The politics of guilt and condescension parades victims everywhere. "Victims here, victims there and not a tear to drop", wrote Coleridge. Or he would have if he were living in our age of Victimhoodery.
Unfortunately every now and then someone comes along who refuses to be a victim, to blame someone or something else for his plight. When it happens it is like seeing a light in a dark place. How strange, we muse. How untypical. How unlike the spirit of the age. What school did he go to?
Take the case of bus collision victim, Tim Brown. Poor old Tim walked into a bus in Wellington on Willis Street in Wellington, snapping his foot, ribs, lung, arm and shoulder. Lawsuits beckon. Victimhoodery about to explode forth like a Mt Tongariro eruption.
Tim's causal reconstruction of the terrible accident was profoundly simple: "I looked left when I should have looked right." Of course, he has little or no memory of the events. He has drawn this conclusion from what police and others have told him. It was his fault, he reckons.
Mr Brown is startlingly at odds with the spirit of the Age, with the established consensus. Three additional peculiar behaviours testify to Tim's strangeness. Firstly, his response to his mother-in-law when he finally came to, whilst on a hospital bed.
"I remember leaving the office and that's it. The next thing I recall was waking up in hospital," he told The Dominion Post. "I woke up and didn't really know what was going on. I remember my mother-in-law staring at me with a look of dismay on her face. I couldn't talk at that stage, so I just had to give her the thumbs up."Thumbs up, eh. Hardly what Victimhoodery decrees as appropriate behaviour in the circumstances. Then there is the awkward matter of thankfulness.
The bystanders who responded quickly to the incident also helped save his life, he said. "My wife showed me a picture of it in the paper and I could see a lot of people crowded around who had rushed to my assistance. A big thank you to those people."That will never do, Tim. Were those people trained? Where they permitted to attend to you? Maybe some of them made your injuries worse? Have you thought of that.
Finally, there is that embarrassing matter of the letter. It is awkward even to mention it. A twelve tonne bus has just run you down. It was being driven by someone. A driver. He ran you down! Here at last is someone clearly worthy of blame. But no.
Mr Brown agreed with that assessment, saying he knew bus drivers were worried about people stepping out in front of them. He had sent the bus driver who hit him a letter and hoped to speak to him soon. "It must just be awful for that poor guy."Mr Brown is a strange man. He is clearly not a child of his age.