Wallowing In Misery

I don’t know if this is an American trait or if it is world-wide, but we sure do love to wallow in misery.

to indulge oneself in possessions, emotion, etc: to wallow in self-pity.

The Boston Globe is just one example that is pretty typical across all of our media.  Here is a sampling of headlines in today’s newspaper.

  1. Marathon victims’ families attend brief, quiet ceremony
  2. The resilience of optimism
  3. Emotional impact of attack runs deep, wide in Boston
  4. Year since bombings proved Boston was always strong
  5. Marathon bombing anxiety likely to return in children
  6. A year since Marathon attacks, many of wounded struggle
  7. Marathon victims’ families, survivors gather in Boston
  8. Boston Globe wins Pulitzer for Marathon bombing coverage
  9. Businesses on Boylston say it’s time to have fun again
  10. ‘Stronger’ by Jeff Bauman with Bret Witter
  11. Would better data have helped?

I haven’t actually read any of the stories above, but I feel safe in making comments about them.  The pattern is so familiar.

The pattern that takes the cake is the one presumably in item 5 Marathon bombing anxiety likely to return in children.  The Boston Globe reports to its complete amazement the lingering effects.  They no doubt have no self-awareness of the role that The Boston Globe itself plays in perpetuating the anxiety.

We just cannot seem to let this story go.  We want to hold onto the pain and misery as long as we possibly can.  We keep wanting to relive the victimhood that those awful people imposed on us.  It is almost – if we never forget it or even let it sink lower down in our memories, then we will be punishing the perpetrators.  We never seem to think that holding onto these memories and continually refreshing them is a way to elevate the perpetrators to mythical status.  Is there anything good that a person could do that would prolong their fame and glory as long as the memory of what an evildoer “accomplishes”?

What other disasters  do we seem to love to celebrate – Pearl Harbor, The Twin Towers attack, Oklahoma City bombing, Fort Hood Shooting, Columbine, Sandy Hook?

Perhaps this wallowing takes our minds off the real and solvable problems we face.  I am just grasping at straws for an explanation.  Perhaps you have a better one.


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