Mindy Newell: Quality of Life

Law & Order SVU Comic Book Guy

I just finished watching an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – it’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m addicted to the USA network marathons of the show on Sunday afternoons. The episode was actually one that I’ve never seen before, and it turned out that the perp was the mildly developmentally disabled – what we called retarded in the bad old days – owner of a comic book store. Perpetuating the stale old myth that anyone into comics has to be emotionally and intellectually limited with sexually perverse lusts. Way to go, SVU! That really pissed me off. (And yes, real comics were mentioned, including The Avengers and Justice League.)

On Friday I stopped by my brother’s house; it turned out that he and my niece went to see Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Martha (as fellow ComicMix columnist Marc Alan Fishman calls it) and both were completely disgusted by it. “Ridiculously violent,” my brother said. “Stupid,” said my succinct niece. “We live in a violent world, and the movies reflect that,” said I.

Chuck Todd interviewed George Clooney, who hosted two California fund-raisers for Hillary Clinton on Saturday and Sunday, on NBC’s Meet the Press this morning. Tickets cost between $33,400 and $353,400 to hobnob with Hillary and other bigwigs (raising $15,000,000). Clooney agreed with Todd that this amount of money is “obscene.” He then went on to say:

“I think what’s important and what I think the Clinton campaign has not been very good at explaining is this, and this is the truth: the overwhelming amount of money that we’re raising (and it is a lot) but the overwhelming amount of the money that we’re raising is not going to Hillary to run for President, it’s going to the [Democratic] ticket. It’s going to the congressmen and senators to try to take back Congress. And the reason that’s important…to me is because we need – I’m a Democrat so if you’re a Republican, you’re going to disagree – but we need to take the senate back. Because we need to confirm the Supreme Court justice because that fifth vote on the Supreme Court can overturn Citizens United and get this obscene, ridiculous amount of money out so I never have to do a fundraiser again. And that’s why I’m doing it.”

I get what he’s saying, I really, really do. But it still doesn’t feel right or sit well with me.

Clooney also said that, although he is a Hillary backer, he will totally “feel the Bern” if Sanders gets the nomination and will be absolutely happy to participate in fundraising for him if asked to do so by the candidate.

I just wonder…would Bernie ask?

We all talk about “quality of life.” Euthanasia proponents wear the phrase on their t-shirts. And we are told to have, what’s called in my trade, “Advance Directives,” so that if we become unable to articulate our medical treatment desires for whatever reason, our wishes are already written down and notarized and signed, sealed and delivered into the hands of our, as we say in the trade, “healthcare proxies” who can advocate for us when we can’t advocate for ourselves.

I saw my father. He definitely has no “quality of life.” He receives what is called in the trade “palliative care.” He is not in pain – thank God! Though since he cannot really communicate anymore, God knows what kind of inner, emotional pain he’s in. I like to think that when he sleeps or when he is in that dream-state into which I and the rest of my family cannot cross, he is sitting in the cockpit of his beloved P-51D Mustang – the one with the Rolls-Royce Merlin 66 two-stage, two-speed supercharged engine (the definitive version) because one time my mother asked him where he was, and he said that he was “in the hangar.”

My mother and he will be married 68 years this June. There were times when I thought it was over, done, kaput. They are everything to each other. Does he dream of their courtship, of their wedding day, of their early years together?

Do androids dream of electric sheep?

My father is not an android.

But does he dream?