Thursday, April 25, 2013

"I take care of my kids!"

There's a joke from one of Chris Rock's old routines that goes something like this: "Some people want credit for things they're supposed to do. Like you'll hear someone say, 'I take care of my kids.' You're SUPPOSED TO you dumb motherfucker!"

I was reminded of it when I read the Thinking Housewife's discussion about the use and abuse of the word "hero:"

KARL D. writes:
Have you noticed how the word “hero” has been bandied about by the media regarding almost anyone and everyone who was involved in the Boston bombing? The man who found the bomber hiding in his boat and called the police? Hero. A victim who lost both his legs who visited another victim in the same hospital to give her a gift? Hero.
What is even more surprising is the absolute venom I have encountered from people when I point out the fact that neither of these men were heroes. One was merely a good citizen doing his civic duty, and the other a victim who performed a kind act for another victim. It seems most people really do operate in a knee-jerk emotional way. The fact that the true meaning of the word “hero” has become so watered down as to render it meaningless does not seem to bother them in the least. Interestingly, out of all the people who called me a “nasty little man” for pointing this out, the majority were female.

Laura writes:
I think this exaggerated use of the term “hero” is connected to the sentimentalizing of mass murder. It’s a form of denial. If we react to these events — whether it be a school shooting or a terrorist attack– with enough candlelit vigils, enough bouquets of flowers, enough piles of stuffed animals, enough charitable donations, enough concerts by rock stars, enough exaggerated praise for anyone and everyone who performed the slightest acts of decency, then maybe we can obliterate our unease. Maybe then we can overcome the sense that we are not truly confronting these problems. To confront them would require … heroism. And that is in very short supply.
This is, as you suggest, part of the general feminization of our culture.
I just remembered the final episode of Futurama's first run on Fox. Bender is constantly correcting the other cast members' incorrect use of the word irony: "That's not ironic! It was just a coincidence!" Likewise our misuse of the word "tragedy." The Boston Bombing was not a tragedy. It was a crime committed by Muslim immigrants who never should have been admitted to this country in the first place. (So why were they? A good answer to almost any question is "The Bush administration screwed up.")

Citizens and policemen performing their duty isn't sexy enough so we have to declare them all heroes, hold hands, light candles, sing songs, talk about our feelings, and for damn sure we have to preemptively shut down tough questioning about the wisdom of the latest amnesty bill making its way through Congress.

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