Earlier today, I happened to overhear a journalist bitterly venting their dismayed frustration. The cause of their frustration was the difference in the lesser attention towards an article about babies born addicted to opioids versus considerably more attention towards a report about Dog Kin. Of course it got me wondering how the difference could be.
Is it the power of the “Aww”? That cute factor that many people react and respond to. For many human animals, it’s a bit of genetically hard-wired instinct to react affectionately towards that which is cute. But that should apply to most any baby Animal, including the human variety.
Maybe it’s that folks go for that which feels easier. Donating, volunteering, sponsoring, rescuing, advocating, adopting, all these aspects towards Dog and Animal Kin feel easier than towards human babies. The path to helping Dog and Animal Kin is a bit clearer, even if the mountain of need for help can feel overwhelming and disheartening.
Human babies, however, are quite a lot more complicated and expensive; human babies born addicted to pain-killers are even more so. There’s also often negativity towards the mother what birthed that opioid addicted off-spring. Some folks likely feel some outrage and disgust as they contemplate a drug addict giving birth to a baby at all. They might think, ‘They shouldn’t have gotten pregnant in the first place. Now look what they’ve done. That’s another poor baby the rest of us will have to pay more into the system to support that should never have been conceived.’ There’s some rueful shaming, divisive disconnect towards what appears as irresponsible behavior, even if folks never say it outloud. Also it’s true, society does and will bear the expense of those in need. Given that, such matters should actually garner more attention, right?
Many people have set in their minds what a drug addict should look like. To their view, it’s someone living off the streets, hustling and hooking for that next fix and high. However, opioid addicts come in all shapes and circumstances, and always have. There could be a pain-killer addict sitting in the next cubicle, working diligently hard all day, never giving any outward hint of their addiction. For some pain-killers are life-supporting pharmaceuticals without which they feel they would be condemned to endure a life of considerable discomfort and difficulty or, to escape the pain, they’d end their lives outright.
Life can at times feel overwhelming, uncomfortable, difficult, frightening, incomprehensible and painful. Heavy issues like working for a retirement that may never come, dealing with weather and hellish travel, coping with intellectually and Spiritually unfulfilling jobs, the next round of cost of living increases wages won’t be able to cover and the possibility of having to work even more hours when there already feels to be too few hours to actually live. Then there’s all the terrifying stuff of the world; the next vicious attack by some brutal fanatic, worry for our Nation and the effect of current politics, the troubles of our environment and the state of the resources we all rely on.
An article on helping Dog Kin that evokes some bit of happier emotions, could certainly gain greater attention, even if just initially. Such a writing can be that much needed distraction from all the hardships of life. Many people tend to want to feel good or at least a little bit better, even if for just a few seconds. (There’s a bit of irony here because that want or need to feel better is the cause of pain-killer use.) That “Aww!” article can provide a momentary relief, a needed break from a reality that many times can feel overwhelming, heartbreaking, scary, infuriating, in general harder than one might have the resources to cope with. Then after that break, maybe with a bit of a tired sigh, generally we resume dealing with those harder issues.
Oh! Yes, here’s the Aww picture again. :} Ah! That feels a little bit better, yes?