Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Inspirational Videos—Love ’em or Hate ’em?

A dear friend sent me this five minute long inspirational video. Perhaps you saw the story when it came out a couple of years ago. Please give it a watch, then come back and read my comments. For those who don’t have time to watch the video, I have provided a short synopsis below.


Synopsis

Here’s the gist of the story. Adorable and well-spoken girl born with no legs, abandoned as an infant, is adopted by a loving family. Her idol is the gymnast Dominique Moceanu. This legless girl wants to be a tumbler just like her. Amazingly, she becomes a champion gymnast and a professional acrobat. Later, she learns that Dominique is her biological sister, and they are reunited. Moving stuff.

Why I Hate ’em

There is a lot of don’t ever give up and don’t say can’t and you can be anything you want to be sentiment in these videos. I’ve ranted about our society’s love affair with this type of rhetoric (click here). When the result is positive, as in this case, these phrases are accepted as universal truths. For some people, however, the loftiest goal they can imagine is simply getting through another day. A heavy dose of acceptance is sometimes as poignant as a can-do attitude.

Why I Love ’em

How can you not love this story? Other than the cheerleader language, this is good stuff. It nourishes my soul. Seeing people’s hard work rewarded, and watching good things happen to good people, I can’t get enough of it.

Bottom Line

To the extent that these videos are heartwarming, I love them. To the extent that they are motivating or inspirational, I’m good in that department, thanks. Keep putting them up on Facebook. I’ll watch them and I’ll like them and they’ll provide me with little moments of joy. Just don’t project her attitude and her success onto me or anyone else facing challenges. I know that wasn’t my friend’s motivation when he sent me this video. He was touched by it, and hoped I would be too. I was. Thanks for sharing.

What is your opinion on inspirational videos? Love ’em or hate ’em?

8 comments:

  1. Between the 2 choices Mitch I’m going with Love ‘em. But I like your opinion.

    JE

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    1. If I only had one choice, I would love 'em too.

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  2. Hadn't seen this-great story. Can't think of a single reason I object to it. To me, it's all a matter of not thinking about what I cannot do, but rather thinking about what I can do, and doing it!

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  3. The way this story is presented is not an egregious example of inspiration porn. If anything, the slant is more "Wow, how weird is this coincidence?" combined with a little "Well, yeah, genes". It has almost no taint of tragic pity, of "if she can do this, what's your excuse?", which to me are the primary hallmarks of inspiration porn. What I did find kind of interesting is that the story didn't go after the biological mother.

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    1. The biological parents' story is complex. Born in Romania, the biological mother said that the father wouldn't allow her to keep a disabled baby because they wouldn't have enough money to take care of her. Also, Dominique emancipated herself from her parents when she was seventeen because they were squandering her fortune. I don't know all the facts, but what I do know doesn't make them seem like good people.

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  4. George used to watch "Push Girls" and other "inspirational" videos of people who had achieved a modicum of normalcy despite having a physical handicap. He also listened to all the meditation, mind changing tapes. He went to a special gym that had a program that had helped one man walk again. Bottom line, MS is a degenerative disease. You can watch all the inpiration you want, but MS does what MS wants. It is not static. It is ever evolving and not to the good. In the end, it all made him believe he had failed. Yes, they are great stories, but PPMS doesn't have a happy ending. And, that's the truth.

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    1. Hilda, you're right about the insidious nature of PPMS. I've always said it's not the disability that bothers me as much as it's the never-ending progression.

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