I watch a show that comes on TLC (I believe) called “Taboo.” It tells the life stories of men and women here and elsewhere in the world that choose “eccentric” life paths. Today’s episode featured a woman who wanted to become a parapelegic. Her legs and arms are fully functioning, but she is convinced that to lose the ability to use her legs and arms would make her feel more “complete.”

Another episode I’ve seen featured that story of men and women who wanted to live their lives as infants. It’s strange. But that’s what taboos are, right? They are strange and test or “sensibilities” of what is normal, desired, usual human behavior.

I enjoy watching this show, usually because it reminds me that so much of who we are is based upon a set of implicit assumptions of who we should be. It’s assumed that men and women of similar ages should marry, so when a woman marries a man 20 years her junior, it’s odd. It’s assumed that if you have legs and arms you will be thankful for your legs and arms and will use your legs and arms like “normal” functioning human beings. So when you have functioning legs and arms and don’t want them, it’s strange.

But there are some people, you realize in watching this show, who do these things. There are some people who are “different.” They’re different is not like the kind of different that we can easily marginalize as “other.” It’s really different. And that’s kind of fascinating to me.


Have you seen the show “Taboo”? What do you think of it?

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