Monday, January 27, 2014

"it's to die for!"

 Wispy connections that may have no connection at all...

-- An estimated eight million horses were killed during World War I, or about half the more than 16 million people who died during the same conflict. Is it just me or is it more widely true that the equine slaughter throws the raging obscenity that is war into sharper relief? "Go ahead," some voice in my head says, "go ahead and kill each other if you find that insanity compelling. But don't drag your faithful servants down with you."

-- In the closer-to-the-bone times of the Depression -- not the current one that talking heads insist on calling the Great Recession -- U.S. newspapers were not shy about using suicides as filler material ... the one- or two- or three-paragraph tales which might fill out a journalistic column that came up short in the 1930's. "Mrs. Sally Jones," a newspaper report might announce laconically, "was found dead with her head in the oven." Suicide by oven seemed to be a pretty ordinary event I noticed when doing some research a number of years ago ... a cheap, available tool that was, comparatively, less messy.

-- Self-destructive behavior that analysts can't quite bring themselves to positively link with economic hard times continues in India where more than 17,500 financially-pressed farmers killed themselves between 2002 and 2006.

-- Locally, Greenfield, a community 20 miles north of where I live, has reported (in the first 14 days of this year) an "eight-fold increase in heroin or other opiate overdoses over the same period last year." Only one of the eight cases was fatal. This hardly compares with the plight of the Indian farmers or the distress of the Depression, but somehow the two place themselves side-by-side in my head: Self-destruction as a recourse or salvation or way of being.

-- If "it's to die for!" is a descriptive of what is most desirable about life, is "it's to live for!" a descriptive of what is most desirable about death?

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