I’ve written recently about a rather pervasive culture of apathy the developed world has seemed to be infected with lately. In the United Kingdom, they dispose of aborted and miscarried babies not with funerals–or even with any sense of sensitivity to the Enlightenment ideal of human dignity–but rather as kindling to stoke the furnaces of hospitals.
Back in the U.S., news hasn’t broken as of yet that we’ve treated 55 million dead bodies in the 41 years since Roe in the same fashion–as an aside, what exactly have we done with them?–but our throw-away culture is no less grim. Over 40 percent of children are born to single, never-married mothers. Exclusivity and longevity within marriages have given way to the conveniences of casual sex and no-fault divorces. The pattern is growing roots, and to conscript a familiar platitude: why buy the cow when the milk is free?
Men reduce women to assemblages of body parts for temporary trysts, and more and more women don’t place any expectations on men when action meets consequence. In other words: goodbye tradition, hello instant gratification.
A throw-away culture, like any disease, has its tell-tale signs. It’s in our language and in our behaviors, and in a 24-hour news and social media cycle, it’s difficult to process one instance of societal decay before another declares itself:
~Over the weekend, revelations came out of Utah that a 39-year old woman over the course of a decade had birthed seven healthy, gurgling babies and then proceeded to murder them and store their bodies at her now-former house. In the course of cleaning out the garage after she had moved–family members of her estranged husband live there now–the body of the first infant was discovered in a plastic bag, and subsequently, the rest were found in separate containers.
Stories of infanticide aren’t new. Although mainstream media didn’t care much for the story–inexplicably, considering their fascination with sociopathic serial killers and human tragedy–many people are aware of the human abattoir surrounding the abortionist and all-around scumbag Kermit Gosnell. That such malice exists shouldn’t be surprising anymore. What’s unfortunate, however, is the description that HLN’s Nancy Grace chose to illustrate the ugliness of the Utah babies’ demise:
This spring cleaning turns deadly—when cops find the bodies of 7 dead infants hidden in a garage #BoxesOfBabies
— Nancy Grace (@NancyGraceHLN) April 15, 2014
#BoxesOfBabies. Clever. Catchy, too! One expects to find old boxes of ragged clothes, or old children’s toys. But boxes of children themselves? How utterly unexpected! This story needed a ready hashtag, and doggone it, Ms. Grace was going to be the one to grace us with it. See, I can be clever, too!
This tweet hints first at emotional detachment in search of a memorable tagline, but hits home as nothing but shock-jock ratings pimping. Such flippancy in the face of a seven-fold murder and the unceremonious storage of babies in the functional equivalent of Ziploc bags is shameful, and a not-so-subtle reminder that some would make light of even the dead to broadcast to the world “hey, my show is on at 8 Eastern”.
~Babies aren’t the ones receiving cool treatment from their fellow bipeds. These children were put to death by their mother, but if some men had their way, they’d march other mothers–or daughters, or sisters–to the front of a firing line to face death on their behalf.
The standoff between federal authorities, the Bundy family and their supporters in Nevada is too convoluted to recount here–I suggest Google and an evening to spare reading–but every committed group has a good battle plan. And if “push came to shove”, the “battle” plan of the citizen discontents appeared to be something akin to the “we-men-always-do-the-fighting-so-this-time-put-the-women-up-front-to-absorb-the-opening-salvo-” strategy:
Yes, because the only thought that would have crossed people’s minds would have been “how dare they shoot those women?”
Thankfully, no shots were fired, so now we’re left to ponder the cowardice of the other relevant thought: the idea that allegedly “men” would line up women in front of themselves as shields to be the first casualties of the Civil War, Part Deux.
Ladies first, indeed. Except it’s not who gets to be first through the door any longer. Now, it’s who is first to be relieved of the burden of having a head.
When the Titanic sank, men still adhered to the apparently caveman notion that they were responsible for the lives of the fairer sex as well as the kiddos. As such, it was “women and children first”, while the men puckered up and went down with the ship. Of the 1600+ men who made the journey, only 20% were pulled alive from the water. Half the children and three-quarters of the women survived.
It’s a bit different these days. Some men today seemingly feel no sense of unease about women they obstensively care for accepting injury or death on their behalf. Gender roles may not be absolute, but they’re still significant. Historically, men have shouldered the burden of protector to great avail: while men fought the wars, women could focus on caring for and educating the next generation, unmolested by skirmish or violence. Modern civilization was built on this axiom.
One that a segment of society is currently prepared to do away with in order to curry sympathy from the masses, in a conflict that reeks of both legal complexity and ethical uncertainty. Call me old-fashioned, but a culture that would so brazenly risk the lives of women, in so bold a manner, in a fashion so anathema to its roots, is one that faces a bleak future.
Chivalry might not be dead, but today it was knocked down a few pegs.
To our detriment.