Wednesday, April 23, 2014

You are not a hero for being hit by a plane...* And other meditations on the cheapening of a meaningful term.

I will admit to some rancor here. Maybe even an irrational amount of it.* I began writing this post a week or so ago in anger, and the source of my ire was Adrianne Haslet-Davis. The dancer, who lost part of her left leg in last year's Boston Marathon bombing, tromped out of a Meet the Press segment in protest because she felt "disrespected" by host David Gregory. See, she had insisted that no one utter the names of the bombers who caused her injuries, and when Gregorywho is, after all, a newsman, with, like, news to coversaid he could offer no such assurances, she ditched the show. 

At which I was motivated to muse of Ms. Haslet-Davis... Excuse me...and who the hell are YOU again?

I'm sure she would have an answer for me, and an unflinching, assertive one at that. These people, victims of America's mass public tragedies, see themselves as possessors (and custodians) of a certain cultural gravitas. It is as if their wounds have earned them the right to present themselves as the authorized conscience of a nation, recognized spokespeople for the aggrieved, utterly above reproach, unassailable in thought and deed. They claim moral authority. They expect to be heard, to be listened to, and, like Ms. Haslet-Davis, they will dictate terms for their participation.

Whatever specific words one might use in characterizing their status, the attitude that comes through loud and clear is YOU OWE US.

Although this phenomenon has always been part of the American ethos, it kicked in with a vengeance following 9/11, of course, and has been on display with each tragedy since: VTech, Sandy Hook, the Marathon, and so forth.

One is hard pressed to diminish any of what happened on 9/11. But, you know, human suffering was not invented on that somber day...and it was not invented in this country, either. (The terrorists might argue that 9/11 was partly inspired by the degree of human suffering we inflicted. I'm not agreeing, just making the point.) Besides which, the 9/11 survivors benefit from a huge and ongoing support structure. They are given a hero's welcome everywhere they go. They are formally remembered, honored, each year on the anniversary. Plus there's the little matter of the millions they received from the government (which is to say, from us, as taxpayers) in recompense: averaging a cool $2.08 million per 9/11 family.

No such remedies were forthcoming to the 645 Americans who were murdered in Chicago in 2001, officially the murder capital of America that year (not counting 9/11 itself). Included among those 645 were three people who died without fanfare, with nary a mention, on 9/11 itself. They got lost in the embers of a nationwide cataclysm. Still, they had families, loved ones. They counted.

I started blogging on such themes back in 2007, when it was still considered tacky, if not vaguely unpatriotic, to even question the victims of 9/11 in any fashion. In the intervening years I have consistently criticized the hubris of the 9/11 families who apparently felt entitled to control the collective public memory of the event, as if they owned the tragedy and it was theirs to exploit, if any exploiting were to be done. One is mindful of Lisa Beamer's attempts to trademark the phrase "Let's Roll," famously uttered by her late husband, Todd, as the passengers on Flight 93 prepared to storm the cockpit. It is reported that she has since remarried, "moved on."

A lot of these folks also do inspirational speaking about "finding the courage to move on"which is a tad easier to do, perhaps, when you've go $2 million to work with. Or when you've got people crowd-funding so they can throw money at you for a new boat or a prosthetic that enables you to keep on dancing and bloviating. And why're a hero, aren't you?

We can argue about whether Sully Sullenberger was a hero for what happened that day out on the Hudson. You may say yes, I may be more skeptical. But at least Sully did something. He controlled the moment. What did Haslet-Davis do in Boston except get blown up? Please excuse me for sounding callous or hard-hearted; it's just that this needs to be said, and thought about. (For an even better example, go to the Sullenberger post and read about the guy who almost got killed on Everest. What a peach.)

You are not a hero for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, per se. (I'm sure I'll catch hell for saying this, but you are not a hero for having a child shot to pieces in a school. You deserve our compassion, our profound empathy; I cried along with the rest of America after Sandy Hook. That said, our tears did not confer hero status on the bereaved.) You are not a hero for being hit by a hijacked plane or injured by a bomb while doing what you love: running a marathon. Now, surely there are things people might do after the plane or the bomb that qualify as heroic. Surely there were legitimate stories of heroism to come out of the Marathon. our rush to canonize...let's not lose sight of something important.

Heroism is active and purposeful. Heroism is aware. The hero understands that he or she is facing the abyss, and proceeds anyway. For my money, and I could only wish society's, you are far more of a hero for boarding a plane to some god-forsaken place like Afghanistan to avenge the people who were hit by a plane on 9/11. Read, for example, about this man, who now lives in a group home that helps veterans transition to civilian life. (Go to the page, scroll down a bit and click on the name Seth Howard.) I do some publicity for the cause. He has almost surely earned the right to wear the "hero" have the men who run the outreach that helps him, Vets For Vets. Where is their $2.08 million? Each day's paper contains tragic stories of other young men and women who went off to war and came back changed, if they came back at all. The stories come and go, they meld into one another, generating barely a ripple despite their heroic elements.

As for Adrianne "how dare you say Tsarnaev in my presence!" Haslet-Davis? A hero? Not so much.
* Also, this won't be my best work. I'm writing it in a very narrow window between other activities, and I simply didn't have time to include every example or make my words as persuasive as I'd like them to be. Just think about all this, is all I ask.


Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog on and off for a while now and developed an impression of it. I was never motivated to comment until this post.

It's not that I think you're usually wrong, Steve. I don't even think you're definitely wrong here. There's room for debate. I just wonder why it is that you think these things are necessary to say aloud. You dwell in the realm of ugliness and shoving things in people's faces that maybe we all realize, but we don't talk about or need to see because to do so makes life so much more dreary.

For similar reasons I almost ordered your book and decided not to. It sounds like you're all about stripping away illusions and hope, and hope is vital to the species, even if sometimes it's false hope. Besides which we often don't know the hope is false till we get there. To bring it back to this post about heroes, maybe we need to make these people into icons, to see them as sympathetic figures who are more than mere mortals. Maybe that gives us a kind of catharsis that gets us through the day.

For using your logic, if we confer labels like “hero” to people who only deserve it under your standards, how bereft would we be of heroes and heroism? I gather you even want to strip the plaudit from Sullenberger, who was universally admired for his competency and excellence. If even he doesn't qualify, then who does, aside from the veterans who appear to be the real point of writing this post. Part of your publicity for Vets For Vets?

A cynic might argue that people go into the Army for all kinds of reasons, not always noble, and that have nothing to do with heroism, and if many of them come out broken people it's because they were broken to begin with. While in the service they sometimes participate in the killing of children and other innocents, and embarrassments like Abu Ghraib and too much of what went on in Vietnam.

But if I made that argument then I'd be like you. That's not the kind of person that I, or most of us, want to be.

RevRon's Rants said...

I for one would rather base my hope in reality than in sugar-coated illusion, if for no other reason than the fact that illusion will eventually be revealed, and I'd rather not waste my time and intellectual/emotional energy, only to be disappointed.

There is plenty of wonder in the world without having to pretend and call something wondrous when it is not. And there are plenty of real heroes, without having to contort the concept of heroism to make it fit someone we want to admire. In my opinion, such contortion serves only to pump sunshine up a few people's behinds, while at the same time cheapening the meaning of the term "hero," and dishonoring those who *willingly* sacrifice to save others or make their lives better.

Finally, I tend to trust those who will speak the truth as they see it - even if that truth is hard to hear - much more readily than those who speak the "truth" that they think I want to hear. *That* is the kind of person I want to be, and I'd like to think that most people share a similar aspiration.

Steve Salerno said...

You know what, though, Ron? I was all set to give our Anon my standard comeback, more or less along the lines of what you said here, but then...I just paused. And thought about it. And I may need to think some more. I find that I am increasingly conscious of exactly what Anon references here, which is the psychic importance of having ideas to cling to, even if those ideas are, to some degree, (known) self-deceptions. I know I'm the very last person you'd ever expect to hear that from, but it has to do with my current semester of teaching college, and watching my students--the most cynical bunch you ever met, already at the tender age of 21--tromp into class week after week, each time seeming a bit more jaded and "bereft" of any joy to hang their collective hat on, save perhaps for the ephemeral joy afforded by booze and pot and hook-ups.

Is Anon right? Do we, as a species, NEED these purposeful falsehoods merely to enable us to face the new day? Are the pretty little lies we tell ourselves part and parcel of the human condition? God I hope not, as that runs counter to everything I've stood for (or tried to) since SHAM came out in 2005--and even before that. But lately I find myself "feeling about" this topic more than thinking about it, and that may be a bad sign in itself.

Is there a 12-step for this?

RevRon's Rants said...

Steve, we needn't tell ourselves lies in order to recapture the wonder of childhood. We just need to open our eyes to the wonder that is all around us.

If we keep telling ourselves these sweet little lies, then yes, the truth will seem bitter by comparison... until we ultimately see the lies for what they are, and experience an even deeper bitterness.

I feel like a hero when I rescue an animal, but it isn't very long before I realize that my act was not a sacrifice, and that my heart swells more at feeling the love of that new family member than it ever could at telling myself I'm a hero.

We just need to look and to listen with open hearts and minds. The reward is much richer than the salve of illusion. And perhaps those who are able to share their sense of wonder with others will see the hero in themselves, and not feel the need to drape themselves in ludicrous honors.

You're cynical enough. Don't let that cynicism lead you to abandon the one thing that can lift the shadow of cynicism from your psyche.

Anonymous said...

This is the same Anonymous. Your points are taken, Ron and Steve, but I would say that my same observation also applies to Steve's previous posts about race and racism. Why take the position even to suggest that if blacks are doing more poorly at life, it may be that they're not as well equipped? Why not just do the human or humane thing and try to give them a hand up. Millions of black Americans are suffering in poverty and crime and you want to talk about IQ points or the inconvenience suffered by an occasional privileged white kid who gets bumped from a college spot when that kid has all sorts of other opportunities a black kid could never even dream of?

I don't understand this need to be so precise or so *correct*, if you will, when lives and social harmony are at stake.

Cosmic Connie said...

Yes... what Ron said. I'm sorry I've been absent from here for such a long time. I've been preoccupied with following the foibles of a now-jailed scammer (that would be Kevin Trudeau), while dealing with a particularly evil little psychopath who is spreading malicious but somehow comical lies about me across the Interwebz.

But I continue to read SHAMblog, and I continue to support you in your efforts, Steve, and I continue, for what it's worth, to share your links on Facebook.

I acknowledge and understand the need that the masses (including the cynics among us) have for those "sweet little lies." But I'm all too aware that the sociopaths and psychopaths among us exploit those needs and use those sweet lies to further their own agendas. I seem to recall blogging about that very thing, just a few days ago.

We all need hope, but not the type of shallow hope that's wrapped up in a proprietary package and sold to us by an egomaniacal "guru." As Ron indicates, hope and wonder and beauty are everywhere. Real heroes are too. But sometimes you need a heaping helping of cynicism to cut through the crap and get to the real stuff.

RevRon's Rants said...

I've been given a hand up now and then, and would probably be in much better financial shape, had I not given others a hand up where it was needed. No brags, and no complaints. It pretty well evens out. But I don't feel compelled to give that hand up when the other person isn't willing to do their part.

I had to learn the hard way the rules of the game and to be willing - at least to some extent - to play by them. Nobody owed me anything; it was *my* responsibility to achieve what I could, and to do it in such a manner as to not diminish myself in the process. Or, stated differently, to be deserving of another's help when I needed it.

Railing against the process because I was not a part of its creation was stupid and unproductive. I know, because I tried doing so on any number of occasions. But I ultimately learned that if I was going to accomplish anything in this world, I had to first learn how things were being done, then prove that I could function within those parameters. What freedom I ultimately achieved would not have happened, had I continued along the route of the starving artist or oppressed hippie. I think that accepting responsibility for functioning in the world is a lot more realistic - and fair - than demanding that the world acquiesce to my preferences. That is the mark of a grown up, in my opinion. To live in a fantasy is not. And to expect the world to support me as I live in that fantasy is patently unfair, to me as well as to those who feel compelled to promulgate the little lies. I'd rather live with my self-esteem somewhat bruised, but honestly earned. Because if my success was built upon lies, I'd always suspect that I wasn't really good enough to come by it honestly. I - along with everyone else - deserve better.

Steve Salerno said...

Connie, as usual you make very good points that are capable of reconciling two seemingly disparate trains of thought into a cohesive, comprehensible whole. Thank you for coming back to visit.

Dimension Skipper said...

I'm surprised no one has brought up the Joan Rivers / Cleveland "House of Horrors" joke flap yet. I can see both sides, but I'm not a Joan Rivers fan so I would say she should probably just give in, apologize in one of those ever-popular non-apology ways, get it over with and move on. But if I was more of a JR fan, I'd probably say, "Oh come on, it was just a joke, lighten up."

In general, I'm on the side of tactful reality. By that, I mean I don't need to be constantly inspired by head-up-my-ass, feel-good "unicorns and rainbows" philosophies, but neither do I want to have overly negative "woe is us" world views shoved in my face constantly. There's middle ground.

I'm all for heroes and some public recognition of such, but if you have to work so hard to manufacture a hero or elevate someone who was literally just doing their job, or happened to be in the wrong/right place at the wrong/right time, then find a better hero. I mean, it's OK to publicize a significant story or events, but there's no need to manufacture Heroes with a capital H for MY benefit.

Which is sort of the same philosophy I have on religion these days... You're entitled to your religious beliefs, but A) don't shove it in MY face or judge ME by YOUR arbiitrary standards, and B) if your religion leads you to abandon vaccinating your kids or getting them to proper treatment for serious medical conditions then I say you need to find a better religion.

Sorry, I know that's kind of a non-tangential sidetrack there, but I thought it was worth noting for the sake of illustrating consistancy in such matters.

Plus, it's my experience that many of the worst offenders of pie-in-the-sky oh-please-inspire-me! and give-me-Heroes thinking are of the religious variety. (I could be wrong, of course, but that's the way it seems to me.) Just because you *want* to believe something or feel inspired does not necessarily make it "Truth." In fact, that's usually when I doubt a story most.

So yes, I'd rather live in some semblance of mundane reality than willingly (and yet maybe even simultaneously unknowingly) fool myself with wishful, but false-ringing, hero worship.

Michelle said...

Well said.

Beverly Stuart said...

Climbing Mount Everest is not really heroic. Not only is the climb a personal preference leisure time, but also a pursuit that includes leaving behind various items that can only qualify as litter - deliberate litter.
Exactly how is that heroic?
Years ago I owned a large piece of forest land that included part of a mountain. I was astounded at the number of people that used the property without so much as a by your leave and were quite happy to leave behind their empty beverage cans and snack wrappings.
Not at all heroic in my view.

Steve Salerno said...

Beverly, we are in complete agreement. Did you think I would disagree? In my book I made a point of tearing the Everest guy a new one, as the expression goes.

Paul Stoneback said...

I agree with the first Anon. I see no reason for this. It's gratuitous, you're making a special point out of something that doesn't need to be said. It reminds me of the people who cruelly attack the special olympics saying "it's not the real olympics" or even worse, making fun of the athletes who participate.

So maybe sometimes we work a little overtime to manufacture more beauty or inspiration that there really is in life, what's so wrong about that?

Paul Stoneback said...

While I'm on the subject, the thing about Sandy Hook parents, totally uncalled for and tasteless. Plus tell me it doesn't take a goodly amount of heroism to go on with life and be there for the rest of your family after something horrific like that!

Steve Salerno said...

Paul, I appreciate your comments, and as I noted early on, with life as dark as it too often is, I guess I agree that we sometimes need to "manufacture," to use your word, some added light. But at the end of the day this comes down to the points made far better by others in this thread: Do we just bury our head in the sand and refuse to face the truth, because it's too unpleasant to face? Do we lie to ourselves about the meanings of words and concepts, because we want to extend the nicer words and concepts to more of us? Then where do we stop?

Pretty soon we're in bed with Rhonda Byrne (metaphorically speaking) or, worse, James Ray, rhapsodizing about how the Smiling Universe is here to do our bidding.

Henriette said...

To comment on Dimension Skipper's comment, I think Joan Rivers is right. She said nothing derogatory about those girls, but about living with her daughter. The joke was in poor taste, but many comics joke in poor taste. Ever heard Sarah Silverberg or Chelsea Handler? Rivers is mild compared to them.

Dimension Skipper said...

Here's a YouTube vid by one Lee Lemon, aka "Atheist Lee" who apparently is a Q&A video blogger and former Christian. People can watch the whole thing (5:31) for full context if they like, but the relevant bit is precisely at the 2:59 mark. I just think she puts it well...

Atheist Lee, "Did atheists help/hurt you?"

Note: This isn't the sort of thing I normally spend any online time on, but it's just something that randomly crossed my path and I thought it was interesting enough to check out and relevant enough to post here, especially in light of my "dragging religion into it" in my prior comment. But it's just proverbial food for thought and all that.

In the end, I don't think there's really any objectively right/wrong answers, only what's right/wrong for each of us as individuals. If folks feel a strong need to *want* to believe certain things (heroes, religion, love, whatever) to the point of "manufacturing" them in their own minds, then who am I to discourage it? So long as it remains merely an artifact of their own internal thoughts and motiviations with no outward negative effect in the real world which directly affects me or others negatively, I don't have a huge problem with it. I'll just agree to disagree philosophically or on the degree of heroship as the case may be.

It's when wish-based philosophies somehow turn into anti-vaccination campaigns, withholding medical treatment from kids for religious reaasons, or attempting to allow codified/legalized discrimination against certain demographics (for examples) that I begin to take strong issue with such "beliefs." Belief (or wanting to believe) should never trump facts or cause overt harm. Manufacturing "heroes" is OK, I guess, as far as that goes within some wiggle room, but I just see the mindset as one which lends itself too easily to riding down that road to Rhonda Byrne woo country as Steve suggests.

Henriette, I do agree with you that the Rivers joke was obviously in poor taste and that she shouldn't *have* to apologize. I can understand why she personally wouldn't want to or feel a need to and therefore would resist apologizing.

That being said, though, I think it garnered enough negative publicity and attention—and btw, I don't personally subscribe to the "any pub is good pub" philosophy—that probably the expedient (smart?) thing for her to do would have been to just give a token non-apology and then just drop it.

And no, I'm not personally familiar with Ms. Silverman or Handler's comedic stylings, so I just don't have that particular context. I've never been a fan of what I'll call "shock" comics, whose m.o. seems to be more about trying to provoke strong reactions and/or offend than to simply make people laugh so that no doubt contextualizes my opinion as well.

It just seems to me that if that's a comic's stock in trade method, then they should probably be used to occasionally blurring, if not actually overstepping, a few semi-controversial lines and then offering the occasional "Ok, maybe I went a little too far" mea culpa, if for no other reason than to soften the edge just a little.

On the other hand, people should also be well aware, as you say, that that is indeed the comic's style and maybe not quite give it (or themselves?) so much serious weight.

Am I being wishy-washy enough there? :-D

Steve Salerno said...

DimSkip, you can be as wishy-washy as you please. I'm just happy you're back (at least for now).

My son is a Vegas-based comedian, by the way, and one might say that biting satire (edginess) is his stock in trade. To some degree that's the stock in trade of all (good) comics, no? If you make people uncomfortable, even angry, in the moment, you also make them think. (The ones who are capable of thought, that is. Too many people today will only listen until their "opposing-viewpoint! antenna" is activated, then they look to merely label, malign and/or defeat.) Look at the whole situation with Sterling. It's repugnant and most of us would probably wish it away, but it certainly opens up a dialog, does it not? A society without controversy is a society without evolution.

Steve Salerno said...

By the way, speaking of poor taste, when George Zimmerman went to trial, I sent the following email to my son, thinking he might find it useful. I wrote, "I actually think Zimmerman is unlucky. He managed to shoot the only unarmed black teenager in America." Graig thought it was funny but too racist, even for comedy. I disagreed then and I disagree now. When I was growing up I heard all sorts of jokes about how careful one had to be around Italians, or else you'd end up in a trunk or a ditch. That is still part of the cultural currency, all the Godfather jokes, etc. Now, the average Italian is not in the mob, right? But certainly there was (and still is) a mob, and certainly it was populated to a large degree by "my people." And certainly there are enough black teenagers packing heat--thugs--to justify my joke.

But remember, people, it's HUMOR.

Dimension Skipper said...

Wanted to keep this comment separate...

This topic/discussion reminds me of two particular instances I think are perhaps worth a brief look back in context and hindsight: Jessica Lynch* and Pat Tillman.

Those links are to wikipedia sections dealing with controversial coverage of their cases. I realize that wikipedia isn't necessarily the be all and end all of sources, but they're easy to link to specific relevant sections so that's why I went with them. My point being that there was a lot of initial fanfare and hero worship early on in both cases and then later there was some backing off on some of the more overt heroic aspects. To this day I'm not sure if any consensus was ever reached regarding what the "facts" really were and I wonder how much of the public "hero halo" remains with each.

I also think we're talking degree here as to the definition of the term hero. One can make the case that anyone—active NFL star or ordinary citizen—who voluntarily signs up for military duty knowing they can be sent in harm's way and possibly killed is indeed a hero. But then there are those who in the course of that service perform more active feats of heroism while under grim circumstances, who stand firm and competently perform their duties in actual practice rather than just theoretical potential scenarios, perhaps surviving, perhaps not.

The troubles I see in both cases are two-fold: 1) how quickly the stories of their heroism were built up by the media and public, and 2) the source of the initial stories being broadcast to establish their heroism.

That is to say... The military has a definite interest in quickly promoting (in the sense of positive publicity) the heroism of such people and so that alone should maybe make us question circumstances more thoroughly. Just a hair below that is the sense I get that the media in general also can have a bandwagon jumping mentality of jumping on such "hero trains" just to get their share of the viewership/readership ratings when following a "hot" breaking story of such magnitude.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not *against* "manufacturing" heroes, but I do much prefer that the fact-checking period be a little more extensive before we canonize anyone.

But hey, it's a fast modern world we live in, so that's probably too much to ask. I suppose one can make the case for the value of heroes to be relatively contained within that initial rush of good feelings and adulation, that by the time the luster may wear off due to changing stories or further facts coming to light, the general public will have already had its wish-fulfillment needs met and then quickly just drop it and move on to the next hero du jour for their feel-goods.
*I confess that in Ms. Lynch's case I could not remember her last name. I had to search on "Jessica Iraq capture rescue" to refresh my memory. Not sure if that says more about the long term value (or lack) of heroism or the fallibility of my brain cells, but for what it's worth there you go.

head not in the sand said...

Steve, regarding your Travyon Martin "joke", not all humor is created equal. There's also such a thing as too soon. To compare the Godfather meme to what blacks have faced in this country since forever is inappropriate. I'm glad your son has higher standards for his humor than you apparently have. Blacks are still being killed or arrested daily in this country often as a result of some kind of racist profiling like Zimmerman used that night.

Maybe 100 years from now when we truly live in a society that's not colorblind, as you seem to want, but respectful of all other heritages, then we can all agree to joke. I notice we still don't joke much about the Holocaust, though. Most of us have too much common sense for that.

Steve Salerno said...

I can see your point, Head. Still don't know if I agree. I think your "too soon" objection may have more merit than the larger one, but I still wonder why some heritages are fair game and others are off-limits. Or what about the man/woman thing? Women can set up sites or hash-tags called Manhater, and say the most vile things, and it's all in good fun. TV ads can (and do) make men look like imbeciles all day and night long. But how dare anyone do the same to women, and it's a cause-celebre.

Dimension Skipper said...

See... I've always said positive thinking was a waste of time, but does anybody listen? Noooooo! Why would they? *I* don't know anything! I'm just an ol' Negative Nellie raining on everybody's parades! Well, screw you, everybody! I was right! So SUCK IT!!!...

Dump Positive Thinking
By Ran Zilca


1. Dump “positive”
● Positive emotions cannot be forced.
● When people learn about the science of positive emotions or the positivity ratio, there’s a temptation to make your motto “I’m going to be positive”…but that strategy backfires, because there is a huge difference between genuine positive emotions and insincere positive emotions.
● Replace “positive” with “open.” A much better motto than “be positive” is “be open”, or to be appreciative and kind.

2. Dump “Thinking”
● What makes a difference between, say, seeing a movie and doing a kind thing for another person, is your own agency. Don’t watch the movie, make the movie!
● Replace "thinking" with "doing."

1. Be Open.
2. Do good.
● Life is generally good. There’s no need to ARTIFICIALLY make it positive. Only to keep your ears and eyes open to the wealth of good that is already there.

(My introductory commentary is obviously tongue-in-cheek, but the linked item and honestly quoted summary bits are relevant, I think, and may also serve to further clarify my own previously expressed thoughts. Click through to the linked item for full details and context, of course.)

Steve Salerno said...

Hey, I love the new feisty DimSkip! "Suck it" indeed! And the points you bring the fore are priceless context (as usual).

Now retreat again under your rock, asshole! ;)

head not in sand said...

Steve, so where are your jokes today about that black convict who they tortured to death yesterday? Not so funny yet?

Steve Salerno said...

Head, if you followed my twitter feed at all today, you would not ask that question.

Look, I don't pretend to know all of the rules surrounding satire and timing and what separates comedy from cruelty; like most everyone else, I go on feel. You'll remember that people were saying 9/11 was "the death of irony" and our collective national sense of humor would be permanently scarred. Now people make jokes about terrorism, the hijackers, the wars we fought in response, etc.

I'm not perfect and lord knows I never harbored that pretension or hoisted that flag. I'm a writer and blogger and I do the best with what I've got to work with.

head not in the sand said...

Fair enough, though I still think you need to be more careful and sensitive about race and America's "original sin".

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for you shame blog. I am an Occupational therapist and we just had Adrianne Haslet-Davis speak at our yearly conference. What a nightmare. She was paid tons of money for her 2 hour rant about how terrible her injury was and was clearly bitter and angry and called the bomber " a waste of human space". That may be true, but what happened to her spiritual forgiveness?. I work with children and adults all day long that are double amputees and quadriplegics, who will never move any limbs ever again. They are not out making money on their injuries. As Adrianne was speaking, I looked down and saw that the women next to me was burned up both arms and had no fingers. What about her story??? She had to sit and listen to how great Adrianne was and how she's heading to dancing with the stars! Honestly, all the vets that will never afford a basic prosthetic and will NEVER be up on stage. They go home and suffer alone. She complained that she had to use her "blade" and her "real looking" prosthetic with two different dance shoes attached. I just wrote to Nick Vujicic at his foundation "Life Without Limbs" and he will be our next conference speaker. He is spiritual and will really help all of us that need to learn to live without something. We are all wounded in life, no one gets an award for living with pain! Keep up the blog! Thanks so much!!

Steve Salerno said...

Thank you, Anon. Your comment is so important that I linked to it from a new post on the blog's main page. I wish you the best.