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Leigh Cowart in Conversation With Jess Zimmerman
September 22, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pmFree
Masochism is sexy, human, reviled, worshipped, and can be delightfully bizarre. Deliberate and consensual pain has been with us for millennia, encompassing everyone from Black Plague flagellants to ballerinas dancing on broken bones to competitive eaters choking down hot peppers while they cry. Masochism is a part of us. It lives inside workaholics, tattoo enthusiasts, and all manner of garden variety pain-seekers. At its core, masochism is about feeling bad, then better — a phenomenon that is long overdue for a heartfelt and hilarious investigation. And Leigh Cowart would know: they are not just a researcher and science writer — they’re an inveterate, high-sensation-seeking masochist. And they have a few questions: Why do people engage in masochism? What are the benefits and the costs? And what does masochism have to say about the human experience? By participating in many of these activities themselves, and through conversations with psychologists, fellow scientists, and people who seek pain for pleasure, Cowart unveils how our minds and bodies find meaning and relief in pain — a quirk in our programming that drives discipline and innovation even as it threatens to swallow us whole. Cowart’s Hurts So Good (PublicAffairs) is an exploration of why people all over the world love to engage in pain on purpose. Cowart will be joined in conversation by Jess Zimmerman, editor at Quirk Books and the author of Women and Other Monsters.