"Kottler gives readers a personable and comprehensive tour of the violent entertainment we love to hate and hate to love. He ably explores our paradoxical lust and revulsion as a cathartic means of restraint, with specific attention to its psychological impact: seeing violence within a media frame makes us feel alive, recharging us to face our private anxieties about life-and-death issues. This book offers something for everyone, from media psychologists to fans of splatter-films."
—Dr. Katherine Ramsland, professor of forensic psychology
and author of The Mind of a Murderer
If you’re like most Americans, you’ll find yourself slowing down on the highway near the scene of an accident, hoping to catch a glimpse of the mayhem. You probably also secretly enjoy the fistfights that break out at hockey games or hearing about the lurid details revealed during sensational murder trials. And it’s no secret that horror fiction, macabre slasher movies, and brutal video games are solid moneymakers.
How do we explain the lurid fascination that most people experience when confronted by real or simulated acts of violence, murder, horror, and crime?
This is the subject examined by veteran psychologist Jeffrey A. Kottler in this candid assessment of our dark vicarious thrills. Based on a series of interviews with perpetrators, victims, and “consumers” of violence, including several celebrities, the author of a best-selling book on serial killers explores what there is about this subject that draws such a wide audience.
Unlike many other books that attempt to probe the murky psyches of deviant individuals, this book focuses on normal, average people who, despite themselves, enjoy getting close to the most forbidden, perverse side of destruction and evil. The persons interviewed range from homicide detectives and emergency room personnel to a heavyweight boxer and groupies of serial killers on death row.
Kottler considers ideas from a variety of theories and research to explain our responses to violence, raises questions about the shifting line between normal and abnormal, evaluates the confusion and ambivalence that many people feel when witnessing others’ suffering, and suggests future trends in society’s attitudes toward violence.
Pages: 311 (photos)
Shipping Weight: 2lbs
Jeffrey A. Kottler, PhD, is a practicing psychologist, professor of counseling at California State University, Fullerton, and the author of more than seventy-five books, including the New York Times best seller The Last Victim: A True-Life Journey into the Mind of the Serial Killer. He is also head of Empower Nepali Girls, which provides educational scholarships for at-risk, lower-caste girls.