debbie millman

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

See Jane Die

upsetting and creepy and bad

The blog 90 Day Jane is written by a woman recording her thoughts as she counts down the days until she commits suicide. She started the blog 7 days ago; thus she has 83 days left until she kicks the bucket.

I read about this on the Video Web Report. According to writer Sergio Ibarra, "she (claims she) has already caught the eye of a “HUGE” network that wants to talk to her “very soon.” Given the success of viral marketing campaigns, many doubt the legitimacy of Jane’s claims and expect the whole scheme to be a girl’s three-month attempt at her own 15 minutes of fame."

In any case, I find the whole thing repugnant. I don't think this is "genius" or "brilliant" or the "ultimate in performance art," as some have suggested, as I don't think this qualifies as art. I don't care that she is an atheist (and therefore feels that life has no great purpose) and I don't care that she is or isn't depressed. I do care that she has such a bitter disregard for living and such blatant disrespect of dying. As far as I am concerned, this is irrefutable proof that civilization is indeed doomed.

UPDATE: 90 Day Jane lasts only 7 days
Blogger and YouTube have both pulled her content. In the week it has been on the internet, 90 Day Jane garnered thousands of comments to her blog, over 2,000 links on Google and allegedly a "huge" offer from a television network.

I am left wondering why this type of antic/behavior/initiative provoked such intense feelings, and I was reminded of the reaction that both Shirley Jackson and The New Yorker received after the 1948 publication of her short story The Lottery. In Private Demons, Shirley Jackson's biographer, Judy Oppenheimer, wrote, "Nothing in the magazine before or since would provoke such a huge outpouring of fury, horror, rage, disgust and intense fascination."

Humans have always been oddly captivated with public displays of death or mutilation, whether it be art or journalism. Let's hope that this display will end up simply another footnote in the annals of Web 2.0.


Blogger Mary Campbell said...

wow. that is unbelievable. I wonder if our morbid preoccupation with death has something to do with our apparent inability to deal with it honestly. We prolong it, we deny it we fantasize about it, we repress it..we do everything but really deal with it. Perhaps, foolishly, some people feel that observing this woman's self-destructive decline will alleviate their anxiety around their own mortality. Or, perhaps, we have become such a twisted, voyeuristic society that this is simply an "upping of the ante" on what entertains us. Either way, this is unbelievably disturbing.

2/13/2008 07:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Jennic said...

It's disturbing to say the least. And I agree that this simply cannot be remotely linked as art.

2/14/2008 01:33:00 AM  
Blogger Tania Rochelle said...

Dang it! I hate it when I have to take issue with someone I respect so much.

We're no more doomed than we ever were. We were doomed from the start, each of us. So we do the best we can, love the best that we can while we're here and for as long as this planet will have us. Man has always been fascinated by blood and death.

This gal looks a mental case. Probably can't help herself.

2/14/2008 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger debbie millman said...

you are awesome, tania. thanks for the perspective.

btw--i am coming to pc in july!!! dinner? drinks? both?

2/14/2008 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger Tania Rochelle said...

There might even be dancing.

2/14/2008 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger debbie millman said...

don't you dare tease me woman, you know i love dancing.

: )

2/14/2008 10:28:00 PM  

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Location: new york city, United States

Debbie Millman has worked in the design business for over 25 years. She is President of the design division at Sterling Brands. She has been there for nearly 15 years and in that time she has worked on the redesign of global brands for Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Campbell’s, Colgate, Nestle and Hasbro. Prior to Sterling, she was a Senior Vice President at Interbrand and a Marketing Director at Frankfurt Balkind. Debbie is President of the AIGA, the largest professional association for design. She is a contributing editor at Print Magazine, a design writer at and Brand New and Chair of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. In 2005, she began hosting the first weekly radio talk show about design on the Internet. The show is titled “Design Matters with Debbie Millman” and it is now featured on In addition to “Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design,” (HOW Books, 2009, she is the author of "How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer" (Allworth Press, 2007) and “The Essential Principles of Graphic Design” (Rotovision, 2008).

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