Why does our popular culture raise hardship onto a pedestal? There’s just nothing sensible about that in my opinion. It is however a very common underlying belief system that patients bring with them through my office door. Often they come to me with pain that they’ve been trying to “tough out” for far too long. It’s these same people who are also uncomfortable with the necessary suggestions I make for changes in their daily living to accommodate those injuries. This discomfort with making accommodations to properly care for ourselves seems steeped in shame around the implied acknowledgment of “weakness”, injury, or less than “perfect” function.
The collective mentality that leads to the glamorization of toughness is badly blurring the line between courageous and foolish. Dancing With the Stars is one of those platforms for exactly this twisted popular thinking.
For the sake of full disclosure, I’m not at all a fan of the show Dancing With the Stars in the first place. I abhor the rigidity of ballroom dance. Dancing to me should be an expression of joy and not something we do for acceptance or rejection by the “tribe” at large. The spectacle of putting inexperienced dancers under the spotlight for sport just doesn’t speak to me, not to mention the fact that the style of “ballroom” in this show is far beyond the real thing. It’s been elevated to such a degree of one-upmanship for the sake of sensationalism, that it’s laughable.
Unfortunately occurrences on this show somehow make it to the news and earlier this week I was unwittingly accosted by TV coverage about a spate of recent injuries affecting the contestants on the show. What struck me about the way the story was handled, is that the reporter and then the talk show hosts later in the day, weren’t shy at all to show their thirst for the drama of “disaster”. The potential for spectacular failure was being amplified and used to drum up interest in the story and the dancing show.
While not entirely surprising, I continue to find it disturbing that we as a society require an ever increasing shock factor to get our attention. But the aspect that touches my chiropractic sensibilities is the time in the story devoted to the fact that these seriously injured dancers are continuing on in the competition despite things like a rib fracture and a serious back sprain. Why do audiences admire this?
All these sorts of supposedly heroic stories about how “ the show must go on” set a very dangerous precedent.
The inspiration of witnessing someone’s perseverance of spirit through adversities of life is one thing. Something like that can offer the common person valuable lessons, but Dancing With the Stars is no more than a frivolous form of entertainment. It conjures up images in my mind of the Roman Colosseum of ancient times filled with salivating onlookers.
Is it really worth it to push through fractures and severe sprains? What is gained?
I know there are many different sides to this and I welcome some debate. Feel free to comment or message me with your thoughts.
Are you rooting for the injured dancers or are you secretly hoping to see an epic fail on stage? What does that say about how you honor or disregard times of weakness in your own daily “performance”?