Liveblogging Ballard's Crash Chapter Ten / Interlude
To access the whole series of posts just click on the tag crash at the bottom.
I took a break from blogging Crash in order to read Ballard's autobiography, Miracles of Life. It had coincidentally arrived in the post as I finished chapter ten and got to the halfway mark.
In Miracles, he talks about Crash and all the controversy around it and his pre-novel art installation of crashed cars. It was fascinating to me because it made me realise something. My reaction to this book is the opposite. I have spent the whole time nodding gentle approval and recognition internally.
Ballard's world of car fetishization, sex and death, accidents and the advertised glossy lifestyle commercials of near religious fervor is one I am intimately familiar with.
Car adverts are just that, sexual and fetishized. And death and injury are all around. I have been in a crash, and my home area has the A41, a road famous for its roadside wreaths. I can recall many stories of sex in cars, of accidents, of friends on morphine drips with shattered legs, and of sperm on the plastic back seats. All the while, TV, magazines and leadership lead us by the nose into this landscape using unsubtle sexualized symbolism developed through actual psychology research. It is real and uncontroversial to me.
Now Ballard has entered Vaughan's inner circle and gazes at his own photo dossier. There is Seagrave the stunt driver and his wife Vera, Vaughan himself, Gabriel the young social worker crippled by her crash whose leg braces and wasted muscles show new sexual possibilities, there is now Helen ... and Ballard himself. The chapter ends when he stops short after Vaughan mentions Elizabeth Taylor and he realizes the extent of Vaughan's plans and how complicit he will be in the outcome.
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