September 01, 2015

Source: Shutterstock

Remember the good old days when people used to kill themselves?

Maybe I”€™ve seen too many movies”€”okay, no “€œmaybe”€”€”but didn”€™t disgraced individuals take their lives more frequently once upon a time?

I don”€™t mean the Japanese, who are so weird it’s hard to distinguish their noble gestures from everyday wackiness. I”€™m talking about us round-eyes, hanging ourselves or eating a gun after screwing up and getting caught (or, classier, before the truth comes out).

Sure, it’s a sin, but like lots of sins, suicide under “€œdeath before dishonor”€ circumstances also seems stoically cool. Tragically heroic. A stab at redemption, à la Javert. Think of “€œpoor Raymond”€ in The Manchurian Candidate (1962), who “€œwas wearing his medal when he died.”€

Ditto “€œvictim soul”€ stunts that, alas, probably only happened in Hollywood melodramas. That character who strolls calmly into the ocean to spare their beloved the searing, stinking shame of something or other: “€œNorman Maine”€ in all three versions of A Star Is Born, or Joan Crawford in Humoresque (1946), in what’s been called the longest suicide in film history because, well, Joan Crawford.

“€œSo out of the tens of millions of men supposedly registered at Ashley Madison, only one, when exposed, lived out the first part of the company’s slogan: “€˜Life is short.”€™”€

Suicide is often called selfish, but you can”€™t convince me Father Karras is in hell.

Ironically, back when real-life reprobates were more likely to kill themselves out of a sense of honor and duty, the Hays Code forbade cinematic suicide, even though that same code required villains to pay for their crimes in the final reel. I”€™m surprised Edward G. Robinson’s clinical, ghoulish “€œsuicide speech“€ even made it into Double Indemnity.

Post-Hays, movie characters could finally take their own lives, but mostly tried and failed, and you didn”€™t much care either way. With Harold and Maude and The End, elaborate suicide set pieces became a satirical “€™60s and “€™70s trope. (The only truly sad “€œsuccessful”€ suicide from that era is doelike Sharon Tate’s demise in Valley of the Dolls; it still makes me cry, but maybe that’s partly because I know something she didn”€™t.)

As the “€™80s wound down, the ingenious Heathers spoofed suicide as the latest hip high school fad, Young Werther-wise; and proving that satire changes nothing, it still is. As if acting out the movie’s catchphrase “€œI love my dead gay son!”€ witness today’s trendy teen trannies we forever hear the end of.

Which brings us to last week’s angry gay (black) dude, who killed himself after (sadly, not before) his Roanoke homicide spree.

(P.S. I correctly predicted (a) that the “€œracist comments”€ allegedly made by his female victim would be of the “€œniggardly black hole“€ variety; (b) that authorities would find a rainbow flag in dude’s apartment; and (c) that there would be zero calls to ban said flag from public display. Oddly enough!)

If only murderers offed themselves more often, sparing taxpayers the costs of a trial and then lifelong incarceration with all the perks that go with it. (I”€™m looking at you, Tex Watson, father of four.)

Anyway, closer to home, Toronto police announced last week that they were investigating two suicides associated with the Ashley Madison hack and data dump.

At first I thought that meant that, of all the millions of paying clients claimed by the adultery-themed dating site, those two suicides happened to be Toronto men. And this city is low on straight guys as it is…

But then I remembered that Ashley Madison is (weirdly) headquartered in Toronto, making it the local cops”€™ jurisdiction. And those two suicides were eventually reduced to one, after a San Antonio police captain’s death was ruled to be related but not really, because, well, jezuz:

A police officer who shot himself after being linked to Ashley Madison was not a user of it and was the victim of a smear published on a cop-hating blog….

The spoof emails raise serious questions over whether Capt. Gorhum may have been framed or even the victim of a joke that went wrong.

So out of the tens of millions of men supposedly registered at Ashley Madison, only one, when exposed, lived out (or should that be “€œdied out”€…?) the first part of the company’s slogan: “€œLife is short.”€

But what about the second half: “€œHave an affair”€?


Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!