Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Nation of Spectators

So tomorrow night we will watch the best college football athletes in the nation battle it out for the title. Soon we will watch the best professional footballers do the same for the 'world title', and, as a country, we remain enamored with champions. Unfortunately we, as a nation also remain enamored of celebrity of any sort, but that is another rant.

At least with the athletes, and, I might add, with those in the combat arms, excellence is admired, and rewarded, and only a few care much what the athletes that can run and jump and catch and throw better than the rest of us make for compensation. It strikes me that the realm of athletic competition is the last, best bit of America as I want it to be (and I think this of our warriors to a much higher degree though they are not in a market economy but an 'honor economy').

The rest of our country seems perfectly contented with watching the struggle on a sixty inch plasma screen with a bucket of KFC and a twelve-pack of Bud. They seem in no way interested in excellence in their own lives or in getting into the mix. I have nothing but respect for the athletes who succeed on any level for, having had some modest success there I can say that working to become excellent in a sport is incredibly difficult, frustrating, challenging, and, occasionally, rewarding.

If it were not so that becoming an top notch slacker was the highest goal set by a large portion of our population then the class warfare rhetoric and diversity rhetoric would be seen as what it is, a poisonous failed attempt to create a utopia by redistributionary schemes.

Yes, this line of argument is self serving, so what? Docs today find themselves dropping down the 'respected professions' list and why not? As detailed in the prior post we sure do not seem to have enough self respect to stand up and demand that, for professionals with our years of training and unique skills, that we be allowed to determine, within the realm of a market economy, how much we make for what we do and the circumstances in which we do it.

In other words, if we were professional athletes we would be lauded and listened to, and fifty years ago, if my sources are correct, professional athletes and most celebrities were not held in as high esteem as we were. That's okay, I'm not looking for pats on the back, but I am pointing out that as a group, we are a beaten and scared bunch just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Terrel Owens is hated or loved depending on his perfomance and what comes out of his mouth at the weekly pressers, but we don't even speak. Our national organizations are jokes of kow-towing pointy heads and, if I werer Joe six-pack and had to listen to more than 5 minutes of some pencil pusher explaining to me why my care would be delayed, denied, or otherwise altered I would then look to whom, by common sense, I would expect to jump in and fix all the bullshit red-tape... my doctor. But we can't. We surrendered and Joe has noticed.

Couch potato nation. It makes me sad.


  1. I like Couches, I like Potatoes.
    And thats a sixty THREE inch plasma....and the best 2 teams already played in the SEC championship game, this is just a formality for the Heathens. Gators win by 30...

  2. frank, i was going to put money on the gators until reading your post. i remember your predictions form earlier in the season and the utes spanked bama didn't they?

  3. I think you know this already, but there are only a few groups of people that earn my immediate respect. Doctors (obviously), nurses, and anyone in the military. I also have a surprising (to me anyway) soft spot in my heart for Lance Armstrong.

    I am not very into sports, but I think that it is wonderful when any kind of hard work is rewarded, and think it is awful that celebrities are so looked up to. If one of my kids ever listed a celebrity as their role model I would be upset. Some celebrities do good things, but the amount of press they get on the good things they do seems very out of balance with how good the actual deed really was. I know a lot of people who do good things or help other people and don't expect or want any kind of reward/notoriety for it. Those kind of people are the kind of people I look up to.

  4. The National Champions won the Sugar Bowl.

  5. Applaud... a sad but true narrative, but I dont think its too late to rally the troops and give'em hell! This Joe wants you to fight.

  6. I had the utmost respect for doctors until I stumbled across this blog. It's been quite the awakening. Any person who goes into the medical field for a big financial windfall, gets only a significantly-better-than-average salary, then cries over it morning noon and night has absolutely none of my respect. All the others: kudos to them. You lot...perhaps you can practice in the Republic of Alaska.

    I've never asked a doctor to figure out my insurance hang-ups. I go directly to the source: the insurance company. Half the damned time the problem is that the people on the hospital/provider's end have no friggin clue what needs to take place in order for a treatment to be approved or pre-approved or they have no idea that an alternative treatment WOULD be approved. Sometimes it's the wording and coding given by the care provider that negates coverage that would would otherwise have been activated.

    The onus does not fall to a doctor to deal with insurance nonsense. It falls to the insurance policy owner. And if they cannot figure it out on their own, their employers can deal with the insurance company.

    But hey, there is absolutely nothing wrong with medicine in America. Not the way it's provided, not the way it's billed, not the way the average American gets fucked by his insurance company. Insurance companies are rationing care more and more often and you're going to tell me that the government needs to keep its nose out of it or YOU are not going to be a good doctor.

    If for some reason American doctors decide not to strive for excellence, that is a choice made on an individual level and not a matter of learned helplessness as so much lack of achievement in the United States can be attributed to.

    If you choose to be a mediocre doctor, you would never have achieved greatness anyway. If it is within you to allow your standards to be the bare minimum, then that is your own personal character flaw. Add it to the list.

  7. canned am,
    so nice to hear from you. please come back as much as possible, and after learning to read.

  8. Frank,
    Bless your SEC-lovin' heart. I love you. Will you be my next ex-husband?

  9. For the Heinz 57th Time Ellen Kimbell, I'm happily married...
    and....CannedAm I noticed from your profile youre from friggin CANADA so why do you have an Insurance Policy anyway???Isn't that illegal? Or is it only good in AMERICA?? Why don't you go to effin FARGO or wherever you FROGS go for Frostbite...Oh, your Canadian hospitals are overbooked cause of all the American Tourists...NOT..I'll bet a worthless Canadian Quarter that there are more Canadian docs in my hometown Atlanta than in whatever pathetic PROVINCE you live in. Next time pick the right side, and your license plates look stupid too. Canadian Bacons cool though.

  10. In... FD, in Canada you also get health insurance via your employer.

  11. Anyway, back to the post, 911, I agree fully with the way society adulate entertainers over its most productive members, but I am not sure I understand your remark: "we surrendered".
    What do you suggest you - as a profession - should have done?

  12. I rest my case. :-)

  13. I'm an American, you ass. Seriously, Frank. Look into some yoga. A little transcendental meditation. Stay out of the drug cabinet. In Canada there is secondary insurance provided by employers for alternative care, dental, vision.

    You're the kind of provincial American I'm forever feeling the need to defend to the gracious folks up here. You're also the kind I'm happy to have removed myself from only four years ago. Before that, I waged many a battle with insurance companies and one with an idiotic doctor who had his uneducated foreign, far-from-literate in English wife doing his billing.

  14. dear amy65c,

    i don't know, but surrendering ground inch by inch regarding decisions regarding patient care AND surrendering a physician's right to bill and collect for his or her services to people like cannedAm was the wrong choice.

    the surrender was gradual, punctuated with great losses on single days from legislation, but when the first physician was forced, by threat of law, to donate his or her skills or services for nothing OR for 'something we'll get from someone else' they should have refused/quit/resigned after taking care of that particular patient.

    assenting to thievery at the same time KNOWING that one would be supra-liable for this charity care should something go amiss takes this into the realm of farce and i still can't believe it is really this way.

    we NEVER stood up for ourselves and we have been bullied to distraction. we are pitifully unable to protect ourselves and this, of course, ends up hurting patients who are now, in the ER, pitiful blobs of entitled jelly who scream like cannedam and demand and demand and demand.

    this is not some grand mystery and i really can not point to a better summation of our situation than to point to the general tone of the posts provided by our sometimes-american critic, the one who has all the answers and has been so involved with medicine all these years.

    two words. i quit. that's what it would have taken, about forty years ago.

  15. Canadian Medicine sucks as much as your pathetic so-called Football. You only get our Rejects, the ones even the Statue of Liberty called the Bouncers to toss out, you tired, poor, huddled asses. Even the 9-11 Terrorists only used your country as a way to sneak into the U.S. can't blame em' have you ever been to Manitoba? I'd fly a 767 into a building too. And whats with only having 3 downs and TWO 50 yard lines? Go Jerk off to a photo of Queen Elizabeth. And Princess Di was a slut,

    Frank, American

  16. CannedSpam,

    Stick to what you know, and being that you are a self proclaimed "domestic goddess," is Tide with bleach really better than regular Tide? I have a coupon.


  17. And thank you frank for bringing back SMB, i laugh every time i see that.

  18. Just a reminder about how bad the SEC really is this year. Especially for you Frank. Go Utes!

  19. I like the Utes, they'd really be good if there were more than 20 Black Guys in the entire state...Oklahoma would have finished 4th in the SEC West.