Thank you, those who recommended Broadchurch! We are loving it.
In the third season, though, I ran into a snag that’s poisoning my enjoyment of the show. A rape victim gets assigned a “victim advocate,” an uneducated, unqualified, utterly stupid woman in a failed marriage who’s trying to treat the victim’s trauma with a collection of confidently spouted cliches. This is quite accidental to the plotline but I can’t get over it. We wouldn’t let some random person off the street drill our teeth, would we? Is our mind more primitive than our teeth?
Careless, stupid “therapy” conducted by people who have a million of psychological problems of their own can do terrible damage. I’ve seen some really sad cases where traumatized people were driven into depression or even suicidal thoughts by these pseudo-specialists who use patients to dump their emotional garbage on them. And I’m upset that a popular TV show presents such behavior as normal. It’s emotional vampirism at its worst.
It’s a great show otherwise, though. Beautiful scenery, lovely accents, great stories.
There are short stories that you enjoy because they are great works of art. Or at least passable ones. But there are also stories that communicate valuable information, and Mary Lerner’s “Little Selves” (1916) belongs to that category. It tells us about the death of Margaret O’Brien, a 75-year-old spinster, who realizes that her end is near and embarks on a journey towards death.
Margaret lived her life in a world in which everybody existed until a little over 100 years ago. It is a world where there is no firm boundary between the magical and the real. God is everywhere, spirits are everywhere, leprechauns and fairies are all over the place. People were the closest to the world of the spirits in childhood and then returned to it at death’s door. Death meant something completely different. It wasn’t an unrelieved horror but more of a return to a state of complete enchantment. This kind of a relatiosnhip with death is impossible today, and that’s really sad. Outside of the rapidly shrinking religious circles, we no longer have any narrative whatsoever about the meaning of death. We don’t deal with it at all and pretend it is not there. People who are terminally ill or were recently touched by a relative’s death are avoided. We assign moral value to sickness and death, trying to dupe ourselves into thinking that if we are good enough death won’t come for us.
In the end, we are a lot less happy than Margaret O’Brien whose now outdated and despised worldview gives her a much more dignified and even enjoyable way to die.