Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Schmicarus, Schmicarus, Where Are You?

Remember the story about Icarus? His dad crafted some strap-on wings. When Icarus took them for a spin, Dad warned him to stay away from the sun. Icarus ignored the warning and flew too high. The sun's heat melted the wax that held the wings together. They fell apart. Icarus fell to his death.
Everyone said Icarus was a dumbass who ignored danger and got what he deserved.
I'll add a detail to the myth. Icarus had a twin brother named Schmicarus. Shimicarus was a responsible fellow who passed on the chance to try the wings because it looked risky. Besides, he had to weed his potato* patch that day. While he was working in the field, his brother fell from the sky, crash landing on him at terminal velocity.
Everyone said Schmicarus was dumbass who ignored danger and got what he deserved. "Why didn't he get out of the way?" they said. "He knew his family was flying around in the first place. Duh!"
Why were they so hard on him? Because it's easier to twist someone's misfortune into a morality play than accept the fact that horrific things can happen to anyone.
Here's a chart with some examples. Heard any of this before?
Why victim "deserved it":
Home destroyed by natural disaster
"Everyone knows that area has floods( or fires, or tornadoes, or hurricanes, or earthquakes, or tsunamis, or landslides) What idiot builds a house there?"

"What was she doing in that neighborhood?"


"Why was he walking alone at that time of night"

on the sidewalk, sprained ankle

"Why didn't he watch where he was going?"

"That's what you get for eating meat (or processed foods, or non-organic, or dairy, or not taking vitamins)


"She must have done something wrong."


"He didn't think positive thoughts."

For more examples, check the comment section of any online news story about disaster and misfortune. Be it an accident, a disease, assault or a swarm of killer bees, there's always some jerk who claims the victim brought it on himself. I guess the world seems safer that way.


Within ten minutes of contemplating this irony and how it can lead to obnoxious statements, I read about a rock climbing accident in the paper and...

Maybe I should draw myself as the back end of a horse.

*potatoes are from South America and were thus unknown to Ancient Greece, but I'm the story teller here. The original Icarus story has him doing his splashdown in the Icarian sea, by the way.

1 comment:

GhostBuild said...

I think the bird likeness is a bit more becoming, no? :-)