I wondered about the emptiness of the phrases used by the media and by political figures, and how pro forma and lifeless and cold they are. The formalized language of loss hasn't kept up with the number of tragedies. "A nation mourns." "Our prayers are with you." The latter is both self-complimenting and of dubious believability. Did you really pray? Or is it just a phrase?
And this as opposed to the honest things normal people say: "Oh no." "I am so sorry." "I'm sad." "It's horrible."
With all the therapy in our great therapized nation, with all our devotion to emotions and feelings, one senses we are becoming a colder culture, and a colder country. We purport to be compassionate--we must respect Mr. Cho's privacy rights and personal autonomy--but of course it is cold not to have protected others from him. It is cold not to have protected him from himself.
Friday, April 20, 2007
A Cold Compassion
In the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre, Peggy Noonan considers the heartlessness of our media and therapy culture: