July 28, 2003

The Fragility of the Flesh

Sad story of the emotional and spiritual carnage suffered by the nine Western Pennsylvanian miners trapped and rescued last year. One of the rescuers killed himself, apparently in part because of the stress of fame and the bitter anger of many of the miners, who couldn't understand why he was cut in on the movie deal (and receiving $150,000 like they did). The pettiness is surreal, but small towns seem to have this claustrophobic atmosphere that can make small things huge. People in big cities suffer from anomie and isolation, but it's not all sweetness and light in small towns. Many of the miners are now on antidepressants; the one practicing Catholic in the group is still working and seems the most happy.

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