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Thursday, February 21, 2013

129

Ask a Person Who Just Read the Hotel Corpse Water Story

Q. Blah blah blah?

A. no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no hiccup no no no no no no no nervous laughter no no no no no tiny tiny screams

Tags:

no

129 Comments / Post A Comment

iceberg

*closes tab*

Mlle Mlle

@iceberg I just had to read the headline but no further information was required *shudder*

Judith Slutler

o_o

plumb-bob

@Emmanuelle Cunt

D:   D:   D:   

RK Fire

GINORMOUS, not tiny, SCREAMS

sox
sox

@RK Fire This is precisely what I came here to say. What even the fuuuuuuuuck.

cashmere velvet candy cane

Now I'm just WAITING for Bones to do an episode like this. Also, me and my OCD's disdain for hotels is now vindicated.

Amphora

@cashmere velvet candy cane Right there with ya. They love a good gross-out body discovery, the more gelatinous goo the better (it's really bad that I'm desensitized to this, isn't it)

megco

@cashmere there was an episode of Monk like this except it was a wine tank at a vineyard in napa

itiresias

@Amphora probably not as bad as how i was like "righteous!" and pictured that zombie in the well on the farm on the walking dead

Amphora

@megco YES wasn't he a wine critic or something?

squishycat

@megco Also an episode of Bones, except it was a wine barrel in Virginia instead.

Dances With Nerds

@cashmere velvet candy cane Also in an episode of Psych, where it was a wine barrel in California.

TV writers are apparently beer people.

Petite Araignée

@cashmere velvet candy cane I share your OCD dislike for hotel rooms, but I happen to be a housekeeper in a hotel, and I can tell you that (if it's a decent hotel), the rooms are cleaned really well, and you don't have anything to worry about.
Also, in the article, the woman interviewed said that the shower water was BLACK at first. BLACK MEANS "DON'T DRINK THE WATER OR USE IT TO BATHE BECAUSE THERE IS SOMETHING DISGUSTING IN IT. GO TELL THE HOTEL WORKERS SO THEY CAN FIX THE PROBLEM. AHHH."

Ophelia

Pretty much, yep. I need to stop reading the internet today. This + Dear Prudence are really, truly skeeving me out.

Nicole Cliffe

The dog? The dog.

Judith Slutler

@Nicole Cliffe am I the only one who thought she gave way too flippant an answer to the army guy's boyfriend?

iceberg

@Nicole Cliffe the doooooog. nooooooooooooooo

Ophelia

@Nicole Cliffe Srsly. THE DOG. AND THE LINKED ARTICLES IN THE DOG ANSWER. (Ask someone who should not have clicked the links)

Nicole Cliffe

@Emmanuelle Cunt I came down pretty hard on army guy's boyfriend, personally, so I thought Prudie handled this one okay? But my great-uncle had this horrible reporter reduce him to tears (in his eighties) because he didn't want to talk about killing people in WWII and the woman kept pushing, so I think I projected a lot.

Judith Slutler

@Ophelia aaaaaaaaaaaaaa thank goodness I didn't notice the links

Judith Slutler

@Nicole Cliffe idk I feel like if I were an ex-sniper or soldier or marine or something, I'd probably avoid answering the question "So what did you do in the army?" with "If I told you, I'd have to kill you." ... honestly my feeling on it was just more "sounds like you two might be incompatible" than "suck it up, you don't have to care whether or not this guy has ended human lives."

iceberg

@Emmanuelle Cunt well yes, but he says in the letter nthat he found out they're *told* to say that? I dunno. I think Prudie's answer was pretty good, the boyfriend hasn't exhibited any worrying tendencies so maybe he just doesn't want to tlak about it?

Ophelia

@Emmanuelle Cunt Definitely do not click. Also, now I have fallen down a Slate/Gothamist rathole where I am angrily reading about the falling rates of pertussis vaccination, thinking about dog rape, and sloshing it all around in corpse water. Gaah.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@Emmanuelle Cunt Gallows humor? I don't know, it's hard to say without knowing the veteran, but maybe it's a part of his life that he just wants to put behind him, regardless of whether or not he did kill someone. I think it's especially difficult in this case because the military service was compulsory - killing someone is, hopefully, never easy, even if they are "the enemy," but people who enlist do so knowing that's part of the job. If he's otherwise a great guy who just doesn't want to talk about this thing and isn't threatening when he makes that joke, I think the LW should respect that.

narwhalsandwich

@Ophelia omg, the dog.

stuffisthings

@Ophelia I think we should carve this comment in stone in case the Internet disappears tomorrow and we have to explain it to future historians in one sentence.

Megasus

@stuffisthings The dog thing actually made me extremely upset and a little physically sick. OMG if I found out someone did that to my dog I would murder them. I can honestly say I would murder them.

Olivia2.0

@Ophelia I mean, thanks, I guess? Because now I had to go read that? But this " You are worried about the safety of your wife, his grandchildren, and PRESUMABLE YOUR DOG." DOES PRUDIE THINK THIS IS A LAUGHING MATTER????

Ophelia

@Olivia2.0 I think Prudie thinks most things are a laughing matter, unless you are drinking alcohol, in which case, this is most certainly not a laughing matter.

@stuffisthings Good plan.

Lu2
Lu2

@Nicole Cliffe I think Prudence handled the army-guy-boyfriend question well. IMO, it's really insensitive to press a military person on what they did or whether they've killed anyone. And if the answer is that important to him, maybe he shouldn't be in an intimate relationship with someone who probably has every right to withhold that information (whether his reasons are personal or professional). One important point, to me, is that whether or not the guy actually killed anyone, that's what he was trained and prepared to do and that's part of his career, so, as much as actually pulling that trigger is to us the "point of no return," the distinction might not be all that important to a military professional. (I'm talking more philosophically, not personally, there--it seems pretty obvious that actually having to kill someone is going to change you.)

Lily Rowan

@Lu2 Also, I would imagine most people who kill others in modern warfare don't do it by pulling a trigger -- they do it by dropping a bomb via computer or something.

Lu2
Lu2

@Lily Rowan Really? I don't see it that way at all.

Lily Rowan

@Lu2 I can just seeing it being a more complicated question, because I'm sure there are a lot of people in the military whose work kills people, but who never pull a trigger.

AmeliaBadelia

Worst news story ever. It makes me a little barfy

graffin

Ask a Person Who Just Googled 'Hotel Corpse Water' because of this post.

*throws up*

Amphora

@graffin "The water did have a funny taste..."

Ham Snadwich

@graffin - Ask a Person Who Drank Hotel Corpse Water and Now Has an Insatiable Desire for Human Flesh

Alli525

@graffin Ask a Person Who Just Googled "Hotel Corpse Water" Because of This Post and Also Because Her Boss Stayed in a Hotel in LA Last Night and Now She Is Having a Barfy Panic Attack Even Though He Didn't Stay at THAT Hotel.

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

JessicaLovejoy

I've given it some thought, and I would legit have to be hospitalized after the massive mental break I'd suffer if I'd been staying there. Full on Spencer Hastings fugue.

Nicole Cliffe

@JessicaLovejoy I told Edith that I would either kill myself or arrange to be frozen until we get the ability to Eternal Sunshine ourselves.

whizz_dumb

@Nicole Cliffe You win verb of the day!

Vera Knoop

@JessicaLovejoy Yes. The man who said of himself and his wife (with British understatement) "having drank the water, we're not well mentally" says it all, really. I would not be ok. I'm not even sure I can eat my leftover chicken soup tonight, honestly.

stuffisthings

Just in time for the training I'm putting together at work on How To Write an Internet-Friendly Lede!

cei-face

Not sure about the health risks, the article says. UH, SORRY, THIS ISN'T HUMAN KOMBUCHA.

sox
sox

@cei-face No, you. No no nooo! Ahhhh why am I reading this comment thread? It's 11:45 mountain time, aka almost time for lunch. Sox remove yourself from here immediately! *clicks over to design sponge*

Ophelia

@cei-face "The disclosure contradicts a previous police statement that the water was deemed safe." Probably the most terrifying sentence in the entire article.

lisma

@cei-face human kombucha noooooo. why am I reading this post as I'm eating my lunch???

Blondsak

I don't understand why the media is making such a big deal about her "bizarre behavior" in the elevator tape? All I see it that the elevator won't move, so she logically:

1) ducked her head in and out to see if someone was standing there waiting, but did it quickly in case the doors closed

2) hit all the buttons in the hopes that would get the elevator moving

3) tried to make motions out of the elevator, not sure if it had motion detectors that signaled it to close

unless I'm missing something?

JessicaLovejoy

@Blondsak A lot of it comes from context (creepier in hindsight) some of it IS weird. Her extended animated gesture session where she seems to be talking to someone off camera is disconcerting. Her movements seem a bit...unnatural?

barbara millicent roberts

@JessicaLovejoy, and when she hides in the corner!

Blondsak

@JessicaLovejoy @barbara millicent roberts Good points. The extended gesture session is a bit odd, though I do think it could simply be out of frustration. And the hiding in a corner could be her making double-certain any motion detectors don't think she is in the doorway at all. But who knows I guess?

stonefruit

JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH.

Quinn A@twitter

Am I the only one who would have liked that article to have focused a little more on Elisa and a little less on hotel guests who are still alive and well? I mean, yes, that's a disturbing experience, but the article could almost be read as "woman of colour is murdered, inconveniences hotel guests".

Vera Knoop

@Quinn A@twitter
The investigation is still happening. My impression is that they still have no idea what happened, and having laid out what is known, there wasn't really a point in speculating. Also, people aren't just being childishly squeamish here: dead bodies in the water supply can cause potentially deadly diseases.

MoxyCrimeFighter

@Quinn A@twitter I'm hoping it's the journalistic equivalent of getting the squickies out, and later pieces will be able to take a more reasoned, thoughtful approach to the person died, not the circumstances in which her body was discovered.

The Lady of Shalott

@Quinn A@twitter I am really dismayed to see the amount of press in the US which is "DEAD WOMAN IN WATER TANK, GUESTS DISGUSTED" and less "Woman brutally murdered and disposed of in water tank."

So no. It's horrifying.

Ophelia

@MoxyCrimeFighter Yeah...as a perpetrator of gallows humor (see above), I think it's partly that this is so horrifying, I'm having an easier time focusing on the squickiness than the actual, awful murder. But a reminder that Elisa was a real, living person is most definitely a good thing for us all.

alicke

@Quinn A@twitter arguably, this case has been all over the news in socal (and, i imagine, her hometown of i think vancouver) ever since her disappearance. the corpse-in-the-water deal is a very recent development, and much more shocking news (and thus national), sadly, than a missing person/ongoing possible murder investigation.

Quinn A@twitter

@alicke Fair enough, but I still don't think it would have hurt to have given a few details about Elisa. I just imagine how it would feel if someone found my friend or my sister's body and the news coverage that day was all "ew, the water ran black and tasted funny!" rather than being even a little bit about her. :/

fabel

@Quinn A@twitter You are not alone! I've been reading about this literally all day & can't believe the main focus is on the guests.

alicke

@Quinn A@twitter i hear you. here's a little bit more about her: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/02/missing-canadian-tourist-elisa-lam.html i also recall reading something that said she suffered from mild depression. i wonder how much of the limited info on her is due to privacy for her family, though. and yeah--new definitely gets around on shock tactics much more than sympathy :/

Euphonica Jarre

@The Lady of Shalott A solid week of hearing Reeva Steenkamp reduced to "Oscar Pistorius' Model Girlfriend," and now we have "Hotel Water Corpse (Elisa Lam.)" It's just, I can't fucking.

lululemming

The level of self-insertion on this site is really off-putting. How does this affect meeeeeeeeeeeeeee? Honestly, that girl is someone's daughter and the response above here is pretty sickening.

iceberg

@lululemming as much as i disagree with your first sentence, I want to thank you for the sobering reminder of your second sentence. A heartbreaking situation for her family.

stonefruit

@lululemming agree with @iceberg - that is a very solid point. That poor woman and her poor family. What a nightmare.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@lululemming There should always be a spot in the forefront of our minds and hearts for the victim and her family, but the day people stop being horrified by things like this and voicing said horror is the day I will move to the wilderness and survive on the kindness of plants and animals.

Amphora

@lululemming How about the It Could Happen To You aspect? Can you seriously read that story and not imagine yourself turning on a shower and the water coming out black?

lululemming

@Amphora I understand, but I just wonder if a joke about floating, or "ew, gross" or, "man, now I can't look at the Internet today!" is really the most compassionate response to someone's baby girl dying a horrific death. I get the revulsion at the thought of it, I truly do, but maybe that's a thought best left unvoiced on a blog. Perhaps I imagine that, in an ideal world, we put aside our own need to have every thought and emotion heard and understood, to be the centre of every event , and instead be silent for a moment and just feel compassion and sorrow for another human being's loss and suffering. Recognize something outside of ourselves. Perhaps the Way of the Internet Of Today means no thought goes unvoiced in the name of self actualization and the imperative of self-fulfillment, and I'm just too old for this site. I think it's the latter. I'll show myself out.

iceberg

@lululemming I mean I understand that reaction to this article but that you think the whole Hairpin is that way... just baffles me. I would say the Hairpin is hugely responsible for making me a MUCH nicer person who is able to think outside of herself much more easily these days. not invalidating your experience, just curious I guess as to why it's so different from mine.

stuffisthings

@lululemming Don't be so "The Way We _____ Now Because the Internet," people have read and made dark, inappropriate jokes about other people's gross, horrifying, or weird deaths literally since the invention of writing, and have probably done so since humans acquired the capability of speech.

Not saying it's right but, seriously. This comment reads as if you weren't even alive before the Internet was invented (yet somehow assume that it must have Changed Everything.)

lululemming

@iceberg You're right. There's a lot of great suff on this site. I just sometimes get annoyed that many responses to stories or comments don't demonstrate listening and understanding, but rather a pathological urge to make the story/ topic about oneself . I know that's the beginning of how empathy works, but not every emotion needs or requires filtering through the prism of one's own experience. Which, I guess, brings me to @stuffisthings-- you're right, in a way. Gallows humour has been around forever (and I've made a few off-colour remarks myself in my day to be sure). My objection is more the framing of the entire event as something terrible that happened to the consumers of the news. I'd be more inclined to forgive an extremely dark joke, but "this really sucks... for me " I think is a response emblematic of a culture that is more permissive and encouraging of self-absorption than was either present or voiced prior to the era of blogging and tweeting everything.

Nicole Cliffe

I think this is an important discussion to be having. I also set the tone for "eww" responses to the story by the nature of my post. If I'd said "this poor woman and her terrifying final moments," people would have responded differently. Which is not to say that either reaction is unacceptable, just that it's perfectly normal for a) us to shrink away from horror in this fashion, and b) feel chastened when we step back from it.

stuffisthings

@lululemming Upton Sinclair strongly disagrees with you (though I do share your sentiment to reflexively scold people for being privileged jerks.)

Miss Maszkerádi

@lululemming No, it's not compassionate at all. We know that. The gallows humor, the sick jokes, the bellows of EW GROSS - nobody's thinking it makes them a saint to do this. We do it because this is so fucking awful that our brains partially shut down in self-preservation and then we end up sounding sort of tactless and cold.

MoxyCrimeFighter

There's at least one J-horror movie with remarkable similarities to this story. So...there's that to think about.

Megasus

@MoxyCrimeFighter Ummm I think it's called Dark Water or something? Baaaasically this exact thing.

hallelujah

The surveillance video. OH GOD THE SURVEILLANCE VIDEO. So utterly terrifying. D: forever.

cashmere velvet candy cane

Okay, I've watched the video and now and, man. This poor girl. Also, I REALLY want to know what happened here. The police haven't declared it to be a murder yet, but that seems like the most likely option, right?

MoxyCrimeFighter

@cashmere velvet candy cane I haven't been able to watch the video, but I'm definitely getting vibe from the coverage that people are thinking she was mentally ill in some way, which...I guess complicates the investigation? To not be sure whether this was an accident that befell a sick person, or murder, or maybe foul play that was more possible because as a mentally ill person, she was especially vulnerable. But man. Either way, terrifying.

itiresias

@cashmere velvet candy cane eesh, right? so many questions from that thing. the step out-step in-step out-to the left routine is the craziest, as dumb as that sounds

Megasus

So this girl was murdered right? Like, there's no way she wasn't murdered.

Olivia2.0

@Megano! There is some entirely too creepy hotel surveillance footage of her acting sorta weird/nuts/maybe just fooling around....and the cistern was only accessible by a ladder. Not impossible, but, pretty difficult.

Megasus

@Olivia2.0 Has that video actually been released? I read about it this morning and it sounds like maybe she was trying to run away from someone or was like making sure she wasn't being followed or something.

Megasus

@itiresias SO CREEPY. It looks like she was either high out of her mind or someone was following her, or both. WILLIES FOREVER.

fabel

WILLIES FOREVER<--- yes, definitely.

I don't understand some of the comments on other news sites saying she was dancing or fooling around. She looks either panicked or drugged or episodic.

Blondsak

@fabel See my comments above. I watched the video and if you take away the context of her murder, it's nothing less than what I've done trying to get an elevator to move. But I've also lived in many crappy apartments with even crappier elevators, so...

rayray

@Blondsak She does push several buttons the first time she gets in the elevator though?

Megasus

@Blondsak You do the CREEPIEST DANCE EVER FOR LIKE TWO MINUTES instead of just hitting the stairs?

Blondsak

@Megano! I guess I'm just weird? I don't know what to tell you guys. I've been in that situation like 10 times before (again, crappy apartments with crappy elevators) and I have tried all those things (including bizarro dancing/hopping in the hopes the motion detector would turn on/off, no joke). I just don't see the creepy factor that everyone else is seeing.

kinbarichan

@fabel: Before I saw the video, I absolutely assumed that Elisa Lam was murdered - but the video brought up so many questions. Why did she push all the floor buttons as soon as she got in? Her demeanor seemed more playful/prankish than it did worried or concerned. And the hand gestures... They looked, as you said, more episodic than conversational. And most of all WHY DIDN'T THE DOOR CLOSE? Did she have the 'door open' button pressed? Was the sensor not working? Is the elevator haunted?
My ideas of what happened to poor Elisa changed from moment to moment while watching the video, and I have to admit that watching the longer video where the door finally closes after three minutes of being open and Elisa is long gone... Maybe the hotel is haunted. Maybe...

Megasus

@kinbarichan But the door doesn't just close, it actually starts going up floors.

kinbarichan

@Megano! I know! The floors of the buttons Elisa pushed before she got off the elevator.
There've been a couple of people on this thread complaining about the disrespectful nature of the comments, so I'm scared to go too much into haunted-hotel mode - someone might feel the need to give me a scolding.

kinbarichan

@Megano! I know! The floors that Elisa Lam pressed! And there's this creepy person-shaped shadow in the elevator (or at least I see one). But I don't want to talk too much about haunted-elevator theory because someone might feel the need to shame me for my irreverence.

coolallison

@kinbarichan Seriously. I've never seen an elevator door stay open that long.

Olivia2.0

@kinbarichan It skips time too, near the end. It is horrifying in light of what's happened.

kinbarichan

@kinbarichan (@everyone for this) Sorry! I double-posted when my first post didn't show up...

Briony Fields

nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope

Princess Slaya

Everything is all wrong today.

Ialdagorth

Oh god first of all, this poor woman and her family.

Secondly (of all) having watched the video and looked at pictures off the cistern all I can say WAT. The only way to get to it is this little ladder, and allegedly the door to the roof is locked and only some employees have the key. So someone (perhaps someone who had the key, and knew there were no cameras on the roof) would have had to take her up there, carry her up that small ladder and put her into the also small opening in the cistern. It was small enough they had to cut the tank open to get her out, so it's not a big opening. Then again I think she was a small lady. :(

Her behavior in the video makes me think she was being followed, or someone was bothering her and she was trying to get away without making it too obvious she was doing so (initially). Yeah her behavior looks pretty weird and possibly drugged/psychotic later on in the video but when you feel like you're in mortal danger, you do really strange panicky shit.

Then again, there's nothing saying she couldn't have been drugged and/or having a psychotic episode and still have been murdered.

IT IS THAT OR GHOSTS. Because seriously.

Mira

@Ialdagorth That video is the creepiest thing I've ever seen. Poor woman.

Ialdagorth

@Mira Yeah it is. Because you're either seeing someone trying to escape and terrified, or freaking out due to mental illness or drugs and terrified. Someone who ends up in a bad way. It's a little too real.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Ialdagorth I'm confused about a lot of things in this case, obviously, but one of the things that stands out is the elevator. Why isn't it moving? She pushes a lot of buttons, but it doesn't work.

Ialdagorth

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Someone's holding the door open button on the outside (as someone below me hypothesized - and that is who she is interacting with) or someone has some kind of master control of the elevator in some other way, and isn't letting it shut. That'd be my guess.

Ialdagorth

@Ialdagorth I don't know enough about hotel elevators really to say if that's even possible - like an exterior control. Heck maybe it just malfunctioned.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Ialdagorth Those are the reasons I am afraid of. It didn't look like it was malfunctioning, because after she left it continued down (or up, I can't tell) two floors, no problem.

Ialdagorth

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Yeah me neither. Basically once she's out, it waits the normalish amount of time, and closes. Like...well, fucking ghosts. Or someone controlling it somehow. I know someone who worked in a secure facility and the security room people could manipulate the elevators, but that'd be from the control or security room in that case. I have nooo idea.

fabel

Okay, so all I've been doing today is reading about this & it seriously gives me chills. Just watching that video is the creepiest thing ever, but then all the speculations about what happened are just making me want to crawl under my desk. Can I please unload all of this on you guys? Yes? Okay, cool.

Most Horrifying Theory I've Read: someone was following her down the hall, which is why she presses all the buttons when getting on the elevator (so they don't know which floor she's trying to go to) However, the person is waiting outside, holding the call button so that the elevator never closes. She peers out, & then this person makes threats or something, and when she's outside wringing her hands, she is actually pleading with them. Finally, she just goes (you can see her hands are above her head as she walks away)

fabel

(of course, not saying this is likely, but it did freak me the FUCK OUT)

tentacle party

Look, this was a real girl, with real friends and acquaintances, SOME OF WHICH PROBABLY READ THIS BLOG AND IT'S AFFILIATES. This is in really poor taste. It wasn't an episode of CSI, it was something that happened to a real person and maybe y'all could be a little less flippant. I don't seem to recall any respectful posts about this, and maybe it's just because of the mental illness thing but I don't really find it hilarious or fun to speculate on how a young girl died.

Time to get off the internet, obviously.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@tentacle party I find that I can be simultaneously horrified by a young girl's death and flummoxed by how it could have happened, given the information presented. I don't think that's disrespectful.

The Lady of Shalott

@tentacle party I am also really, really, really disappointed in this. This is a real, live woman, a 21-year-old university student who talked to her family every day and took public transportation and was visiting California. This is not TV, this is not something out of a novel, this is real fucking life and this is a real girl who died a horrible death.

I am really dismayed to see the reaction. I really expected the Hairpin would not be quite so focused on the EWWWW GROOOOOSS aspect so much as the fact that this girl died an awful, lonely death.

fabel

@tentacle party I don't think anyone is having "fun" speculating---it's kind of natural, given the unusual circumstances.

I do agree that focusing on the "gross" aspect is in poor taste, though.

rayray

You guyyyysss: The Cecil Hotel was built in the 1920s and refurbished several years ago. It had once been the occasional home of serial killers such as Richard Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker, and Austrian prison author Jack Unterweger, who was convicted of murdering nine prostitutes in Europe and the US. (from The Guardian)

Miss Maszkerádi

Putting on my flameproof Internet armor and putting out a few words in defense of the "insensitive" reaction. Speaking for myself, my brain and psyche simply will not let me get past the lurid, bad-cop-show details and the EWW factor. I try to be a good compassionate person and think about Elisa Lam as an individual and her individual experience of whatever happened to her, and my brain just goes NOPE NOPE NOPE SHUT IT DOWN.
To everyone saying, as if we don't know, that Ms. Lam was a real live woman, with friends and family, someone's baby girl, someone's best friend - ok, so you want me to spend time imagining that this has happened to my best friend so I can get compassion points? I would be literally incapacitated by that, probably screaming uncontrollably, unable to eat or sleep for days. It did happen to me once recently that my mental-self-defense mechanism failed after I read a fairly ordinary medical article about sudden unexpected heart attacks - the horrid idea just grew and grew and eventually I was literally hyperventilating and almost passing out on the street as I was attacked by incredibly vivid images, almost hallucinations, of my best friend at the time dying. I felt unhealthy and shaky for three days. Am I supposed to do that to myself? Am I, are we in general, supposed to incapacitate myself and put my life on hold in the name of compassion, every time something bad happens?

Another thing is - I didn't know Elisa. So far nobody who has commented here knew Elisa. It's all well and good to be horrified by something horrid happening to an innocent person, but some of the comments along the lines of "she was a person with hobbies and friends and favorite movies" etc., while obviously extremely well-intentioned - do we have the right to talk about Elisa like we knew her? Almost as if we're creating some idealized Elisa in our minds in order to properly mourn her as an individual - but that's not the real Elisa, no? Maybe we should let those who actually knew and loved her do the grieving and the mourning and the remembering?

TL:DR - people come across like assholes in reactions to a tragedy usually not because they're bad people, but because they can't quite bear to look the entire beast right in the eye and defense mechanisms/mental survival instincts kick in. I'm not sure it makes us any better morally TO destroy ourselves with compassion and horror at every opportunity. Also, if someone can't find the emotional strength to bitterly mourn a stranger, that shouldn't necessarily be held against them.

Many apologies if I've offended anyone, and apologies for the ranty tone. (I gave up coffee for Lent and am exceedingly cranky while still in caffeine withdrawal.....)

kinbarichan

@Countess Maritza: I love what you said.
I wasn't expecting people to post such sharp rebukes to everyone who was commenting on the idea of drinking water contaminated by a corpse - of course Eliza Lam's death was a tragedy no matter how it happened, but the fear of contamination, of drinking water that has literally been polluted by the dead runs so deep within the human psyche that... I dunno. We're not allowed to talk about it? We're only allowed to talk about it if we talk in a certain, sanctioned way?

I think that if you're looking at basic human psychology, fear of contamination outranks reverence for the dead. That's why there's an urban legend of Admiral Nelson being entombed in brandy, which is then tapped and drunk by unsuspecting Londoners. That's why bodies are buried quickly after natural disasters, because nobody wants to get cholera. And that's why we talk about what happened to Elisa Lam, because we're not trading bon mots, we're talking from a place of deep dread that pervades all mankind, and I don't think that we need to apologize for that.

Miss Maszkerádi

@kinbarichan I'd never heard that legend about Admiral Nelson and as I read it I actually yelled "YIKES! EWW!" and flailed my arms around as if I were trying to ward off a swarm of plague-carrying...brandy glasses with wings, I guess. So point proved? :P

lululemming

@Countess Maritza I get all this, honestly I do. I guess what I'm saying is I'd hoped we could all aspire to shutting the fuck up about how a stranger's untimely and gruesome death has inconvenienced us, no matter if its in our nature to view it that way.. Sorry that's so taciturn. I really do think I understand what you mean, and I don't discount it, I just don't think every thought that pops into our heads bears vomiting out on the Internet. Anyways, I appreciate your remainng civil.

lululemming

@lululemming Notwithstanding, of course, the hypocrisy I've demonstrated here by turning this into an ethics discussion.

Miss Maszkerádi

@lululemming I don't really get the sense that people are talking about this "inconveniencing" them, they're talking about being viscerally horrified and disgusted on a supremely primal level. I don't think that necessarily needs to be silenced. And I agree with you that "not everything that comes into our heads is worthy of being vomited out on the internet" - but this doesn't strike me as word vomit, it's discussion about front page news.

Scandyhoovian

@Countess Maritza I agree with your whole rant. I feel like I've been reading the Hairpin for ages and I have never in my life felt like we as a comments community are anything but kind, respectful, intelligent people who will engage a debate respectfully. Sure, we love to joke here, but when there's a serious issue to be discussed we do it civilly.

I understand that in situations of extreme disgust and shock people can say things that seem insensitive or even flippant, but as has already been stated here, that's a defense mechanism, and I don't think it's right or fair people to try to shame other people for posting their own legitimate reactions to a story. All of us here are experiencing our own emotions and processing this story in our own way and that's part of what I like so much about this community, that the comments of "oh my god the water" and the comments of "oh my god that poor girl" can all be found together. We're all going to process the information differently but because we are all comfortable enough putting our reactions here in the comments we are able to see the whole gamut of reactions that people can and do experience when faced with stories like this.

This is getting long but I guess what I'm getting at is so long as people aren't personally attacking each other and crossing the lines of civility with one another I don't think it's fair to say that one reaction is better or more appropriate than another, and when we DO try to police that kind of a thing it makes people uncomfortable and less likely to post what they're really thinking. Which is really what's been bothering me since these discussions really started.

sox
sox

Okay, now that I'm home from work and have read a few more articles on all that has happened - what a baffling and inexplicable story. At any rate, I read that the hotel told guests that if they had pre-paid for their rooms, they would not be reimbursed for checking out early to stay at a different hotel. But they also had to sign a waiver in order to stay. While this seems very clearly immoral to me, it also seems like it shouldn't be legal. Like, how did LAPD/health dept not close the whole hotel down since they can't have running water?!

And also, in total speculation, given all of the strange details such as the locked roof door, ladder required to get to top of cistern, elevator stuff, and what sounds sort of flippant from the hotel management...gotta wonder if someone from the hotel is involved.

Uncommon Hussy

Guys why did I read this I am staying in a hotel and drinking water RIGHT NOW :(

FoxyRoxy

I read about this last night and... it's a lot.

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