30 November 2012

the shocking spectacle of kindness.

Get ready. I'm about to take the gold in the Curmudgeon Olympics. If you're not in the mood for a little bile with your morning coffee, please look away now before it's too late.

First of all, I want to say that I think it's fucking great that a police officer in New York City took the time to get some boots and socks for a barefoot homeless man. Did you hear me? I think it's fucking great! You can't accuse me later on of not recognizing the fucking greatness of this isolated act of kindness and generosity—if that is in fact on your prosecutorial agenda.

BUT—you knew that was coming, didn't you?—what does it say about our society in general when one man's gift of rugged footwear to the homeless somehow qualifies as a national news sensation? 

Yeah, that's right. I'm going there... whether you're with me or not.

This commentary has absolutely nothing to do with that admirable police officer and everything to do with our pitiful standards and sad need to attach ourselves, like leeches, to someone else's magnanimity in order to feel better about the world. It's like this cop—this boot-bearing cop—gave half of America a handjob or something. That's how excited some people are to (merely) spectate at the scene of somebody else's charity. 

I know. People complain all the time that there is no good news to be had—and this little human interest story is supposed to mitigate that claim in some small way. If we have to listen to incessant stories about terrorism and war and murder and hate, aren't we entitled to a few pick-me-up stories about a do-gooder policeman? 

Well, call me a grump, but I think not actually having to live with terrorism and war and murder is the consolation prize most of us enjoy everyday. Try vacationing in Syria or Gaza sometime and then savor the ultimate in good news—that you don't actually live there!


  1. See, you love posts about Gay House Hunting or whatever, and I love posts like this—posts about humanity.

    What you say about people attaching themselves to the magnanimity of others in order to make themselves feel better, you are so right on. I like to believe the world is full of niches of human kindness. I have no idea why this particular story exploded the way it did (actually, this is the first I'm hearing about it...mostly I've been reading Shakespeare and listening to NPR. HA!), but I blame the pandering news media. And I suppose the drooling idiots to whom they are pandering. I just think this is not an isolated event—this sort of thing happens all the time. Is what I like to believe.

  2. I only have ONE working toilet in the house tonight. Fuck the homeless.