Dear Dr. Ted,
“If suicide be supposed a crime, 'tis only cowardice can impel us to it. If it be no crime, both prudence and courage should engage us to rid ourselves at once of existence, when it becomes a burden” (DAVID HUME, Essays on Suicide and the Immortality of the Soul). The world and its people are in this very bind. Half the population sees suicide or active euthanasia as morally right, and the other half see it as going against Gods untimely plan or all around cowardly. Death, a taboo topic in the lives of many human beings, while at the same time being portrayed in all forms of entertainment today, has sparked a colossal wide spread panic. Ever since Germanys own Dr. Goebbels produced the movie “I Accuse” which promoted mercy killing (an idea that was later used by Hitler and his Holocaust), every movie ever produced in the United States since that time, has been under scrutiny. For instance, the recently acclaimed movie “Million Dollar Baby”; pro-life activists are claiming that the movie is promoting death in disability and terminally ill cases, as portrayed in the psychotic history behind “I Accuse”.
During the time Adolf Hitler reigned as Fuehrer, his influence over the German people was incredible. At the time, creating the perfect “Arian Race” was at the top of the ‘to do list’ and accomplishing this required terminating those who were “life unworthy of life”. Dr. Goebbels, a Nazi propaganda minister, used “radio, press, cinema and theater to exploit the Jews, Evangelical Christians, handicapped Germans and other groups”, hoping the German people would realize that, without these imperfect peoples, they would be the superior, strong and perfect race that Hitler knew them to be. When the acclaimed movie “I Accuse” came out to the public, it was the deciding factor that led thousands of the imperfects to their demise; the movie was made to promote and make light, the deaths of the unwanted. Dr. Goebbels fictional story was made to persuade the audiences that these insignificant people were put on this earth, so the German people could discover through the leadership of the Fuehrer, that a perfect race exists; and that putting these (Jews, Evangelical Christians, disabled…etc) out of their misery because they would never measure up to the “Arian Race”, would be the humane thing to do. The point of this movie was not only to promote a sympathetic death, but to also persuade the people to vote for mercy killing; so it would not be looked upon as a massacre but, instead, the offering of a peaceful/painless sleep transition into death, for those who suffer with their “imperfections”.
“Million Dollar Baby” begins with young woman named Maggie (Hilary Swank), working her way pay check to pay check while training to become a professional boxer. She is soon taken under the wing of Frankie (Clint Eastwood) a professional trainer. Together they climbed the ladder and managed to reach the peak of her career when the unexpected happened; she became paralyzed from the neck down from a dirty blow by one of her contenders during a championship fight. In the end, because of her condition, Maggie chose to die and asked Frankie to assist her in her death. Now, “Million Dollar Baby” is a work of fiction. There is no real truth behind the story, and groups of individuals are becoming worked up, over the fact that the young woman in the end decides to be assisted in death. “Million Dollar Baby”, like so many other academy award winning movies, is trying to grasp the audience’s attention by showing how a grumpy old man with no family (except a daughter who never writes back to him), could come to love a spunky young woman, like a daughter, and help her achieve a part of her dream; while having a sad and tragic ending. The National Spinal Cord Injury Association reported to the Los Angeles Times that, “the movie was part of a larger bias Eastwood holds against the disabled.” “Rush Limbaugh blasted ‘Million Dollar Baby’ as a ‘million dollar euthanasia movie’”. Was the premise behind this movie to radically promote euthanasia? Or was this movie, like many others, produced to simply tell a story and touch the hearts of millions worldwide?
It all comes down to a matter of choice; to live or to die, to be or not to be, yes or no. Each individual has a life path that manifests into a direction of higher learning, which leads to finding their lesson, need, or direction. Through these sequences of events every individual finds their message or answer. After watching “Million Dollar Baby”, if a person decides that Frankie helping Maggie to die was the wrong choice, and that she could have still lived a full life, that is the lesson they have learned. With that, it will lead this person down the path to starting a pro-life organization or saying no when a loved one is asking for their help in achieving death, and showing them how to live on through life. Maybe this person thought it was the right thing to do, then there mission or path in life would be to help those who don’t understand why dying is the most reasonable. There is no one answer to one sequence of events; everybody has an individual lesson that they learn. In my opinion, “Million Dollar Baby” was a great movie. There was never one second that I believed that this movie was trying to tell me that death instead of disability is healthier. Not for a moment did I believe that Clint Eastwood made this movie to belittle the disabled; nor try and offend pro-life organizations. In fact, I believe this movie was made to bring about the attention of the choices one would face if you or, someone you knew, was in a position like this. The idea comes down to your heart within your mind, which holds your beliefs, that gives you a choice to make. Truthfully, I believe there will always be points in life where the world will choose to accept an idea, then gradually find out whether it was the wrong or right choice, by the ideas or lessons people are taught from them. “I Accuse” was one of the choices that went through trial and error and was found to be wrong; while “Million Dollar Baby” is still going through trial and error.
“Million Dollar Baby” was never made to become a Neo-Nazi propaganda film. The film was only portrayed in this way because someone made the choice to compare it to one. The world is only labeling the award winning movie as ‘Neo-Nazi’, because someone who is strongly pro-life, threw a fit and complained to the press; this exploited the movie making it a huge controversy. However, the choice to decide whether “Million Dollar Baby” is trying to secretly promote an idea is left with people; yes, the opinions of others can always influence that choice, but deep down it is what they come to conclude that truly matters.
Thank you for your time! Sincerely, Cierra