4. Bob Flanagan
Bob Flanagan was an American writer, poet, performance artistic and comic, who was born in 1952. Flannagan used his pain and struggle with cystic fibrosis as an object for his work. His sadomasochistic performances were based on his battle against the disease, although he was at the time, one of the longest-living survivors of cystic fibrosis. He died at the age of 43, in 1996, 17 years after the death of his older sister, Patricia, who was 21 when she succumbed to CF. Flanagan’s first of five books was published in 1978 and titled “The Kid is a Man.” He was also the protagonist of the 1997 documentary film “Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist,” which was directed by Kirby Dick.
One of his most famous mottos was “fight sickness with sickness.” Therefore, he explored sexual taboos in his work and was open about his sadomasochist relationship with wife Sheree Rose. “Why? Because it feels good. Because it gives me an erection,” he says in the video “Why“, written in 1985. “Because I’m sick, because there is so much sickness. Because I was alone a lot, because I was different, because kids beat me up on the way to school,” he continues in a parallel between his life choices and the struggles he faced due to cystic fibrosis.
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