July 21, 2011

Premiering in a few months is a film entitled Dolphin Tale. It is the story of the only known instance of this animal having lost its entire tailfin and surviving to “beat the odds.” A small boy is involved, two parents are brought together through adversity, and a gaggle of the assorted injured are thrown in for good measure. (Ahem.)

Such is the state of art in the Western World.

While witnessing a publicity plug for this newest entry into the pantheon of pathos, a euphemism was employed which is somewhat recent—“special needs.” This is the heir apparent to “differently abled,” who was ceded the rein from “disabled,” who violently overthrew “handicapped,” all of which occurred during the times known as the “Handi-Capable Period of Internecine Secession.”

We live in the Golden Age of Simpering, and it is depressing not only for those who find these maladies to be their lot in life, but much more so in the sense that one’s degree of suffering is now the benchmark of all societal admiration and emulation.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the artistic fields.

“The West is dying, and it is because it loves to be sick.”

A recent rundown of the New York Times list of best sellers includes many examples of “overcoming” and “empowering.” In Miles to Go, a man has lost his wife and business…and a violent encounter has taken his ability to walk. Then there is Cutting for Stone, wherein Siamese twins are separated against war-torn Ethiopia’s backdrop. (Seriously.) Many more are of the sort. It is an even bet whether one could locate a hospice with as many tales of woe betwixt its sheets as between these covers.

It is impossible for a balanced psyche to watch so much as fifteen minutes of television. Every quarter-hour is a commercial for a “Center of America” that houses every malady, advertisements of pharmaceuticals treating the most wretched conditions, and enough dying children for the normal human being to question whether there are any healthy children anywhere in this country at all.

Films which feature people in affliction are equally legion.

Among recent timeless classics was 127 Hours, which recounted a reckless youth forced to amputate his own arm. Another charming entry of beauty and grace was Soul Surfer, with a teenager who enjoys riding the waves but has herself mutilated by a shark.

Exiting the theater or gallery will do little good. You will be overrun in the street. Already there are so many “walks for” that one wishes these armies of empathetics would stomp off the nearest cliff in their entirety. Despite the fact that these “charitable” businesses reap the wages of weakness into the hundreds of millions of dollars, they yet have the audacity to state they are organized to “raise awareness.” Is there a single American of any age not aware of “autism”? Can any escape the relentless onslaught of pink everything, down even to NFL players’ shoes, to constantly “remind” us? Is it possible to live a day in the West without hearing of dying in it?


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