Archive for October 13th, 2011
During the health care debate, and even now, you hear tales of how terrible the Canadian single provider health care system is. How Canadians can’t get treatment and come to the U.S. so they can get the care they need. We’ve all heard the anecdotes.
And that’s what those stories turn out to be: anecdotes. Using three different methodologies, a publication in a peer-reviewed journal, Health Affairs, looked at how many Canadians actually do come to the U.S. for treatment.
The answer, despite all the stories, is a vanishingly small percentage. And the numbers in this chart include Canadians who required medical treatment while visiting in the U.S.
All of which is why WC puts little credence in anecdotal evidence and more in science. If you hadn’t guessed.
The late, great Percy Walker said,
The great poets and novelists always wrote about the nature of God and love, of man and woman. But how can even Dante write about the love of God, the love of a man for a woman, if he lives in a society in which God is the cheapest word of the media, as profaned by radio preachers as by swearing. And ‘love?’ Love is the way sit-com plots and soap operas get resolved a hundred times a week.
This is why writers turn to parody, and satire, and derision, because the true things have been so corrupted, and everyone seems to be colluding in their corruption. So the writer feels he must mock and subvert the words and symbols of the day in order that new words come into being or that old words be freshly minted.
And Tony Woodlief adds,
And so there is this old word called love, and what can we say of it, now? It has been perverted, by songs and books and perhaps worst of all by that variety of Orwellian preacher who crafts a hateful god and calls him Love. It has been perverted by every one of us who has whispered it without meaning it, who let it become passive feeling instead of convicted action.
Last week, WC spent some time with a nice enough young lady visiting from out of town, but in the course of one five minute conversation she told WC she “loved” three different things: Market Spice Tea, border collies and some current reality television show WC had never heard named.
Which may explain why WC takes refuge in the satire and parody of the great Terry Pratchett, who manages to amuse and instruct his readers without cheapened sentiment.
“He’s in love,” said Gaspode. “It’s very tricky.”
“Yeah, I know how it is,” said the cat sympathetically. “People throwing old boots and things at you.”
- Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures
Love is tricky. The use of the word is tricky, too. WC wishes we had a useful set of words with shades of meaning, instead of the one poor, overused word. Instead, we mock it, gently, as Pratchett did here, or less gently, as in most hip-hop songs. Yet most humans value it above gold. How odd that while we our language has dozens of words for taboo subjects like sexual intercourse, but so few for something that matters to so many.