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View Diary: "A Day to Make You Believe in God" (40 comments)

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  •  in some sense you are correct that context does (0+ / 0-)

    not mean a fig to a bereaved family. but perhaps it should, and certainly it can, and many bereaved families try to make it so. if that weren't the case, you wouldn't have the desperate concept, shared by so many families of slain soldiers, in so many wars, that the war must be just, and the war must be won, lest their beloved one have died in vain. contexts, of course, do not adapt themselves to satisfy human emotional needs -- certainly the justice of no war has ever been influenced by a grieving mother's yearning for worthiness in her son's sacrifice. and to the extent that the outcome has been affected, well perhaps somewhere some war has been won because of the determination of some thousands of families that their boys shall have died for a purpose. but if so, the full context is that many other thousands of families had to lose their own sons or fathers, for no purpose other than to give those earlier deaths "meaning".

    but our culture is obsessed with a narrative that rejects context. we are given movie after movie after movie in which the body count rises to the sky, but in the end we are supposed to feel good, because the 1 or 2 or 3 characters central to the story have survived. the corpse pile doesn't matter. it is irrelevant context. do you know what i remember about the silence of the lambs? i remember those two guards who were slaughtered by lecter. were their lives worth the life of the young woman who was saved in the end? why? the only emotions i felt at the end of that movie were depression and sorrow.

    and so, the million dead Iraqis don't matter. well, actually, what's interesting about the million dead Iraqis is that the number is so large that it overwhelms Americans' context-rejection system. they can't pretend that one million deaths don't matter. so instead, they pretend that one million deaths can't possibly have happened. it's only 50,000. or 100,000. and a mere hundred thousand Iraqis are irrelevant context to an American citizen judging the relative "success" of the Iraq war in terms of abstractions like "freedom" and "security" and "strength" and "resolve" and "the sacrifice of our soldiers must not have been in vain".

    given the choice of adapting themselves to context, versus perceiving a fictional context that is more comforting, most humans choose the latter. is that wisdom?

    i did try reading the thread to which you linked ... i'm afraid i lost my will to continue before locating a comment expressing an opinion quite as dismissive as the one you indicated -- "that these yeshiva students are somehow unimportant". on the other hand, i've never seen anyone on dkos denounce the notion that "these missing white women unimportant" implied by the frequent contemptuous dismissal of the tradmed's drooling coverage of such cases. certainly, natalie holloway's mother has no interest in the "context" that our barbaric foreign policies are resulting in a slaughter of incomprehensible proportion, which ought to dominate the national media. but the truth is that natalie holloway is unimportant -- or ought to be -- to the approximately 300 million Americans for whom her death holds no more significance than that of 10,000 other Americans who die every day.

    proportion and perspective do matter, regardless of how we might wish otherwise.

    I am further of the opinion that the President must be impeached and removed from office!

    by UntimelyRippd on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 05:33:40 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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