Friday, December 03, 2004

Nothing's Shocking

When in doubt for a title, steal someone else's I always say.

For some reason today I'm thinking about work that's shocked or even offended me in recent memory. My threshold is pretty high, so this isn't an easy task for me.

The last book I can remember shocking me is probably
The Marabou Stork Nightmares by Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting. The book is a pretty fun mix of memories, fantasies and fears running through the head of the narrator, who happens to be in a coma. Sorry for the vagueness here, but it's been about two years since I've read it. In one of his memories, the narrator gets revenge on a dog by taking a fresh cow bone with some meat still clinging to it, and hammers some nails into it. The narrator gives it to the dog, and takes great joy when the animal clamps down on the bone, feels the pain from the nails and can't let go.

I had a hard time reading that passage, but strangely if it had been done to a person it would have barely made me flinch. So I guess I'm one of those who can watch or read horrors done to people with no problem, but hurt and animal and I'm dumbfounded.

If I think of anymore today, I'll post them in reply section of this post.



Hebdomeros said...

Okay, okay. I know it's probably lame to be the first to reply to my blog post, but I thought of another one.

Actually, I'm surprised I didn't think of it earlier, since it's a much more recent read. The Windup Bird Chronicles by Murakami, with its stories within stories, features a short tale about a Japanese WWII vet and his experiences in Mongolia. At one point, his commanding officer is skinned alive by a Mongolian native. Eerily beautiful in its writing, its a very disturbing passages as the young soldier watches while his commander has his skin peeled off by a stone-sharpened skinning knife. As much as I love this book, I almost didn't loan it out because of that scene.

LadyLitBlitzin said...

Wow. Hmm, I think that I haven't read enough because I haven't been offended by that much. Although I have to say, I had a hard time with de Sade. I had a big book of his writings and it was the only book I really wanted to burn. But it's been a long time.

Anonymous said...

I was surprised you didn't mention the Murakami scene in the blog, so I'm glad you added it on. Just like I was surprised you didn't warn me about it :P Probably better that you didn't. Good to still have things creep up on you. Notwithstanding the fact you know I'm almost exactly the opposite; so easily horrified by what I watch and read. I've left the room in the middle of sitcoms before because I don't like watching a character face a difficult or embarrassing situation.

Have read things that shocked me before but can't call up what they are. Remember being shocked at my own response while reading Lolita in high school and not being disgusted by the narrator as much as I felt I should.

Well, there are some things I've read that are genuinely shocking, but even in an anonymous forum, I don't feel comfortable discussing them. Some other time then.


Hebdomeros said...

de Sade can push the buttons. I like his stuff, but he did really go out of his way to offend. By shocking I didn't necessarily mean offend; I have no problem with either of these mentioned scenes being written.

Anonymous L-

We'll talk later.

LadyLitBlitzin said...

Hmm, that's funny. Yeah, I guess I skipped right over shocked straight to offended. I don't consider myself too easily shocked or offended, I guess, but perhaps I should think over the question more thoroughly.

And when I said burn the book, I just meant my own copy. I respect the old Marquise's right to be around, and I loved the movie "Quills" and own it, even though it's disturbing and upsetting and all that. I don't know, though, actually reading him is just really effing hard, regardless of what the sociopolitical reasons were that surrounded the writing, you know?

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly about Quills. Have never tried reading his work though.