"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hugging, Mugging, or Simply Bugging?

From the snow covered sidewalks and overheated shopping malls of Minneapolis comes the latest evidence that Western Civilization is falling down some dark Wonderland rabbit tunnel and will eventually land on its butt in a pile of discarded dreamcatchers, stuffed pandas, and other faux-spiritual kitsch: people who come up to total strangers in public places and hug them. How do such things come to be?

I was sitting around thinking, 'How can I make a difference?'" says Carrie Rupp, a 22-year-old pool-maintenance worker from Minneapolis and "instigator" of the Hug Brigade.

There's one clue. A pool maintenance worker in Minneapolis has about eight months of downtime per year, since they're typically used as skating rinks from October to May. That much time on your hands, you're bound to think up some goofy stunts.

Some people approve of this in-your-face Leo Buscaglia aggression, others object. The Mall of America told the Hug Brigade to get lost after a couple of hours of harassing shoppers.

You know what this is? It's G-rated hooking up. Our culture has become so confused by materialist metaphysics that it mistakes the outward signs of emotion and affection for the real thing. Young women believe that having sex with casual acquaintances will give them satisfaction without complications. They don't understand that sex is only emotionally meaningful because you it is something you do only with some you trust so thoroughly that you are willing to open the door of your most secret, most sacred room and let him in. The reason a hug makes you feel better is because there is someone in your life who cares about you enough to give you a hug. The hug is a signifier for a relationship of interdependence and mutual concern. Believing a hug from a stranger makes life better is a triumph of the artificial over the real.

2 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

Get over here, Kathy. I want to give you a big hug.

Kathy Hutchins said...

Oh good grief. I still shake hands with my brother-in-law after 21 years.

This is the secular version of those obnoxious parishioners who grab your hand at the Kiss of Peace and pull you in for a smooch on the cheek. Gack!