The Pornography Of Public Grief

Ilana Mercer, December 21, 2012


A headline on the Huffington Post blared: “Comfort Dogs Sent To Newtown From Chicago Area To Help Community After Sandy Hook Shooting.” CNN’s top dog Anderson Cooper followed—or led the pack; who cares?—with a similar segment about insourcing dogs to comfort the afflicted community of Newtown, Conn.

One day after the massacre of 20 children and seven adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, “a group of golden retrievers from the Chicago area made a cross-country journey to … Newtown.”

Woof, woof, or barf, barf?

Are there no companion dogs in Newtown, Conn.? Must expert dogs be brought in to properly minister to the mourners? Apparently so. Even the neighborhood dog is now unqualified for the big time.

The pornography of public grief in our country is almost as warped as the evil (not ill), mother-slaying, mass murderer responsible for the Sandy Hook carnage. There is very little dignity in the freaky spectacle of mass contagion—where members of the public turn professional mourners, flock to memorial happenings for victims they never knew, and mill about for hours in the hope of being discovered by the master of ceremonies, the journalist.

These ritualistic displays are symptomatic of our festering cultural commons.

At the center of this festering culture that turns victims into a backdrop and prop to the state’s army of experts is the journalist. I wager that as I write, MC Anderson Cooper is reconfiguring his CNN “Hero of the Year” Awards. This low-watt, dim bulb of a journo-cum-activist chooses America’s heroes each and every year, based on how many tears they shed.

The victims of killer Adam Lanza have become a sideshow in the nation’s pornography of grief. Tragedy is denuded of any dignity, reduced to a showy public affair to be managed by the Managerial State’s media and medical lapdogs.

Besides, this blow-by-blow, wall-to-wall coverage of the events in Newtown—and of every related utterance on the issue since, official or other—is the very essence of the postmodern deconstruction of the discipline of journalism.

If there is no edifying information on the case, no reporting needs to take place.

It is at times like these that I miss my dear friend Tom Szasz, RIP, more than ever, although I know that Dr. Szasz does not miss the times we are living through. Szasz, the author of the seminal “Myth of Mental Illness” and other books, devoted decades of his life to dismantling the rickety scaffolding upon which psychiatry was founded. In his work, professor Szasz exposed over two centuries of physical torture and tortured logic, taking the necessary analytical and empirical solvents to the state-empowered fraternity of sorcerers that is psychiatry.

Consider: Medicine uses the same principles to explain health and disease. Conversely, the pseudo-science of psychiatry and its legions of followers use one set of principles to explain rational behavior; another set to explain irrational behavior. When a person does something ghastly, psychiatry concludes, post hoc, that he has ceased being a morally responsible agent, and herewith acquired a disease. Do we ever seek chemical causes for positive and extraordinary actions? No. As the benefactor of mankind does good things, we attribute his actions to choice. As a murderer like Adam Lanza perpetrated evil, we attribute his deeds to causes: to a diseased mind or an inattentive mother.

The paradox at the heart of this root-causes fraud is that causal theoretical explanations are invoked only after evil deeds have been committed (reasoning backward is an error of logic). Good deeds have no need of mitigating circumstances. Left-liberals of this mindset (among them most conservatives, who are now liberals in all but name) acknowledge human agency and free will if—and only when—adaptive actions are involved.

At the root of it all is the rejection of the existence of unadulterated evil. Rather than accept the reality of evil—sh-t happens, live with it and be prepared to proceed against it—misconduct has been medicalized.

To listen to the nation’s psychiatric and journo mumbo-jumbo is to come to believe that crimes are caused, not committed; that perpetrators—mere victims of societal forces—don’t do the crime, but are driven to their deeds by a confluence of uncontrollable factors: bullying, the availability of firearms, or an imaginary organic brain disease for which no scientific evidence exists.

The nation’s handlers—the centralizing forces on both sides of the bifurcated political spectrum—are the true “Mad Hatters.” Since a killer is never evil, only ill—it is assumed that with government imprimatur, the modern-day witch doctor and his potions can exorcise that evil, for evil is, after all, a manifestation of organic disease. Just like cancer. (Not!)

Placing wicked behavior beyond the conceptual strictures of traditional morality makes it amenable to “therapeutic” interventions.

Currently being “debated” are still tighter controls over contrarians and incarceration before the fact, gun bans and confiscation, and yet more gun-free zones, where outlaws are free to shoot the law-abiding like they would fish in a barrel.

If we accept these prior-restraint arguments, then we must apply them ad absurdum. We would have to forthwith stop all teenagers from driving. Or do as the (crap) country of Britain does: tear a child from the arms of a mother if the mother is obese or holds opinions unpalatable to her political and psychiatric masters.

“As soon as we surrender the principle that the state should not interfere in any questions touching on the individual’s mode of life,” wrote Ludwig von Mises in 1927, “we end by regulating and restricting the latter down to the smallest details.”

December 21

CATEGORIES: Crime, Ethics, Etiquette, Individualism, Left-liberalism, Media, Pseudoscience, Psychiatry & The Therapeutic State, Therapeutic State