Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A Reprieve in Our Dying Romance

For some time, I've been avoiding the New York Times' news coverage which seems more like opinion and the opinion columns which seem more like barstool ranting just before reposing with a concrete pillow under your cheek. I've come to consider it all so much fishwrap for what the NYT still does well: books, arts, travel, theatre, dining, fashion, architecture...you get it.
But then, they had to go and run these two articles. They're not late-breaking news exactly, but they both subject popularly-accepted and media-mandated notions to not yet another rubber-stampathon, but a skeptical looksee! I could scarce believe it, but here is the proof:

Bruce Bawer shows the broad perception of Norway as an affluent welfare state whose masses thrive in its compassionate bosom is a notion that only survives without comparison. When the Oslo sack lunch meets the ladies-who-lunch, guess who's richer?

You know this is a hot topic for me, but Gina Kolata surveys the mass of health recommendations and points out how many of the most common lack adequate substantiation. In The Body Heretic: It Scorns Our Efforts, she also points out, with a somewhat downbeat cast, our bodies' stubborness to overhaul, the permanence of some conditions, the impossibility despite optimism of becoming the ideal. To me, this isn't depressing. Realism in this arena reveals what great things we've achieved, persuades us to continue saving lives and treating debilitations, but allows us to accept our dose of imperfections as part of the package of living. Yes, you may have to suffer with certain disadvantages. But I've seen a three-legged, one-eyed dog at play, and I say enjoy yourself and don't worry so much.

However, when (not if) I shuffle off this mortal coil, I demand my own hotline to eternity like the dead guy in this picture. Where do you put the charger? (literal hat tip:Roger Simon)

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