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Friday, January 08, 2010

At least somebody believes in the devil

Artie Lange, sidekick of the U.S. shock jock Howard Stern, has survived a suicide attempt. This consisted of six "hesitation wounds" and three deep plunges. Stern was quoted demanding that the press back off because "everyone has their demons, including myself, but he's wrestling with some serious stuff".

Apart from noting that The Hesitation Wounds is a great name for an indie band, I can't help musing about the phrase "wrestling with their demons". This seems to be exclusively applied to anyone going through a high-profile personal crisis despite being wealthier and more famous than the rest of us. When a father murdered his family on a housing estate over Christmas nobody said he was wrestling with his demons. Wrestling with demons, which seems an activity reserved for showbiz or sport, somehow dignifies all manner of outrages and carries the hint that demonic behaviour may be an inevitable side effect of genius.

It's odd that an expression like this, which derives from an era when demonic possession was a widely-held belief, should be pressed into use to explain excesses in such a Godless milieu.