Monday, May 23, 2005

Melancholy? Try Star Wars or Eating Death Candy

Another lame title jamming together mostly unrelated stories of interest to me. Pick and choose as you will.

1) This NYT review of Peter Kramers "Against Depression" gives a good overview of his crusade against the too-long romanticized view of depression when applied to artists. As a person who's been depressed and who knows plenty of depressive, creative types, let me add my guarantee that depression is not the source of unique insight or artistic perspective. ''It is fragility, brittleness, lack of resilience, a failure to heal,'' he [Kramer] writes. It is sadness, hopelessness, chronic exhaustion allied with corrosive anxiety, a loss of any emotion but guilt, of any desire but to stop, please stop, and to stay stopped, forever. Depression doesn't make artists; it debilitates them.

2) Here's Part II of Larry Getlen's excellent article about the competetive eating arena, as published in The Black Table. This piece culminates by examining the essential, unequalled Kobayashi's achievements as well as how he's enlivened the sport and other competitors. Melancholy? Tre Uninspiring. Kobayashi? Now I'm Fired Up!

3) In the kind of coincidental tragedy that's statistically inevitable in places as densely populated as NYC, two children died from choking on big peppermint balls within days of each other. The loss of their human potential and the sadness of their families is awful, but now the New York Post (in typically understated fashion) is reporting that "The city's delis and bodegas are a minefield of killer candy."

I think any feeling person might sympathize with recently grief-stricken parents' desires to see all such candy outlawed, but that doesn't make them reasonable, especially since the menace has been on every store shelf in New York for years without an epidemic of deaths. If you think back, you may be able to remember, as I do, how many things you almost choked upon in childhood, not all of them even food. Parents ought to be as careful as they can, and hopefully will learn the Heimlich. But even so, terrible accidents will sometimes happen regardless of candy size or the extensive legal labeling that people have learned to ignore as background noise anyway. What worries me in this latest assault on my admittedly nostalgic affection for penny-candy (which now costs much more) is the demonstrated cultural tendency, when tragedies occur, to run for the apron of the state and its promised comfort of arbitrary legislation. More meaningless law that will fail to protect while reinforcing the nanny-state worldview that every accident is the avoidable result of someone's malfeasance is not, in my mind, a societal improvement.

4) Hat tip: Michelle Malkin (I'm trying to trackback, but probably miffed it again.) So, link here to see Cap'n Wacky's Parade of Unfortunate Star Wars Costumes with commentary. Hit the big Next under Chewbacca's head for more, because there are so many more...

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