Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Sentimentality has several meanings, so it is attractive or abhorrent depending on the way it is defined and perceived. Nothing wrong with being sentimental, having feelings, feeling tender emotions, nostalgia. What warps sentiment is disproportionate feeling, such as strong grief over a cat in a tree when half the town is burning down. A present example of sentimental disproportion is the present (October 2010) obsession over the 35 miners trapped underground in Copiapo, Chile. The Weather Channel, for example reported it day after day, and during the final rscue hour after hour, man after man. Certainly pulls the heart strings. But consider information about females from the book Half the Sky by Kristof and WuDunn: “…thirty-nine thousand baby girls die annually in China because parents don’t give them the same medical care and attention that boys receive.” Nothing on the Weather Channel about that, or that: “Every year, at least another 2 million girls worldwide disappear because of gender discrimination.” Where are the tears for them? And let us ask what is the social function of such disproportionate concern? What does massive media attention to the rescue of a handful of miners lead to? To a national campaign for truly safe mining conditions? I doubt it. We haven’t seen that happen in the United States. Rather, it is a sentimental distraction for people from the real problems of the world. Think in contrast of the results of similar attention to the wrongs against girls and women in the world. That would be a jolt of truth-lightning. An earthquake disturbance of business as usual. Possibly a world revolution. Maybe even Wake Up With Al would wake up. Dick

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