Monday, April 22, 2013

A Tale of Two One City

Once again I am unmoved by an event others find so moving. I wish the Boston Marathon bombing hadn't happened, but I didn't feel any real sadness about it. No one I know died. And plenty of other people died that day all over the world--but we didn't have a special public grieving session for them in our media forums. But when Americans die, I'm supposed to care more. When Americans die from terrorism, I'm REALLY supposed to care more. Why is that, though? Is dying or getting injured due to terrorism really so much worse than, say, getting struck by lightning? The latter seems worse to me cuz some people might think that God himself struck ya down. Also, why are terrorist murderers so much more awfully evil than just your everyday murderers? If there's a serial killer afoot, we don't shut down a city.

What I really can't cotton to are all the inspirational or somber things we have to hear from the talking heads to help us cope with our--yes, OUR--tragedy. We need Patton Oswalt and Jon Stewart to remind us that there are more good people in the world than bad because just in case we were on the verge of thinking that three out of four dentists were terrorists (well...). Somehow, this all seems to do exactly what the terrorists want: it keeps expanding and embellishing the spectacle. After all, people have been setting bombs to blow other people up for a long time, and we've seen that hundreds of times in movies and on TV. So we need that constant commentary, that importance-elevating machine, to generate shock and make us feel the proper despair and then, at last: hope. It's all the better if you can chuck a little patriotism in somewhere.

I like Robert Frost's post-tragedy scenario better:

And they, since they

Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

That's surely what we all did when the fertilizer plant blew in Texas. Even though there's nearly five times the fatalities of the Boston Marathon, we don't need to go thru some big social media production with speeches and reassurances about the tenacity of the human spirit or the hearty souls of West. Nope, just pick up and go on and turn to your own affairs. If you knew someone in West, you call to make sure they're okay. If you grew up in that town, you feel bad. But we have no villains to hunt here, no evildoers to start a war over, so, really, it's just more boring old death. And it's in some small town in, yeah: no grand spectacle is required. Nothing more to see here.


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