cover of the trade paperback edition.

After a while, everything blurs.
photo credit: Wikipedia

It amazes me how psychologists can take a series of seemingly unrelated symptoms, come up with a hypothesis, and be dead-on right. For the past twenty years, they’ve been doing just that with the small, but increasing, segment of the populace who injure themselves through bloodletting, beating their heads against walls, breaking bones, and other such behaviors. Strong, a journalist, boils all the research down and combines it with “thousands” (as she says in the preface) of interviews with the types of people profiled in the research. The end result is a powerful book about childhood trauma and its relation to self-destructive behavior. A very important piece of work that will go unread, or not understood, by those who most need it—neglectful and abusive parents. ****

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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