Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Lottery

The Lottery, a short story by Shirley Jackson, published in 1948 tells the story of a village that annually condemns one citizen, chosen by random ballot, to a death by stoning. The purpose of which is not religious, like Aztecs with virgins, but rather to focus everyone's problems into a single scapegoat. A scapegoat impugned perhaps with the virtual guilt of all of the villagers.

Almost every week, CNN or some other network, chooses a "victim" that represents all of the troubles and sorrows of the world. Americans focus all of the concern, their watercooler & coffee shop chat, their calls to radio talkshows, etc., on this one person with their special problem.

Many American's believe this problem really is the biggest problem in the country at the time: A boy trapped in a well; A brain-dead woman on life support; A drunk driving celebrity "parasite"; suddenly become the most important issue of the day.

Maybe we should stone Britney.

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