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Malater, E. (2007). David Cronenberg's Benevolent Pathology: Technology, Trauma, and the Perverse Social Link in Crash. Psychoanal. Rev., 94(6):887-902.

(2007). Psychoanalytic Review, 94(6):887-902

David Cronenberg's Benevolent Pathology: Technology, Trauma, and the Perverse Social Link in Crash

Evan Malater, LCSW

Returning to the Scene of the Accident

“They bury the dead so quickly, they should keep them around for months.”

—Catherine Ballard in Crash

We are entering the period of total accident. Everything has been damaged in the accident. Knowledge has been mortally maimed. This is not the apocalypse, forget about it. This is not the catastrophic in the sense that everything is going to stop and we can finally cross over into the world beyond the world—not at all. No, everything that constitutes the world has experienced an accident, and this without exception.

—Paul Virilio, The Accident of Art

For days, I've been checking the mail, waiting for the DVD. Fially, it comes. I rip open the package and pop it in. I'm ready to indulge in a second viewing of David Cronenberg's 1998 film Crash (no relation to the 2005 Hollywood film of the same name), which, as the DVD blurb explains, is about “Dr. Ballard, a bored film director who explores new realms after a near fatal car accident introduces him to a world of sexually obsessed car crash enthusiasts. Unsatisfied by his marriage, Ballard joins Dr. Helen Remington and begins to explore the eroticism of the car and the sexual violence of auto accidents.” Understandably, the blurb glosses over the fact that Ballard doesn't just “join” Dr. Remington; rather, he accidentally crashes into her on the highway, killing her husband and unwittingly forging an erotic bond between them.

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