Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Necrophilia Report

I've been doing quite a lot of research into necrophilia recently. Why? Well, I'd like to blame it on S.R. Wild, but we all know that's a lie. No matter who else may ultimately end up involved, the root cause of such expeditions into perversion is invariably traced back to me.

Necrophilia (also known as necromania, necrolangia, or thanatophilia) is a recurrent, obsessive attraction to corpses, most often sexual in nature. The necrophiliac (or necrophile) may be so compelled by these thoughts that they are unable to suppress the urge to perform some type of sexual act on a corpse.

There is a useful umbrella term in psychiatry, "paraphilia", under which necrophilia is considered to fall. A paraphilia is "any powerful and persistent sexual interest other than sexual interest in copulatory or precopulatory behavior with phenotypically normal, consenting adult human partners." Isn't that a lovely sentence? So neat and precise. I wish I'd thought of it. It's from the Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology. Some paraphilias (those involving consenting adults) can be incorporated into a normal, healthy lifestyle, while others are illegal and/or culturally reviled for good reason. Examples of some common paraphilias inculde:
- Exhibitionism
- Frotteurism (an extension of exhibitionism in which the individual is compelled to touch or rub up against an unconsenting stranger in order to achieve sexual fulfillment. It typically happens in crowded settings such as a subway station where the assailant can quickly get away, disappearing in the throng)
- Pedophilia
- Masochism
- Sadism
- Transvestitism
- Voyeurism
- Fetishism

To be honest, I'm cool with most paraphilias. My reaction tends not to be "eew, weird!", but rather, "wow! Interesting...". However, anything involving a non-consenting party is NOT cool. Not remotely. You can only get off watching 2 girls 1 cup? Fine, God bless ya. You can only get off while diddling a little kid? I hope that kid's dad tracks you down and cuts your junk off with a rusty hacksaw.

"Fetish" has become one of the most colloquially misused psychology words I can think of. People use it emphasize how very much they like something -

: "I have a total Ugg fetish.".
Me: Seriously? You're sexually aroused by Uggs?
Them: "What? No! What's wrong with you?"
Me: So you have a non-sexual but clearly abnormal preoccupation with Uggs that interferes with your life?
Them: "Get away from me."
Me: No, it's cool. I'm not here to judge! Besides, rule 34, you know?
Them: (fleeing)

Fetishism is a type of paraphilia. It is the eroticisation of objects or materials not considered inherently or conventionally sexual in nature. Someone with a fetish has recurrent sexual thoughts or urges revolving around a particular object or type of object. Some of the more common ones are shoes, specific types of clothing, rubber, and leather. Many non-genital human body parts are commonly said to be fetishized (such as the foot or breasts) but for clarity's sake I prefer to refer to them by the more accurate subcategoric term of partialism, which serves to differentiate between animate and inanimate objects of stimulation.

All of that confusion is one of the reasons why necrophilia is so interesting to me. A human corpse - is it an incapacitated person or an inanimate object? Is it both? Is it fetish? Paraphilia? Rape? How does the necrophiliac view it?

The answer to that question is that it depends on the necrophiliac. They are first divided by the level of action to which their urges drive them.

1. Necrophilic fantasy. Persistent thoughts and fantasies, but no action is ever taken toward obtaining an actual corpse.
2. Standard necrophilia. The use of already dead corpses to achieve sexual gratification.
3. Necrophilic homicide (necrosadism). The individual commits murder to produce a corpse for subsequent sexual violation.

As you might imagine, necrophilic homicide is the most rare of the three primary types. The pathology of someone who "kills for company" is completely different from that of a standard or "true" necrophile. A homicidal necrophile is a sexual sadist deriving pleasure from absolute power and control, whereas most true necrophiles have other motives which I'll get to presently. #1 is also considered "rare", but honestly, how could researchers accurately guage the prevelance of necrophilic fantasy in the general public? A person who is aroused by the sight of the dead but never actually comes into physical contact with them is called a "platonic necrophilisist".

In 1989 psychiatrists Phillip Resnik and Jonathan Rosman published what is the only substantive modern analytical work regarding necrophilia in The Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. In it they broke down recorded cases of necrophilic activity by every concievable point of distiction. The overall conclusions they developed regarding the psychology and motives of necrophiles are as follows:
  1. The necrophile develops poor self-esteem, perhaps due in part to a significant loss;
    (a) He/she is very fearful of rejection by women/men and he/she desires a sexual partner who is incapable of rejecting him/her; and/or
    (b) He/she is fearful of the dead, and transforms his/her fear — by means of reaction formation — into a desire.
  2. He/she develops an exciting fantasy of sex with a corpse, sometimes after exposure to a corpse.

The authors also reported that, of their sample of 'necrophiliacs,':

  • 68 percent were motivated by a desire for an unresisting and unrejecting partner;
  • 21 percent by a want for reunion with a lost partner;
  • 15 percent by sexual attraction to dead people;
  • 15 percent by a desire for comfort or to overcome feelings of isolation; and
  • 11 percent by a desire to remedy low self-esteem by expressing power over a corpse.
So that explains a lot. One question I had was whether or not there are female necrophiliacs, seeing as how there would appear to be some anatomical barriers to engaging in necrophilic activity. The answer is yes, there are. Pump apparatuses are employed.

An interesting legal side is that there are no federal laws specifically prohibiting sex with a corpse! Some states have laws in place, but most do not. This was brought to national attention last summer when three young men in Wisconsin dug up some poor girl and tried to have a necro gang bang, but all they could be charged with was misdemeanor attempted theft. There is no law in Vermont forbidding sexual contact or intercourse with dead people.

Here are some of the more famous necrophilia cases in modern history:
Ed Gein
Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck
Carl Tanzler (AKA Count Carl von Cosel)
Nico Claux
Karen Greenlee
Leilah Wendell

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Warsaw is Khelm is Burlington

I don't go out very often because:
a. I'm poor,
b. I'm busy with full-time work and full-time grad school,
c. I have a chronic illness that acts up whenever I do something outlandish like stay up past my bedtime,
d. there frankly aren't that many acts that come to the area for whom I'm willing to overturn my applecart, and
e. if I do care about the act, I often find the audience so intolerably apathetic, loud, rude, gauche, and just plain retarded that I become totally cranky and the whole experience is spoiled.

That being said I had the extraordinary good fortune to see Golem at Higher Ground last Thursday night! They were so good. It was so good. I have never bought a t-shirt at a show before, but guess what I'm wearing right now! Although to be honest I still haven't bought a shirt - Chris got it for me.

Chris brings me albums from Pure Pop he thinks I will like, and he's usually right. He was very excited to bring me Fresh off Boat because he knows I like dynamic klezmer. I love, love, loved it from my first listen. I remember thinking 'I bet these guys are amazing live'. Holy Hell they did not disappoint.

Above is Aaron Diskin, the very sexy and charismatic singer and frenetic tambourine player. I SWEAR he looked directly at me and winked when they were introducing a song that was about sex. No lie.

Also very sexy and adorable at the same time is founder, co-lead singer, and accordion player Annette Ezekiel. There was so much love and energy in the performance! Also great musical talent and performance skill. And humor, depravity, history, fun, humanity, and assorted bodily fluids. Golem has it all. It was fucking great.

And the audience wasn't even that bad! I flinched a little when someone came over to the merchandise table after the show and asked Ms. Ezekiel what "Golem" means, but other than that everyone seemed really into the music, into the performance, into the spirit of the group (As much as a bunch of WASP Vermonters can be, I guess), and happy to be there.

Thanks, Golem! You made this cranky old hermit very happy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How to piss off the medical staff

A patient just hassled me because there was a Newsweek from 2005 in the lobby waiting area. First of all, I have no control over the lobby or its available literature. Second, I was bringing this person back EARLY for her appointment - so it's not like she was sitting there forever with nothing to look at but the 2005 Newsweek.

I explained that we do put out new magazines whenever we have them but they all get stolen within a couple of days. We don't have a periodicals budget. She was still pissy and said it was "unprofessional".

Give me a fucking break.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Who loves kitties?

I said, who loves kitties??!?

YOU love kitties! I know you do!
You want to help kitties?

A very good way you can help kitties right now is by helping the Humane Society of Chittenden County. You can donate online here, or drop off any of the following supplies:

Non-clumping cat litter (they use approx. 1,000 pounds of litter per week!)

High quality wet & dry cat & kitten food (specifically Innova, California Natural, Wellness, Eagle Pack, Prism, or Triumph brands). Please no brands with dyes or by-products in them. The shelter environment can be stressful and we like to provide our residents with the highest quality food for their health and well-being.

New cat and dog toys

Anti-bacterial liquid hand soap

Dog Treats and Dog Treat Pouches

Kong toys and Kong brand cheese or peanut butter filling

High quality wet dog food (specifically Innova, California Natural, Wellness, Eagle Pack, Prism, or Triumph brands). Please no brands with dye in them.

Laundry detergent

Frontline Plus

Feliway Diffuser Refills


45 gallon lawn and leaf bags

Paper towels & toilet paper

If you know me and it's convenient, I can take supplies for delivery. I only say that because their hours are somewhat limited and you can dump stuff on me anytime. Also, I don't think Eva would mind if you dumped stuff on her.

If you want to deliver them yourself, here's the info:

142 Kindness Court
South Burlington, VT 05403
(802) 862-0135

Tues - Fri: 1pm to 6pm
Saturday: 10am to 4pm
Sun and Mon: Closed

Because we love kitties!
And dogs are okay too, I guess.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

White devils!

I love this PostSecret card. I love the person who wrote it. I love you, whoever you are.

I had stopped by a friend's house last week after work and was talking about this crappy phenomenon* at the hospital. I have become friends with the lady who does the housekeeping for our department - her name is Mila. She is from Russia and like many of our housekeeping staff her English is not quite fluent. And the equation seems to be

Housekeeping position + imperfect English = I get to treat you like crap.

People in service positions at the bottom of the hierarchy really get a good view of humanity. A realistic view. People are selfish and vain and small-minded. People at the hospital who are unhappy/unsatisfied with their own personal and professional lives like to make themselves feel bigger by being rude to the housekeepers. And patients do it, too! They're oblivious to the unnecessary work they create with their copious littering and various other disgusting messes. They're verbally abusive if everything isn't perfectly to their liking. They mock them - like cruel, stupid, vicious teenagers. They're awful. It's awful. I hate it.

Many of the housekeepers (and nurse's aides, patient sitters, other 'bottom of the ladder' hospital jobs) I've gotten to know over the years have been really amazing and had life stories that just took my breath away. A lot of them also had professional degrees in their native countries and have to work in minimum wage job here only because they can't afford the elaborate re-certification or degree equivelent process.

Mila is so smart and funny and very insightful. She knows a lot about psychology and she is a massage therapist (I'll post her number here when I can find it). I feel pity for all the privledged white asshats who will never get to know her just because of your teeny, weeny, puny, narrow, moronic worldview. You people suck and are doomed to lead small, angry, miserable lives.
They're housekeepers. It's not who they ARE, it's what they DO. For money. Would you want total strangers basing your entire worth as human being on your job title?
Fletcher Allen still doesn't have ANY cultural competency training for staff!
It's run by white people, for white people.
* For the sake of being succinct I'm only talking about how my predominantly white, Christian, middle class American (family's been here long enough that they don't know how many generations ago they arrived) co-workers treat the staff who were not born in this country.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

So what did you do on Saturday?

I did THIS. With Eva.

Mmm... pretty perfect drizzly, gray October day here in Vermont Perfect day to visit Shelburne Farms and sit in front of the fire in the luxurious Manor.

Fortified with Bloody Marys and fire warmth, we face the Creeping Damp.
This is the foggy view over Lake Champlain.
The ghost pirates appeared moments after this photo was taken.

Presenting Mr. Itchybutt

Bebeh goat tries to eat Eva's dress.
Eva lovingly tries to explain to bebeh goat the dangers of eating the garments of strangers.

Bebeh goat says, "Um, whatever you say, lady!"...

... and promptly tries to eat my purse.

Calf and chicken are friends.
What a good day. I love Vermont.