Batkid Begins

“One death is a tragedy,” Josef Stalin is reputed to have said. “A million deaths is a statistic.” Psychologists call this phenomenon the “collapse of compassion,” confirming in numerous studies that a person’s capacity to feel for others diminishes as the number of victims increases. Of course the reverse is also true: people respond most strongly to the suffering of a single person, which is why the Muscular Dystrophy Association began using the “poster child” as a fund-raising tool in the 1950s. The phenomenon also explains why thousands of people came together in November 2013 to help five-year-old Miles Scott, who had spent two years battling leukemia, live out his fantasy of being Batman as part of a daylong event staged in San Francisco by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Dana Nachman’s documentary Batkid Begins presents this massive public response as a triumph of the human spirit and the premier feel-good story of all time. It didn’t make me feel that good, but you probably guessed as much when I opened by quoting Stalin. Continue reading >>