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The Search for David Carradine’s Death Photo

posted by Ethan Nichtern

The world continues to mourn one of the pseudo-masters of eastern spirituality, David Carradine, in our culture’s peculiar way: we are dying to see the Carradine hanging photo. Thai Rath, a local paper, has supposedly published a Carradine death photo, rightfully enraging his family.

carradine_death_photo.jpg

(David Carradine in one of his very best pseudo-eastern-spirituality roles,
Kill Bill)


I got a great chance last night
to contemplate self-destructive behavior up close and personal, which
of course human beings are oddly obsessed with. The only thing we seem
even more obsessed with than self-destructive behavior is…drum
roll…voyeurism into someone else’s self-destructive behavior. Ah,
grasshoppers, when will we learn?



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Damaris

posted June 7, 2009 at 12:05 pm


?????
Say no to asphyxiation but if you want to tie up your genitals…..dude, do iiiiitttt!
jeesh, i thought old age got him.



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wide eyes

posted June 7, 2009 at 3:33 pm


Either it is not David Carradine (DC) or someone substituted death photo scenes. Or the tabloid so badly censored the photo that they shot themselves on the foot because the man in the photo doesn’t look at all like DC. DC was a tall, white, lanky, gray-haired man. The photo shows the body of a youthful, smooth-skinned, *dark* skinned, black-haired oriental-physiqued man. So either it’s not DC or the censor so badly mangled the photo that it doesn’t look at all like DC. The photo provides a good argument against censorship, and against the mentality that when journalists try to spare the sensibilities of the public, journalism becomes worthless.



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Damaris

posted June 7, 2009 at 4:28 pm


On a serious note.
It’s so hard to see the pain. Our pain.
To realize that the part of you that was 8 years old is still in pain and that it’s there in your relationship, your job, in your addiction.
It took me so long to see it, to accept it and even as I do it is still so hard to stop. I wonder will I ever stop doing the things that hurt me and I wonder.. are there more parts of me that are hurt and I just don’t know it yet because I can’t bear to see it.
A few months back when I was really ill I was in the Times Square subway station. I was walking towards the benches when I saw this homeless man sleeping. He smelled awful. It was a horrible smell and I looked to see why. I could see the shit dried up on his leg and his sneakers.
This man he …. he no longer cares to find a place to shit. He no longer cares and everyone walks away from him.
I wonder what happened that him made him feel that he’s not worthy of his own love. What is inside him.
I wonder is there anyone on this planet that loves him.
I wonder if I look at him with love would he be able to recognize it.
All I could do was stand behind a pillar and offer what I could offer.
A few weeks after that I finally went to the doctor. After 6 months of intense physical pain I finally went. When the doctor looked at me she asked why I’d waited so long. I told her I didn’t have health insurance but that I do now.
She looked at me and said. “You know there are clinics you can go to. Clinics with sliding scales.” and she looked at me. Her eyes where saying why are you hurting yourself.
In that moment I realized she’s right. I know about the clinics. I know that. Why didn’t I go? Why?……. Oh my why am I hurting myself.
I now know why. I also know that it was easier to feel that physical pain then it was to feel the pain in my heart. It was easier.
And I wonder is that how that man feels.



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Markangelo

posted June 7, 2009 at 5:48 pm


Is auto-erotic asphyxiation a Geneva convention approved form of torture
Waterboarding is for sissies–U dont die from it.



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Caroline

posted June 7, 2009 at 11:12 pm


This article is in very poor taste. “Dying” to see his death photo, really? I’m certainly not.



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Ethan Nichtern

posted June 7, 2009 at 11:54 pm


Hey Caroline, thanks for dropping by. I thought – maybe prematurely – that it was self-evident that the “we” dying to see the picture referred to our society, given that it is a top story, top blog story across the internet, and top search engine term today. I also have no desire to see the picture.



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Kevin T

posted June 8, 2009 at 2:41 pm


We, as a general term is not appropriate in a case such as this. “We” are not dying to see the photo’s. I am not interested in the photos. I will use “I” words to express my dismay of the concern which an actor garners as opposed to someone who has died today due to lack of food or heath care… I do care about others with the attempt to be equanimous with the understanding of anicha…anicha…anicha…



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Blue Zinnia

posted June 8, 2009 at 4:05 pm


Neither I not anyone I know wants to see the picture. If this was an accident, it’s sad, and Markangelo, there’s no call to be horrible
about it. If it was suicide, well…the pain that leads someone to
end his life is indescribably bad, as is what it does to the suicidal person’s loved ones. So while I take your point about cultural voyeurism,
I think you could have phrased this with a food deal more sensitivity.
No, he wasn’t a master of Eastern spirituality. But his “Kung Fu”
role, whatever you think of it otherwise, drew a lot of people
to investigate real Buddhism, some of whom stayed. And he made a pretty fair tai chi video that has helped a lot of people get healthy, including some who probably wouldn’t've been interested if he hadn’t been involved.
Some people are ghoulish and many are celebrity-obsessed. But that’s not
Carradine’s fault, and being snarky just makes you sound like one of
the folks you decry.



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Lowell Hein

posted June 8, 2009 at 5:30 pm


Yes, “we” are the people who still cling to this world, and all it’s
pathetic illusion of “red carpets” and “fame”.
The blogger’s attempt at creating a club of those “dying to see” Carradine’s “death photo” is just indicative of what’s happening in his mind… He is clearly, the one who is dying to see this photo.



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Lowell Hein

posted June 8, 2009 at 5:48 pm


I’d like to add, Ethan, that your “what would sid do” fiction-as-religous-instruction is no more or less “pseudo-Eastern Spirituality” than anything Carradine said. This try the pipe with a friend is absurd. Most of us experiment withy intoxicants in our lives, but they have no place in the life of a person trying to purify their mind. It’s irresponsible to say it’s OK to “hit the pipe”, because your target audience believes you.



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Cully

posted June 8, 2009 at 9:16 pm


re: Damaris’ “On a serious note…” post
You are a Beautiful – full of Beauty – person. Thank you for posting.
Blessings!



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Ethan Nichtern

posted June 8, 2009 at 9:39 pm


@ Lowell: a few things need clarification. First, I am not the author of the “What Would Sid Do?” Column, so please read to see who authors each article.
Also, as I stated, I was using the cultural “we” because I found it ironic that the blogosphere was so interested in this pic. It is clearly in the collective consciousness. I would not attempt to know another person’s hidden intentions unless I knew them very very well. So please do come back and comment on our blog whenever you like, but ad hominem arguments tend to kill discussion, not help it.



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Conflicted Fan

posted June 8, 2009 at 10:35 pm


I’m of mixed emotions about Carridine’s passing. On the one hand, I grew up watching “Kung Fu”; as someone of mixed Asian and white ancestry, it was wonderful to see a show that featured China in the way that Kung Fu did. As to the poster who said that many viewers were drawn to Buddhism because of it, I am one of those viewers. Buddhism has comforted me in so many ways that the Christianity I was raised in never did. HOWEVER…I hate to do this, but it bears mentioning and I haven’t heard anyone else mention it yet:the controversy over who created Kung Fu and who was denied the lead. I wont go into all of it here, but it’s long been said by many people that the show was Bruce Lee’s idea and that he was denied the lead role because he was “too Chinese” and “had a thick accent”. I hate to think that Bruce Lee was robbed like that. Ever since I heard thouse rumors back in the 90s, I havent watched Kung Fu with the same affection that I had as a child–I keep imagining Bruce Lee as Caine. I’ve experienced anti-Asian racism myself, so much so that when I was younger I dyed my hair blonde to appear more “white”. That’s something that David Carridine never had to do. Part of me still has nostalgic feelings about Kung Fu, but part of me keeps thinking that at least Carridine got to be elderly, unlike Bruce Lee. I dont know what to think about Carridine–I just hope his family will be okay because hanging(regardless of whether its suicide, auto-eroticsm, or murder)is one of the most grisliest ways to die. I hope his family can somehow find peace.



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jay@rkb3.net

posted June 9, 2009 at 6:45 pm


You are finally at peace, David. Are you astonished to find that you were always with your source? Namaste.



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Lowell

posted June 10, 2009 at 1:21 pm


Ethan,
Going off half-cocked (and with half the info required) and operating out of a place of judgment, especially, is never a good idea for me..I apologize….and so the journey continues.



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jas faulkner

posted June 10, 2009 at 9:46 pm


How sad that some people feel the need to seek out a post-mortem photo. It would be nice if everyone would be satisfied with seeing his work as a testament to who he was and leave it at that.



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