Great articles by both gentlemen, and here’s my take. I’m a social worker (or antisocial worker, depending on my workload) at a large public hospital in New York City. One of my routine morning tasks is to monitor and document the transfer of patients from my own medicine inpatient unit to others. Occasionally the clerical logbook in which these transfers are noted simply say, “expired.” I’ve always hated that term, as it reduces a person to a carton of milk or an out-of-date drivers license. It’s just tacky. Inanimate, insensate objects wear out; but people, like Mr. Judge’s mother, actively die, regardless of whether the death is a willing one or not, or an ugly one or not. My own dad’s Visa to this world expired on a table in the ER and my last memory of him is his foot involuntarily twitching. Whatever else, the man was an active participant — he died.
Since death is humanity’s common fate the manner of passing is at least as important as the fact of passing, as thousands of years of cross-cultural rite and ritual have established. There are those who die well, and some who die badly. Most people, I suspect understand what that means. A “good” death is held to be painless, natural, honorable, dignified end that may or may not serve a noble, greater cause; a “bad death” is painful, degrading, isolating, and humiliating for the deceased. The one culminates in, say, a Viking funeral; the other in, say, a pauper’s mass grave. And there are some deaths that fall between these categories: a soldier, e.g., who perishes in battle, or an end-stage Alzheimer’s patient in a hospice setting, may have died an honorable death, but not necessarily a dignified one.p>Whether the victims of 9/11 died well or died poorly is something I can’t quite decide on. But I can’t quite bring myself to see them as martyrs as much as poor bastards who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The wives criticized by Ms. Coulter seem to be couching their criticisms in terms of martyrdom. I don’t know if the victim of a late-fifteenth-century auto-da-fe burning alive would see his end as “good” in the above sense, but I do know that martyrs are by definition willing victims. If this is what Ann was getting at, I’m glad her mouth is bigger than mine. If not, Ann, a little tact, okay? br> — Daniel A. Frater
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?