Baby Doe … or the antidote to Pollyanna.


(Thanks to LP for the Twitter prompt)

I’m not going to kid you.

This story is not easy reading, but there are times when Americans need to leave behind our founding Pollyanna Principle, divert our gaze from mindless entertainment and cheap plastic baubles, and think.

Does it make your brain hurt?

So very sorry about that.

For as long as I can remember, the mantra has been repeated again and again: It’s their own fault. Those among us who are impoverished or ill equipped for whatever reason to make their way in life, well, its their problem. They must get better, so as not to disturb the self-congratulatory reverie inhabited by the rest of us. Can’t they just clean up after themselves and look improved?

It’s a variation of the Richard Nixon’s words in the movie, Where the Buffalo Roam: “Fuck the doomed.”

That’s one thing if you’re an adult. We can coerce compliance with an endless cycle of consumer debt, further your addiction to substances ranging from meth to Rally burgers, and if that doesn’t work, incarcerate you. Fuck the doomed, right?

But what about the children?

Baby Doe: A political history of tragedy, by Jill Lepore (New Yorker)

 … More than a hundred inches of snow fell in Boston last winter, storm after storm. So the Blizzard of 1978 was on my mind when, not long after daffodils poked up through the last of the long-lingering snow, the lifeless body of a little girl was discovered in a trash bag on Deer Island, cast away.

Further background is here.