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wapoaWashington Post, March 31, 1904. Thoughtful of her to help defray the burial costs. My guess is that $20 in 1904 actually bought a fair bit of funeral. Also, that’s two shootings-in-the-heart in a row. I wonder if there are traceable trends in suicide styles at work here. It seems apt that Victorians should shoot themselves in the heart, whereas we post-sentimental post-moderns go straight for the gray matter. I am reminded of that radioactive passage from that now-famous commencement address by the late David Foster Wallace: “It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master.” Maybe the same was true of the heart in 1904; then the main site of pain moved north to the head during WWI. Discuss.

3 Comments

  1. Maybe people switched to the head because of the increased ability of surgeons to do heart surgery. A shot in the chest was probably more fatal in 1904 than it is now.

    • Even back in the day, a bullet to the heart could be a less than sure bet.
      Thanks for the comment, Pam.

        • MattChi
        • Posted June 6, 2009 at 12:40 am
        • Permalink

        Hi … I work for an online magazine in Chicago and I’m interested in possibly working up a piece featuring the site. I think it’s fascinating. Please send me an email when you have a few minutes.

        Thanks!

        Matt


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