Sunday, June 27, 2010

Suicide Chic

After hearing about a young fashion designer's suicide, it occurred to me a suicide trend may be gaining momentum:  Indeed it might be getting to be chic to kill yourself.  In the past couple of years, a small number of models and at least one other designer committed suicide - all young, up and coming, if not emerging at the top of their field.  Tres curious, eh?
THE designer Karim Rashid was stunned when he read the news online that Tobias Wong, the enfant terrible of the design world, had died on May 30 at 35, in what authorities ruled a suicide. “You’re just starting your career,” he recalled thinking. “Why would you do this?”
His partner noted, “This wasn’t a typical suicide,” Mr. Dubitsky said in an interview at the couple’s apartment. “He wasn’t angry, he wasn’t sad, he wasn’t upset. We were always thinking about our future. We wanted kids. We wanted to find a house.” - Tobias Wong dead at 35
Just a week or so ago a top male model, Tom Nicon, 22, jumped to his death in Milan, just as men's fashion week was beginning.  Strangely enough, earlier this year right before fashion week, designer Alexander McQueen, 40, was found dead in his London flat.  He had killed himself.  Not long before that his muse Isabella Blow also died by suicide.  (2007)
Add to that list other models and young actors.  Why would such young successful people choose suicide?  In the past, aging actresses and models committed suicide because their careers appeared over, Capucine comes to mind.  Yes, they all probably suffered from depression, but when someone is just about to peak in their career it seems especially incomprehensible.  Hence my wondering, is it just a trend - is it becoming chic?

Top Photo: Actress/model Capucine.
H/T to Nano second.
Facts on suicide.


  1. No Terry it's not "CHIC"..I contemplate it myself. 1 in 3 manic-depressives kill's an illness..quite often though bipolar is associated with genius, artistic, literary etc so often the people who kill themselves are's always been the case down the centuries..I do think it's more acceptable to have these illnesses & their is a certain type of 2fashionable2 attributed but not really chic..well that's my 2 cents!

  2. +JMJ+

    You mean one day Heathers is going to be more prophetic than satiric?

    (I had a longer comment, but it wasn't coming out right, so I took the rest of it out.)

  3. Jackie - thanks for that good clarification.

    Enbrethiliel - I love Winona Ryder.

  4. Yes, there is depression, & then there is depression and some more depressions. Further, I suppose, there would be some common denominators that differentiates the roots causes of the various manifestations of depression ...

    I read yesterday the sad USA Today story of the ship captain who committed suicide who was working to help BP clean up the oil. There too seems to be a puzzling mystery of what caused this father to do what he did; his last few weeks clearly indicated he was wrestling internally over something.

    ... for me, while some may be genetically rooted- physiological or psychological, others I believe are rooted in demonic ...

    From An Exorcist Tells His Story []

    " ... an example is found in Luke 8:30 the case of the possessed man in the territory of the Gerasenes: "Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "Legion," because many demons had entered him ".
    Satan's army of evil, torment many unknowing lost souls to the point of destruction of others and of themselves. Today a more favorable climate exists for cases of possession and obsession then ever before. Our world has become a playground of pornography, sex, money, material possessions, drugs, and alcohol. There are so many instruments to spread these Satanic messages such as television, Internet, radio, music, and even the clothing we wear; thus our children are exposed to a multitude of temptations and are wide open to evil. The "predominant" Gods of of this age we live in include money, television, music, and sex. Unfortunately, the "cure"-exorcism, is considered an "ancient" ritual and is snubbed by most religious leaving many victims to suffer indescribable torments, and in some instances, even suicide. ..."

    and of course, there is no such thing as "sin" these days ... just my take ...

  5. If this material world is all there is...if beauty, success, money, fame, power, etc. are all that there is...suicide is not so far from the "mark" when it all comes crashing down;
    but if God is the center of everything; if He is the very purpose of one's life, no matter what vocation, then suicide is not even "on the maps".
    Clinical depression is a horrid disease; it should be treated...folks need to have compassion and help. But this is an emotional/physiological disease.Even the best of people can have this most debilitating illness; it's not the same as "existential despair".
    I wonder if some these examples might be "Noetic depression", coined by Fr. Groeschel; this is about the emptiness of nothingness where there is truly nothing, so kill yourself.
    Very tragic.

  6. What kind of drugs exacerbate depression? Alcohol, for one.

    Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Librium, Valium, etc), commonly used to treat insomnia, anxiety, and muscular spasms, similar to alcohol, increase the risk of developing major depression.

    There is an anti-acne drug, Accutane, that is being studied because it also is thought to lead to depression and suicide.

    Some of those drugs probably are taken by many in the exceedingly competitive world of design where looking and acting good are critical

  7. Fr. - noetic depression - very possible, reading their stories I think that may indeed be part of it.

    Ray - your theory is also likely.

    I still think there is an element of chic to this, perhaps a way of securing some sort of legacy or cult status at the peak of one's career. It sounds crazy, I'm just not so sure it is though - a nihilism perhaps, wanting to leave when everything is just right - no failure, etc..

    Reading and experiencing how 'mourners' behave and act - taking things very cool and in stride - I'm not sure the suicide's peers always experience it as such a tragedy... it is just an end. That is not to imply family and partner(s) wouldn't experience great sorrow however.

  8. Anonymous5:53 PM

    There is a "contagious" element to suicide, especially in young people.
    Anorexia works that way too.

  9. Upon further reflection...this makes me so very sad...
    how we can even think of ending something that God has given to!...I know that sitting in the ER, with heart palpitations, wondering if I would be "in the Kingdom" shortly...I was so grateful to God that He had given me what little years I had; I was ready to meet Him...for this is LIFE for ever...but I saw my dear Br. Joseph sitting in the corner, looking horribly worried that I would die...and I knew that life was more than just what I wanted it to was for OTHERS...and maybe that is what is lacking be for others; how absolutely horrid and sad that these "beautiful" people did not experience "being for others"...I take no claim on this; it's all God...

  10. Austringer8:01 PM

    I don't find this surprising, given a number of factors: one, ours is an increasingly secular society -- ultimately, this means more loneliness. I think that the celebrity culture another contributing factor: we make models famous. But what for, exactly? I have to think that for male models, there must be something terribly hollow about being famous, not for some great feat or accomplishment, but for merely looking good. And, for the most part, the good looks weren't "earned" but were merely, luckily, inherited. Women models might have an easier time with any rate, the environment that these hot-house flowers live in must just be soul-crushing. And, every one of them must know that as they age, so they deteriorate in the eyes of those who admire them because of those looks. How I cam see the appeal of going out in a dramatic, tragic way rather than fading silently into obscurity. Without Faith, this has to be a terribly corrosive career.

  11. Remember when Kurt Cobain committed suicide? It started a chain event where others took their own lives, possibly trying to emulate him. I can't imagine why, though.

  12. pml: I do not discount the factor of demonic obsession/possession in some of these situations...I'm a very young priest (in priest years)...only seven this 28th of June (tomorrow in fact..please pray for me!!)...
    I do know how much the demonic attacks families, religious, priests, holy men and women who want to love and serve the Lord...and those who have effects upon many lives (celebrities?)...
    The demons HATE us because we are "children of God"...we can go to heaven...esp. because Jesus became "one of us"...He assumed our human nature (the demons spit and hiss at this because their angelic nature is 'above' ours and to think that Jesus became a if we would become a dog...) they be nasty creatures!
    Anyway, the demons hate us.
    And they will use whatever they have in their power to get us to hate one another.
    These folk are to be be prayed for...and sometimes, to be corrected in the name of the Lord.
    But the demons use everything they can to get us to hate one another.
    That's just wrong.

  13. Father, yes, I will keep you and your brothers in my prayers and hope you are doing better.

    Our Lady's Tears Production has produced a dvd that I view several months ago and I do believe the information provide some very valuable insight on the cultural suffering we are witnessing.

    scruppered you are correct ... I recall some town in Scotland, I believe last year, had such a situation manifest.

  14. Anonymous10:52 PM

    I always thought that suicide chic started with Sylvia Plath. Something for beautiful sensitive souls. My father killed himself and it was so not chic. It's been 31 years and I'm still "dealing" with it.

    Live..God wants you here even if you can't see why.

  15. Happy anniversary Fr.!

  16. Thanks, Terry.
    I feel so absolutely unworthy of the graces our Lord has given me; to be His Priest is a grace and a burden; but with all of your prayers and His goodness, I pray I will do His Will.
    My prayers and blessing to all of you!


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