By Kirby Farrell
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Extra info for Berserk Style in American Culture
Got worse as time went by. I really loved fucking killing, couldn’t get enough. For every one that I killed I felt better. Made some of the hurt went away” (Shay, 78). The man’s language is self-intoxicating, an incantation. ” In berserk style the fantasy of cutting loose can function as self-encouragement, even modeling action that could be taken. It can also shape transference relationships with powerful others. As in the devil’s pact, the mortal who appears to master the beyond whets the appetite of followers for boundless life.
I did not know who I was,” he reported as if waking from a dream state. ” Waiting in prison to be killed, having come face-toface with his doom, he had no place left to go. No longer inside the shelter of everyday reality, he relates himself as a story—“In the end, I self-destructed”—in effect, seeing himself already dead. The crucial point is that we are psychosomatic creatures, and whether it is primarily symbolic or neurophysiological, a threat to the self can trigger fury. When Davis fumed that “[i]f they ever decide to fire me, I’ll take two or three of them with me,” he was interpreting job loss as social death.
Coworkers had nicknamed him Psycho, because he “repeatedly picked fights at the tool warehouse . . and had often told colleagues that if he were ever fired, he would return to kill his bosses. He had seen combat in Vietnam and been hospitalized with schizophrenia after the war. ”36 Needless to say, Davis had strong incentives to believe that he was not responsible for his actions. But the dissociated, psychotic quality of his account is compatible with other descriptions of the berserk state. From death row he wrote: “I was calm.
Berserk Style in American Culture by Kirby Farrell