Well. I started reading this novel without any sort of context, as I do with most of the novels we've read for class. So, (and I feel like most of you can probably sympathize) I really wasn't ready for the *ahem* intense nature of Crash.
Now, that being said, I'll jump right into this bloggity blog post.
The--to put it gently--intimate nature of Crash combined with both James and Vaughan's fetishization of the car crash highlights the theme (is that the right word choice?) of voyeurism that is present throughout the novel (or at least what we've read so far). Vaughan is a voyeur in his desire to actively seek out/witness car accidents, not to mention the heaps of camera equipment he hoards around in his trunk (Rear Window, anyone?). But we, as the audience, are really no different than Vaughan in terms of our voyeurism: as Ballard describes sexually explicit acts, we look on and witness these acts unfold.
When I first read about the sexual pleasure these men achieve from car crashes and their horrifying consequences, I was instinctively (pardon my French here) freaked the fuck out. The idea of becoming aroused at the pain and suffering of others is, quite frankly, repulsive. However, despite my initial horror at this thought, I realized that these men aren't actually doing anything wrong. At least legally. (Well, with the exception of Vaughan's attempt to murder Elizabeth Taylor...let's disregard that for the moment.) Their actions, though I may find them incredibly creepy, do not affect those around them. So my question is this: does the fact that I (and possibly some of you, as well) find their type of voyeurism appalling necessarily mean that what they are doing is wrong? Or is voyeurism ok, despite the content of what is being watched for sexual gratification? And what does that say about our own voyeurism? For it's undeniable that we are, in fact, voyeurs, especially in relation to this novel.