A Conversation for No Direction Home - the Life and Death of Edie Sedgwick

Edie Sedgwick

Post 1


well hello,
lets hope im doing this right. and screw grammar and caps.
im a 45 yr old american.
i lived in europe for 19 yrs. im a physician with psychiatry as a specialty. i first heard about edie sedgwick thru one of my best friends at college-his father knew her as a casual friend in nyc in 1965.

the only reason i joined this site was to express some of my personal viewpoints on this article, which, least we forget, is basically about how another human being's suffering from childhood on thru her "adult" years led to an all too early death. this woman almost certainly was genetically predisposed to mental health problems as well as addiction problems. on top of that her extremely dysfunctional family and the lack of care and affection she experienced in her childhood had her marked as a tragic figure waiting to happen. and the tragedy happened, indeed.

most anybody with a similar genetic code and childhood, despite the holier than thou tone of this article, would have found it an uphill battle to feel any sense of self-esteem and worthiness to be loved.

so here goes, what i felt upon reading this article:

I have seldom seen such a callous dismissal of another persons life and personality after their death as i have here. The author of this article has an arrogance that is both astounding and disturbing. How anyone can casually sum up the worth of another human being as "to be qualified to be an ornament, and that's about it" without proving to be seriously lacking in mental health issues themselves is how i would put this. I'm assuming this is based on hearsay and 3rd hand histories, as many of those who knew the woman best attested to her brightness and charisma, if lacking in "higher" education. And I'd be damn willing to bet that her ability for self-insight and empathy (despite her addictions) would have been more than adequate to prove her more worthy as a "judge" of others than the author of this unfeeling shite.

More quotes from this biased inhumane crap article:

"There was nothing all that special about Edie Sedgwick, even in the days when her brain was more or less intact."

I'm sorry sir, but almost everyone who ever met her is of a different opinion. What a piece of shit you must be to be able to write such a thing about anyone? As far as I'm concerned, every living human is special, besides of course those who believe that some other humans are not....special, that is. Horrid.

"She wasn't particularly clever, though. Nor was she good at organising her affairs: in fact she never understood the necessity to learn self-help skills, probably because she couldn't foresee a day when no one else would help."

She was clever at many things. And no, your wrong: one of Edie's main problems was she couldn't foresee a day when somebody else would help on a consistent basis. Such a total lack of basic human psychology, and yet you even dare to show it to others by writing demeaning articles about the tragic dead.

"Her conversation was effervescent but shallow, and her ideas were vague. She was qualified to be an ornament, and that was really about it."

You know what. I'm not even going to bother being (or pretending to be) an intellectual gentleman anymore.

I've met many people in both NYC and California who knew Edie, first hand. Did you ever meet her before your character assassination was written? Amazing how it only took one paragraph to dismiss a person's life as being of any value.

Ignorant. Judgmental. Biased. Unsympathetic. Dismissive. Callous. Cruel. Shallow.

Lack of research. Lack of empathy. Lack of an ounce of humaneness. Lack of objectivity. Lacking pretty much everything a journalist should have (in a perfect world).

So. I suppose I may have misjudged what the author really was trying to say. I doubt it. No matter how you look at it, there are some pretty ugly sentences here, and more exist in the article.

A more direct approach as a critique of the article would have been to simply quote my friend's father:

"I know more than a few who loved and/or cared for this woman, and still sorrow for her untimely death, and the whole tragedy surrounding her life. Just write that this guy doesn't know jackshit, and tell him one of Edie's friends wants him to fxxk-off".

Edie Sedgwick

Post 2


I come here to write.
I try a variety of styles and viewpoints. I guess you'll have read a selection of them before getting judgemental.

OK. I know you didn't. It's not entirely your fault, because you probably think that h2g2 is some sort of encyclopaedia. You assume that this ought to be a carefully considered and balanced article. But I didn't approach it like that. I approached it as a writing exercise, and I readily admit that I made it callous. I wanted it to challenge people to recognise and feel some guilt over the waste of a human life, and the thrown-out-with-the-trash tone is an effective way of doing that.

I'm sorry if it has upset anyone. I maybe should think about that aspect more, and that inference of your criticism I accept and thank you for. I can say in my defence that I've received thanks from literally hundreds of people for other things I've written on the site. Being slagged off quite this badly is a first.

Where you're dead wrong is in implying thoughtlessness. I thought about this a lot. I thought about her a lot. I did a fair amount of research, and tested my conclusions against peers. That's what we do here. We're a critical writing community. Here's the Peer Review thread, in case you're interested: F7466857?thread=4224397&skip=0&show=20

We all find our own catharsis, don't we? Edie was written with some help and encouragement from a friend on the site who is a pretty flaky product of the same generation herself. Another Entry I wrote with a mental illness theme, one I consider much better than this piece, was co-written by someone with bipolar disorder. Speaking personally, writing has helped me to come to terms with the death of my own son, as well as the psychiatric problems of my daughter.

You probably ought to lighten up. If you're really practising as a physician with a psychiatric specialism, then the incontinence of your writing here makes me worry a bit for your patients. Don't get worked up at words. If you want to express an alternative viewpoint, then write a better Entry about Edie's life, or about anything else you want people to read, and offer it to the site. I would love to read a eulogy to Edie Sedgwick, though I think an accurate factual account that made her life seem anything other than pathetic and tragic would be very difficult to write. But if you're sure there's a fairer story to be told, and if you think you can tell it, then go for it.

Finally, you obviously don't like me much, so I'd just leave it there if I were you. People like me, would-be writers, treat strong reaction as a complement, hardly less so when it's negative than when it's positive. If you get this heated, I guess it just proves tham I'm a pretty good writer.

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