Sunday, July 04, 2004

Stuffed and Mounted Trophy Wife

In this narrative that appeared in The Guardian, a Cuban diver named Francisco Ferreras recounts how tragedy struck when his wife, Audrey Mestre, died as she attempted to break a world-record in freediving.

The single sentiment that resonates throughout his tale, however, is that even in death his wife is another vehicle for his self-aggrandizement.

He seemingly brags about fucking his now-deceased spouse on the first night he met her in the same piece in which he claims to be eulogizing her:

"I needed to know everything about her. And by the time the sun came up, I had made a pretty good start."

If questioned, the author would probably claim that his writing serves a few purposes. The catharsis involved in purging his soul of the trauma at losing his wife would surely be part of the rationale. Perhaps unspoken would be the need to get a version out that cements for many people what then becomes the accepted reality of what took place and most importantly his intentions and thoughts leading up to and as a result of the incident. The books and tales of tragic incidents that have taken place are legion and it's hard to believe that some revisionist history doesn't take place in most as the main actors usually stand as noble well-intentioned individuals. In this recounting there is the normal "why?" questions but in the face of obvious indications of a lack of professionalism. Is the writer's apparent self-absorption so great that he doesn't see his own culpability in the facts as related by him, or does he have other motives?

He offers up contempt for those who dared to question the lack of emergency equipment and not having a doctor on the scene of the dive where his wife ultimately perished. Yet this is an eminently reasonable criticism to level and those things could have saved her life.

In the part of his account leading up to the dive, there is talk about the presence of the media contingent and fans who added to the atmosphere. The details about preparation include some hint at organization but the overall sense is that the nervousness of the day trumped a well-rehearsed regimented system that is normally part of any dangerous undertaking.

In fact, the mention of numerous facts, such as one member of the team suffering from a hangover on the big day, seems almost too deliberate, as if the author is feigning outrage at the criticism that resulted, knowing that his tale will arouse more well-deserved questions while keeping alive the attention he craves.