The Passion of the Living-Dead: Terri Schiavo

Eugene Halton



          Terri Schiavo does not experience pain. She does not experience pleasure. She does not experience at all. She has spent fifteen years in a bed, hooked up to a feed-tube in a “persistant vegetative state.” And the tube has been unplugged for what appears to be a final time, stirring widespread concern.  But why?


          What is the worst thing one can do to an America cowering from reality? Hiding behind fundamentalist religion, fearing the sexual body, so fearing the threat of terrorism that it will give up its liberties to feel invulnerable? What is the worst thing one can do to automatized America? Pull its mental gastrostomy tube.


          Obese America, paying obeisance to mall Molochs, oinking at the food-glut troughs, obediently conforming to the dictates of consumerism: all in a doomed attempt to escape life, to become invulnerable.


          America: land of the unfree, home of the cowering: save me from The Terrorist; save me from Janet Jackson’s breast; save me from Jesus. Wait.


          Terri Schiavo is the mirror representing the ultimate destination of this mind-set, the delusion of invulnerability. She tragically personifies the living-dead, utterly unable to experience anything, tube-fed by the machine, like those masses of humans who serve as batteries for the machine in The Matrix film. No wonder those death-fearing Americans invoke God-fearing. They sense, somewhere deep in the privacy of what remains of their souls, that they too are living-dead, cut off from their spontaneous feelings, tube-feeding themselves literally and metaphorically to death. Revenge of the tele-tubbied zombies.


          The television tube, the fundamentalist tube, the obesity tube, the mall tube, the bigger car tube, the bigger house tube, the more toys the better tube, all the tubes that comprise The Great Feed Tube that is America today, land of the living-dead, all designed to delude it into invulnerability, terrorized of really living or dying. Down the tube: the passion of the living-dead.

                                                                             March 23, 2005






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