Monday, December 15, 2014

Quote of the Day

Eric Puchner, in his article "Death Becomes Him":
Americans don’t like to talk about the inevitable: Our screens are filled with zombies, and yet speaking frankly about death is seen as “morbid” or “unhealthy.” Surely the recent Ebola panic is a product of this repression, a way of turning our own mortality into a foreign threat, an illegal immigrant landing on our shores. Death is embarrassing to us, even a bit unpatriotic. I’ve discovered this about my own fear of extinction. When I bring it up, people tend to shift in their chairs, as if holding in a fart. A look of impatience crosses their faces. Just as often, too, they can’t understand what the hell I’m talking about.
In addition to the substantive content of the article, in which the author accompanies a mortician on his day-to-day activities, I was drawn to the paradox in this quote.

We do seem to be a nation of contradictions.

Death is glorified and ever-present in our media, even as its inevitability is, in many, psychologically denied. Bullying is widely denounced in the wake of suicides and mass shootings even as any serious measures to address it are then later bemoaned as "political correctness gone awry." Women are pedestalized, and also terrorized and targeted online.  The troops are supported unless something more for them has to be done than stamping yellow ribbons on our cars.

I realize that even talking about these issues in a passive-voice sort of way is simplistic. The same people who do A aren't necessarily the same people who do B.

It seems, mostly, that the dominant, patriotic, (mostly) conservative narratives are not adequately aligned with reality. (I know, NEWSFLASH!)

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