Dr. Keith Ablow, apparently a FOXNews contributor (we don't get cable), channels Mark Steyn:
(Megyn seems a little surprised. Did she not read After America?)
More from Dr. Ablow from his recent FOX opinion piece: ObamaCare and the politics of dependency:
An American citizen who willingly allows the federal government to earmark his or her after-tax income and direct it to insurance companies is an American citizen who has decided that the government "knows best." The federal government is, from that moment forward, (in at least some measure) that citizen's parent, leaving them only with an allowance, consisting of what's left after they buy what their "parents" in Washington tell them to.Our entitlement culture has already rendered that DNA nearly vestigial. But yes, Obamacare, with its tooth-level surveillance and confiscation of our "piggy banks," as Ablow puts it, will finish the job.
Every human being knows in his or her heart that the ability to earn a living and make decisions about the money that flows to him or her is one of the hallmarks of an autonomous life. [. . .]
In true Progressive fashion, it makes people regress and feel as though they don't know best how to manage their health or their affairs. It renders them weak.
Deep inside, people despise being weak. It is an affront to their God-given rights to SELF-determination and the pursuit of happiness. Hence, the stance of federal government as parent that sits so well with President Obama opens the door to depression and all manner of ills (including drug abuse) that afflict those who feel disempowered. [. . .]
Because courage comes from deep inside, from each adult American in this nation it will, ultimately, be the only thing that stands between us and calamity. The individual mandate of ObamaCare is a virus that could destroy that good psychological DNA.
Along those lines, Mark Steyn, in this must-read Happy Warrior column, writes of a nation that has stopped trying to master hard things:
Ease is the dominant characteristic of our pop culture. [. . .]Honor is an antiquated concept, now associated mostly with the military. (A bit more on that below.) Steyn:
The stories a society tells itself are not unimportant. Today, we have superhero movies but no westerns with beleaguered loners trying to live up to moral codes against the odds, and few films with amateur adventurers who find themselves caught up in something and forced to see it through because they understand that honor requires it.
Perhaps this is because the ever more unreal computer effects require ever more unreal characters. Meanwhile, the supposedly unreal musical is as dead as the western, in part because it requires real human talent and, like Carnegie Hall, practice. The old-timey actors came with specialized skills: James Cagney and Bob Hope were both great dancers — and, as my old pal Sammy Cahn liked to say, that's not even what they do. By comparison, what can Brad Pitt or Leonardo DiCaprio do? I notice a big dance solo seems to be about the only effect you can't fake in CGI: If you can't do it, you can't do it, and the computers can't help you.They won't dance, don't ask them; they're already amazing! enough.
(By the way, my favorite Steyn line comes at the beginning of paragraph six. You can have lots of fun at home similarly updating classic song titles for the Age of the Narcissist.)
Personal confession here: My boys play video games. (This isn't something I've embraced but that's another story.) Through them I've learned there's something called a "tryhard," and in the world of military video games, it's a pejorative term, something the losers occasionally call the winners. Sad, huh? Apparently, sitting around getting his faux-soldier on, even with all those awesome sound effects, will not teach a young man about winning or losing with honor.
Back to Steyn. He looks at the current spate of super-hero movies and puts his finger on why they leave some of us cold:
Humanity is confined to the non-speaking parts in the crowd scenes: "Heroism" is what people who've been bitten by radioactive spiders or born a shape-shifting mutant do. Until that happens to you, best to steer clear. And so a world of superheroes leads to a world without non-super heroes. A world, that is, without heroes.Read the whole thing. No doubt I'm preaching to the choir, but don't forget to include stories of real heroism and honor in your child's media diet, though the genuine but un-amped-up tales may be greeted with groans of protest sometimes. James Bowman, in the article mentioned by Steyn, writes:
It's all a lot of fun, I suppose, but the more we indulge our appetite for the cultural junk food of the superheroic, the harder it becomes to digest the real thing. This is especially true for children, for whom this diet has been primarily designed. . . . Kids have come to crave the sugar-buzz of superheroism to the point where, if they encounter ordinary heroism (if that's not an oxymoron) in old books, it must seem bland and unexciting.It's the parent's job to bring the real thing to life somehow. It will be easier if we haven't already gotten our kids hooked on all things bright and flashy, though there is a time and place for that, too, of course.
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