Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Million $ Baby

M$B is not aptly named. It will make the studios many millions of dollars. And it's a sucky film that depends on its fake controversy.

Why the disability people are wrong about M$B.

Some people with disabilities make the argument that this movie devalues their lives. Since the main character chooses to die rather than live on as a quad, their point is well taken as a cautionary note. But no more than simply a point of caution. So I'd like to distinguish this legitimate point: that this person is still a person and her life has the same value as anyone else's, because what value does a single life have really? Only what we assign. And of course we should assign full value to any person, with the use of her legs, arms, lungs or not. But they do not make only this claim. They make the claim that allowing her to die is wrong, and in so doing, they are wrong.

The oddness of their position is, in a way, implicit to their position. Why should we value her as a person? Because she is human. Human's, as part of our makeup, have the capacity to, or the potential to, make decisions. Her decision was to die. Why should her decision not be valued?

Take yourself. What would it take for you to think your life no longer worth living? I've quoted Camus before and he comes to me now, "There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide."

Also seen recently on a bumper sticker, "The best day fishing beats the worst day working." Let's paraphrase into relevance. Is the following true: The best day spent dead beats the worst day spent alive? I'd say not. I've seen suffering. I know how bad the worst day can be. And death, when it comes, can be a blessing.

To fail to recognize this is innocent. But to not only make this failure of imagination and of empathy, but to launch from there into an attempt to control other's behavior is a great wrong. Many great wrongs in this world result from such innocence, Communism being the first example to come to mind. By trying to maintain the value of Swank's imaginary life, they unknowingly devalue it by attempting to deny her of legitimate choices. In fact, the only one really serious choice left to her.

3 Comments:

Blogger marybishop said...

Doc says: By trying to maintain the value of Swank's imaginary life, they unknowingly devalue it by attempting to deny her of legitimate choices. In fact, the only one really serious choices left to her.

Bravo.

In today's knee-jerk society, choice is only important if you pick the "right" choice. Swank should pick life at any cost, because that's what swims in the current religious and political current. (I must play word games, please don't blame me if some of them are lame...)

The way society is going, our freedoms are being taken away in slow, small agonizing increments until the only choice left will be the stamp on a side of beef.

4:59 AM  
Blogger laurenbove said...

Great point on the philosphical incongruency: The valuing a life as object but not the voice-choice of that life, a sentient human being.

How do the religious right explain this inequity? The don't, they just drown the point with more hocus pocus mindless religious faith talk.

I can actually understand the selfish who don't respect the voice b/c *they* want and need the person to be alive.

9:52 AM  
Blogger marybishop said...

Off topic -- I linked to you in this post on my site...

Fluck the flu part two or how I ended up looking like Jimmy Durante

12:08 PM  

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