What is it about absurdly daring things that transfix us? Walking a tightrope with a drop that would kill. There is nothing that can be gained from it. It does not further the human cause. It is something negative. Yet still I feel compelled to watch such people tweak the nose of danger. Sometimes danger bites back.
I think the observer gambles that the walker will not fall, but we watch in case he does. When this happens we recoil and think, 'Good God!' or other such things.
What of the daredevil who is compelled to try such things? What goes on in their mind? I can't stand heights and this is what I think draws me to watch. There is absolutely no way upon Earth, I would ever want to do such a thing, yet I'm drawn to watch someone try.
I remember watching Evel Knievel as a kid jumping the buses on a motorbike. I thought it was great, but I've never entertained the idea of trying it myself. Why do I watch such things. The Isle of Man TT motorbike racing is something else too. All these life threatening things and I get an adrenalin rush watching it. Why?
The other day I bought a DVD about a Frenchman who tightrope walked the Twin Towers back in the 70s. He sneaked in the equipment and secretly rigged the wire between both towers and then began his walk while police got to the top on both building waiting to arrest him. I found the documentary movie gripping and I still keep asking myself why? There is no way I would do it. I thought the walker was a total fruit loop, yet I was compelled to watch.