Miss Marple, Edmund Burke, movies, and healthcare

by Andrea Elizabeth

Instead of watching the Academy Awards, which I’d forgotten about, we watched Miss Marple, whom I’d never watched, much less read, before. Curious about the inspiration for this respected spinster sleuth, I queried Wikipedia, which gave some interesting accounts of her mother marrying her aunt’s husband’s American son, her unhappy first marriage which lead to a famous 11 day disappearance, and her being a nurse during WWI and working in a pharmacy during WWII, giving her a very good knowledge of poisons. On the critical side,

Twenty-five years after her death, critic Johann Hari notes “In its ugliest moments, Christie’s conservatism crossed over into a contempt for Jews, who are so often associated with rationalist political philosophies and a ‘cosmopolitanism’ that is antithetical to the Burkean paradigm of the English village.

This lead me to look up Edmund Burke. Though I can’t find anything about villages or Jews in the article, I do sense a kindred spirit. He has some very interesting things to say about both the American (which he was for) and the French (which he was against) Revolutions, as well as about being English.

Back to villages. When people talk about the advantages of modernity, their most convincing argument seems to be about advances in medicine that have dramatically decreased infant mortality, communicable diseases, and alleviated so many other ills. I suppose I’m torn because stories of primitive little village doctors making house-calls and tribal natural medicine (not necessarily shamanism) are so appealing. The quandary comes when a person is forced with a choice in the modern age. It seems village people always cave in once their child or other loved one gets sick. Now with extremely expensive cures available, it seems that one has to participate in a more and more global pool to afford and have access to them. Cranford and The Village have some interesting things to say about that. I suppose there’s no going back, but I fear that letting people go will become more and more difficult as time goes on. And this will lead to more and more dependence on global economies, as well as increasing the difficulty in deciding to what measures one should go to preserve a life.

Back to Miss Marple. In one mystery, I wont give the title and thus spoil the plot, Miss Marple showed a disturbing lack of consideration for the humanity of  the two murder victims. They were annoying characters, and the sympathy was for the murderer, who was mercifully euthanized by her loving husband who didn’t think her delicate constitution could handle the trial and imprisonment. Miss Marple let him get by with it. I believe our culture has an intolerance for being annoyed or discomforted, and believes that certain classes, if not races, and genders shouldn’t be, at all costs. When one feels that this is unjust, then is he going to say that everyone should be pampered, no matter what the cost?

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