22 March, 2005

Life Irritates Art: Feed Tubing Million Dollar Baby / Congressional Guardians, Kubler Ross from beyond the grave + more

Million Voter Baby

I'm not one to make much of pure coincidences, but if nothing else, this blog should exist to make something of vague resemblances. A couple of weeks ago the AMPAS, whose membership rests in a shadowy procedure of professional entitlement, voted to acclaim Million Dollar Baby a film which gives a poor justification for assisted suicide for a frustrated quadraplegic. This weekend the United States Congress, whose membership rests on a mandate carefully masking a shadowy system of entitlement, voted to trample on the right of choice of an individual, her husband, and the courts that tried to protect their decision to cease artificial life support for the individual in a persistent vegetative state.

Hilary Swank's character in the film is paralyzed but consciously desires death because 1) now she can never be the women's boxing champion, and she doesn't want to go through life with Clint Eastwood's trainer character saying "see, I told you, you were too old to do this" 2) she had no life to begin with 3) she would have to spend time with her poorly written white trash family. Para/Quadra and perhaps the lesser known Uni and Tri-plegic support and rights groups were upset, as if the film was suggesting enforced euthanasia for anyone with less than full mobility. As nothing in the film even vaguely resembled reality down to the spotlessly clean, yet strangely unstaffed hospital (was the whole extras budget blown on the fight scenes?), they really shouldn't have kicked up a fuss (nor had their physios manuever their limbs into fuss elevating mode).

The supporters of assisted suicide also got queasy. Hilary's desire for suicide is in the midst of her depressed anguish over her condition. Clint wants to honor her desire to join the family dog in the boneyard, despite the fact that she hasn't had much in the way of counselling. Also, Clint doesn't video-tape the last rites and Hilary's assent to it, the kind of snuff home vids that many think proves the sound-mindedness of all involved, look, if we thought we were doing anything wrong we wouldn't be creating this evidence. These people don't seem to contemplate the implications should their private tape be leaked to the internet, or "America's funniest death-beds". Not to mention the inevitable, "you taped 'the O.C.' over your mother's passing?!?!"

Given that Hilary's popsicled boxer ostensibly has celebrity status, her meteoric rise in the ever popular realm of women's boxing, her public, or at least international pay-per-view tragedy, she could have a great life. All the talk shows will want her, she'll be invited to Neverland, perhaps she could date that nice Professor Hawking.

While a film the AMPAS honored for its poorly conceived defence of a right to die, Congress gives horrible credence to a disastrously ill conceived notion of preserving life. Opting to prolong the suffering of a family split between those who can come to terms with their tragedy, and those who want to hold onto some strange hope. If these people believe in God and the sanctity of life, why can't they trust God to cure or end suffering?

Culture of Life = Cult of Death

What is this "Culture of Life" stuff, it sounds like something you'd find in a petri dish. But no, its another inelegant attempt to win a rhetorical war by coining the language of the argument. To oppose the "culture of life" surely is to worship the cult of death, follow the evil one to Morrrrdorrr, or something to that effect. Did the moody pseudo philisophical musing of 70's soft rock have no effect on these people, don't they know they are only dust in the wind, that they shouldn't fear the reaper, that you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave?

Kubler Ross speaks from beyond the grave

Apparently there are now some new stages to death. In addition to Denial (this isn't happening!), Anger (why is this happening?), Bargaining (I'll be better...), Depression (who cares?), Acceptance (I'm ready) we now have Executive (you aren't ready), Judiciary (stay out of it...), and Legislative (you'll never be ready as long as we can use you to mollify the fanatics...)

Congressional Guardians

The real answer to all this is for us all to make Congress our legal guardians. After all, as long as personal and private issues are being handled up at that level, I don't see why one isolated family should get all the attention and intervention. If we all sign up for this then either we will all live lives of bliss, untroubled by any serious decision making, OR nothing will get done in government except micromanagement of all our personal lives.

Let's get the government out of our hospitals, research labs and courts, and back into our bedrooms where it belongs.



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