Sep 10, 2008

I Take This Woman

Well of course you’d take Hedy Lamarr. What straight man in his right mind wouldn’t? This movie stars Spencer Tracy as a doctor who runs a clinic for poor people. Hedy is the woman who aspires to a better life, and persuades him to take up a practice that caters to the rich. Poor Tracy finds that the rich patients are hypochondriacs, and ultimately goes back to the clinic.

What is disquieting about this film is the implication that somehow all rich people are hypochondriacs, or suicidal neurotics who don’t deserve treatment, whereas the poor are quiet, wonderful, deserving people who should get top flight medical treatment.

The painful reality is that not all poor people are nice, gentle types, and that the rich are just as prone to serious illness as the poor. Some diseases may be poverty related, such as tuberculosis, and diseases related to sanitation, but the rich are just as susceptible to cancer, colds, flu, injury, and death as the poor. There is nothing virtuous in itself in ministering only to the poor. The rich, as well as the poor, need competent doctors. The rich and the poor both need spiritual assistance.