Monday, February 07, 2005

Million Dollar Baby Controversy


An interesting controversy has erupted over the Clint Eastwood/Hillary Swank flick.

According to the linked CNN article, some conservative and handicapped advocacy groups are upset that the movie depicts a handicapped individual who would rather commit suicide then continue with life. In the movie the boxer portrayed by Swank is crippled and decides she would rather not live and she asks her coach, Eastwood, to help end it all and he does.

The groups are upset for a variety of reasons. Some say it promotes assisted suicides and others say it belies the idea that the severely handicapped can still lead productive lives. If nothing else the movie will likely kick start the argument over whether an individual has the right to decide whether to live or die.

Suicide is an interesting phenomena. It is the most personal of choices, yet it's regulated by law. Quite simply, it's illegal and while you can't be imprisoned for committing suicide you can be arrested and sent to a home for the eternally befuddled.

Should the law care whether a person decides to kill themselves? I don't know. Perhaps the decision to end your life proves you are mentally unbalanced and thus incapable of making such a decision. That argument being would any physically healthy, sane person make such a choice, of course not. So call the ambulance to take you to your room at St. Confused.

On the other hand if you are faced with a situation like Swank's character in the movie then perhaps ending your life is the sanest of decisions. This person simply cannot take living as a quadriplegic and would suffer a life of mental torture if forced to live.

It's an interesting topic to discuss and while Million Dollar Baby's creators may have unintentionally started a debate. In my opinion this is perhaps the highest honor a movie can attain.


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