Morality and Morbidity: Semantics and the Moral Status of Macabre Fascination
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The macabre possesses a unique allure, which often begs indulgence. Individuals passing a grisly accident try to catch a glimpse. Horror art generates reliable revenue, drawing casual audiences and dedicated aficionados. Dark tourist attractions, lurid true crime narratives, and analyses of moribund medical anomalies are in no short supply. Yet, indulging the fascination, and those who choose to do so, often encounters moral reproach. A sense of impropriety accompanies fascination, such that indulgence feels or is perceived as misguided1. Macabre fascination and the morbidly fascinated provoke moral panic. Dark tourism meets frequent protests, those pursuing careers in the mortuary sciences are dogged by prejudicial assumptions, the rubbernecker is chastised, while art horror faces criticism from myriad outlets. We even find this perception played for comedic effect in narrative cases such as The Addams Family, which mines humor from the supposed incompatible...