13 February 2008

90 Day Jane, Christine Chubbuck and Kitty Genovese

Wow. I think we were all yelling "Hoax!" but for "90 Day Jane" to reveal herself and then make mention to Christine Chubbuck?! Now that is totally fucking random. I bet she caught that special E! did on Chubbuck last year. Ha! I did too.

Though she preceded him by several years, Christine Chubbuck comes somewhat from the same legendary blood & gore murk as Bud Dwyer.

So apparently "90 Day Jane's" schtick was meant to mirror Christine Chubbuck. In the world of 90 Day Jane, Christine Chubbuck is the poster girl for people missing the warning signs of someone who is suicidal and crying out for help.

God, this Jane is FISHING. I mean this is a stretch to end all stretches. Christine motherfucking Chubbuck?! In her alleged final post 9DJ says:

"Newscaster Christine Chubbuck committed suicide in 1974 by shooting herself in the head live on air. She was very vocal about her depression to those around her and gave every indication of her exact intentions leading up to the event. Sadly, no one reacted or helped Christine and those left behind could only ask “why”."
OK, yes so for those who don't know and that's just about everyone, Christine Chubbuck was a TV news reporter for WXLT-TV who committed suicide during a live television broadcast. WXLT became WWSB Channel 40 and is the ABC-7 affiliate for Sarasota, Florida.

Christine Chubbuck did speak to her family at great length about her struggles with depression and suicidal tendencies, though naturally she did not inform them of her specific intent beforehand.

Christine had attempted to overdose on meds in 1970, and frequently made reference to the event. Chubbuck's mother chose not to tell station management of her daughter's suicidal tendencies because she feared that she would be fired as a result.

Her focus on her lack of relationships was generally considered to be the impetus for her depression; her mother later summarised that "her suicide was simply because her personal life was not enough".

Christine lamented to co-workers that her 30th birthday was approaching and she was still a virgin who had never been on more than 2 dates with a man. Her brother Greg later recalled several times she had gone out with a man but agreed that she had trouble connecting socially. He believed that her constant self-deprecation for being "dateless" contributed to her ongoing depression.

OK, but Christine was receiving help. Christine had been seeing a psychiatrist up until several weeks before her suicide.

Three weeks before her suicide Christine had asked the station's news director if she could do a piece on suicide. After getting her pitch approved she visited the local sheriff's department to discuss with an officer methods of suicide.

In the interview, an officer told her that one of the most efficient ways was to use a .38 caliber revolver with wadcutter target bullets, and to shoot oneself in the back of the head rather than in the temple.

A week before her suicide she her night news editor, that she had bought a gun and joked about killing herself on air. Christine had an argument with stations news director after he cut one of her stories to cover a shoot-out instead. The station's GM had tried to convince staff to concentrate on "blood and guts". If it bleeds it leads, folks.

On the morning of July 15, 1974, Christine confused her co-workers saying she had to read a newscast to open her program, Suncoast Digest, something she had never done before.

The morning's talk show guest waited across the studio while she sat at the news anchor's desk. Her news copy actually contained a speculative report of her impending suicide, wherein she conjectured she would be declared dead eleven hours later. She placed a .38 revolver in her bag of puppets and put it beneath her desk.

During the first 8 minutes of her program, Christine covered three national news stories and then a local restaurant shooting from the day before. The restaurant was the Beef and Bottle Restaurant at the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport.

Ironically, filmreel of the restaurant shooting had jammed and wouldn't run, so Christine shrugged it off and said: "In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see another first: an attempted suicide."

She drew out the revolver and shot herself behind her right ear. Christine fell forward violently and the technical director faded slowly to black.

A Camerawoman later recalled that she thought it had been an elaborate prank, and it wasn't until she saw Christine's twitching body that she realized it was genuine.

The station quickly ran a standard Public Service tape and then a movie. Some television viewers had phoned police, while others phoned the station to inquire if the shooting was a hoax.

Christine was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital and was pronounced dead 14 hours later(she was off by 3 hours if you're playing along at home).

I dunno, I just find it funny because in this post-9/11 world (god, I hate that term) we do take everything seriously; we rarely take anything with a grain of salt anymore. And so 9DJ's reason seems full of shit to me.

Nowadays, if someone simply says the word "hijack" on a plane, they land the plane and arrest the guy who said it. If someone says "bomb" in an airport they do the same... If a kid at school says he's gonna "kill" someone, the cops are called and the kid is questioned. If you tell a co-worker you're wanna "shoot" someone, the same shit happens.

We take everything seriously now. We don't need 90 Day Jane to instill compassion in this day and age. If anything its paranoia. Its hypersensitivity. Its madness now.

I dunno. 9DJ coming out and admitting it was just an "art piece" or that she's a journalist doing some clandestine grass roots research or something, fine. But this is just utter shit. Bad hoax. Bad. Silly hoax. Silly.

It reminds me of G.G. Allin. Dude had an army of people who followed him and would do anything he said. Instead of doing something constructive or even something deconstructive and radical, he flung his shit at his worshippers and OD'd on heroin. Bravo!

If someone is suicidal, you can get them help. You have to do all you can to let them know you truly care, of course. But if someone is set on killing themselves, sometimes there isn't much you can do. Do all you can, naturally, but don't blame yourself if they still slip by. You haven't failed them. They've failed themselves. (I wrote something pretty decent years ago on suicide for the layout of record we did. I'll dig it up later and post it.)

You wanna talk about something fucked up and awful? How about Kitty Genovese?

Kitty was a 28-year old girl from NYC who was stabbed to death near her home in the Kew Gardens, Queens. The circumstances of her murder and the apparent non-reaction of her neighbours were reported by a newspaper article published two weeks later and prompted investigation into the psychological phenom that became known as the bystander effect or "Genovese Syndrome."

The bystander effect (also known as bystander apathy, diffused responsibility or bystander intervention) is a psychological phenom in which someone is less likely to intervene in an emergency situation when other people are present and able to help than when he or she is alone.

Kitty was attacked by a serial rapist and murderer. The murder took place over a period of about a half hour!, after which it was reported that dozens of alleged "witnesses" failed to help the victim even though they heard her cries echoing through the courtyard of the apartment complex.

A common explanation of this phenom is that, with others present, witnesses all assume that someone else is going to intervene and so they each individually refrain from doing so and feel less responsible.

People may also assume that other bystanders may be more qualified to help and their intervention would thus be unneeded. People may also fear losing face in front of the other bystanders, being superseded by a superior helper, or offering unwanted assistance.

Another explanation is that bystanders monitor the reactions of other people in an emergency situation to see if others think that it is necessary to intervene. Since others are doing exactly the same, everyone concludes from the inaction of others that other people do not think that help is needed. This is an example of pluralistic ignorance.

OK, now I've gone a few hundred miles off the highway.


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