Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The banality of our news

I read with great interest a piece by Adam B. Ellick entitled "My 'Small Video Star' Fights for Her Life". It's about Malala Yousafzai, the fourteen-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot by Taliban troglodytes for the effrontery of seeking an education.

It's maddening to contemplate people whose mindset is so warped that seeking an education is blasphemous. The kind of world to which such fanatics would deliver us is unthinkably repugnant. If we, as a species, give in to these proudly bigoted men who embrace ignorance and murder in the name of their religious "devotion", we as a species deserve to go extinct — and we will.

But that's not why I'm writing this. No, the reason for this piece is that once I was done reading Ellick's touching remembrance of his experiences interviewing Yousafzai and her father in 2009, I meandered back up the Web page to see if there were links to related articles. What I found was that the Times' Lede blog was focusing heavily on the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.

Apparently something happened today in connection with Armstrong, I don't know what. After reading Ellick's piece, I don't care. In fact, I find it impossible imagining ever caring about Armstrong's travails again.

On the one hand, we have the story of a courageous young woman who symbolizes the hopes of who knows how many young women in Pakistan, and probably around the world, who can only dream of being educated, who can only dream of the chance at improving their lot. On the other hand, we have a guy who, until recently, rode a bike for a living.

Nothing against Armstrong or his vocation, but the fact that his woes dominate the headlines is sad. We are more interested in a sports figure whose immediate relevance to the lot of mankind is nil, than in a girl whose personal struggle encapsulates one of the most basic and most important conflicts humanity faces: the battle between intolerant reactionaries who believe their cherished world-view is under siege from modernity, and the rest of us.

Where the hell are our priorities?

No comments:

Post a Comment