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Friday, September 26, 2014

Caring children of aging parents - or selfish ingrates?

Brussels, Belgium.

The place where, when Francis and Anna were young teenagers, the Nazis began the Belgian part of their atrocities known collectively as the Holocaust almost immediately upon conquering it.

You know. The Holocaust. The Jews being rounded up and enslaved and exterminated. The Holocaust, meaning the Jewish experience, is the largest part of the Nazi atrocities. Nazi euthanasia of undesirables began first, then Jews were determined to be undesirable, and it continued with Catholics and other Christians when Jews became scarce.

Nazi euthanasia is based on the notion of the right to death. Of course, they believed that the State owned the right to kill. But even pro-euthanasia and pro-assisted suicide laws today show that it is the state that governs the right to kill. It is the state who decides, among those who kill innocent people, who are to be prosecuted for murder and who are to be allowed to kill with impunity.

Francis and Anna are old, but basically in good health. They each fear living in loneliness should the other one die first, and so have decided to die together. They will be euthanized voluntarily even though there is nothing wrong with them except fear of something that might not happen.

You would think their loving children would step up and say, Hey Mom and Dad, don't worry! We'll all miss whichever of you should go first, but the other should not fear loneliness because you still have us and your grandchildren! We'll take care of you!

No, they said, in effect, You know what, we can't take care of either of you should one of you die, so we're totally behind your decision to kill yourselves.

The kids, in fact, have done the legwork and found a practitioner willing to kill their parents.

My God, if Belgium were a sane nation, the children and practitioner would be considered murderers. This is murder-for-hire. The doctor is a hit man. In another age, this would be a plot line for Columbo or Kojak or Murder She Wrote.

But, those old fashioned shows are long gone in 2014, and now it is the State in Belgium that owns the right to kill, and has decided that such children and practitioners are not to be prosecuted.

Francis and Anna are, basically, cowards. They fear living alone. They fear living alone and wiping out their savings on staying alive alone. They would commit suicide but "it takes courage," they say, to jump out a window or into a river or hang yourself. But getting a doctor to give you a lethal injection "does not take courage."

Don't Francis and Anna remember the Nazis? They were 15 and 12, respectively, when the Nazis conquered them, and 20 and 17 when the Nazis were defeated. Only 5 years later, with the Nazi atrocities still fresh on everyone's minds, they would be married.

What were they doing during the occupation? Were they Nazi sympathizers? Resisters? Colluders? What? Given that they're cowards, I would expect they're the kind that ratted on their neighbors out of fear of the Germans.

And their kids were oh so eager to help their parents. The parents can't wait for their death day. And who could blame them, with kids like that?

Hey, I wonder... if Francis and Anna's savings are not used up on living alone, who gets the money? Just wondering.

The Brits are looking at this aghast. One politician said, "This is an example of a very dangerous use of euthanasia in entirely inappropriate circumstances. What it demonstrates is that the most stringent safeguards would be needed if this was going to be legalised in the UK."

No, M'Lord, what it demonstrates is that the definition of appropriate circumstances cannot be limited by cruel people who want to limit other people's autonomy and take away the right to kill innocent people for money and the right to be rid of burdensome relatives for a fee. Cruel people like yourself, M'Lord.

A British celebrity has noted that the casual practice of euthanasia in Belgium had developed from a law designed initially for hard cases. She said, "'Once you allow a doctor to assist you to end your life when the patient defines when they are suffering I think you are opening the door to an extension of that law."

No kidding.

"It may be everyone's intention that initially it will be only for a small group of people but how you monitor that and how you enforce that is practically impossible."


"It is terrifying where this could go," she added.

Well, that just depends on your perspective. I think it might be exciting to someone who is a kid with a burdensome relative with a savings account you'd inherit, a coward facing some common hardship, or a doctor who charges a fee for the service.

Or a Nazi.

I think the Nazis never relinquished control of Belgium.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Does everything have to be sooooo over the top?

Some folks in London are "shocked and saddened" that people found their idea to serve "Death Row Dinners" disgusting.

I will tell them precisely where their interesting idea went bad. But first a little background.

Here's a version of the news from Fox about the social media backlash. These blokes, whoever they are, thought it would be a good idea to start a restaurant that catered to the notion of what people would like for their last dinner ever. That is to say, if you knew you when you were going to die and could have anything in the world for your last meal, what would it be?

They called it Death Row Dinners.

Their materials showed an array of somber and not very attractive mug shots,  presumably of people who are terrible criminals and guilty of God knows what, with a placard around their necks featuring the menu of their last meal choice. I don't know - perhaps that was the restaurant's actual menu.

They described the dining experience with words related to being in jail, being arrested, being sentenced to death, and all that.

It was over the top with the whole execution motif.

Here's their apology:

“We're shocked and saddened by the response to Death Row Dinners and are genuinely very sorry for any offence caused. The pop up [a kind of restaurant in the UK] is intended to explore the concept of last meals; anyone who has ever been to a dinner party has probably had this conversation – what would they love their last meal to be. In light of the response to the idea we are considering our next steps and will update everyone with our decision.”

Notice what they're shocked and saddened by. Shocked, they were, that anyone was offended.

Yes, we've all sat around the dinner table discussing our favorite foods, and how we'd like to part from earthly life if food were a part of that event.

But this is where these entrepreneurs went wrong.

They went over the top with the death experience and death row and death and jail and death. Did I mention death? "What you'd like for your last meal" really isn't about the death experience at all - it's about the meal. Those conversations are about favorite foods. By making the dining experience about dying, disgusting criminals, their unspoken disgusting deeds deserving death, their deaths, their last means, and relating all of that to your diners' deaths and making them feel like they're also disgusting criminals - that is, by keeping death and gruesomeness so in-you-face in over-the-top fashion, they destroyed all possible enjoyment of the food.

They propose this as a restaurant.

People go to a restaurant to enjoy life, and food.

Ugh. And they're shocked, shocked I tell you!, that this caused offense.

I'm shocked, shocked!, that they're shocked.

This may seem totally unrelated, but I am officially also not a fan of the new Star Trek movies anymore for a very similar reason. They have their good points, but they are also so over the top, that as a long-time Star Trek fan, they have robbed my enjoyment of the Star Trek universe. There was some element of believability in the original series and the Next Generation. But the new stories - totally unbelievable. The characters are good, the cast is good, the stories have some good points. But things are too big, too flashy, too dramatic, too stylized - it's too over the top. I mean seriously, just how big is Kirk's Enterprise, that he has to run miles to get to the warp core, and what the heck is that thing he has to kick, and why is there soooo much wasted and unnecessary SPACE around it, in a fairly early starship design?

But back to food.... Does everything have to be so sweet that it's sickening? Hot sauces that are so hot they put people in the hospital?

Does everything have to be extreme in order to be good?

We have lost all sense of virtue, which holds a middle course. We do not know what "just right" is anymore because we don't know what "right" is to begin with.

Those entrepreneurs are SHOCKED that people are upset. Really. SHOCKED? Really? Their reaction is over the top too. Extreme.

That anyone could be shocked that people are disgusted by disgusting things associated with what could be their very favorite foods is itself shocking.

By the way, the UK is so disgusted with the very idea of "death row" it doesn't have a death penalty. A fine place to start a restaurant called Death Row Dinners.