Did you ever watch New Amsterdam?

New Amsterdam is one of my background shows. It’s a network medical drama, which means it is not usually too deep. I can put the show on in the background when I am folding laundry or going through paperwork. You don’t need to pay 100% attention to the show because it is quite easy to figure out what is going on.

New Amsterdam is set at a fictional hospital in NYC- however the real place it is based on is just down the block from my apartment. What’s fun about this is it’s often filmed in my neighborhood. Random fact: the wardrobe trailers were on my block last week- I saw Iggy’s and Bloom’s and Casey’s trailers…was tempted to knock but I was with the dog…

But anyway…

I watch New Amsterdam.

One episode last spring focused on the vaccine. The fridge were they were storing the vials broke, and they had a limited amount of time to use the doses. Max, the protagonist Chief of the hospital, suggested a social media outreach to get people in to get them vaccinated as quickly as possible.

This strategy worked as soon there were people lined up to get their shot. Middle class people, mainly not persons of color.

Max, the picture of liberal do gooder, was not satisfied with the people on the line. He didn’t want to distribute the vaccine to middle class people because he felt that there was no barrier to them getting vaccinated. He wanted to reach the people who, he thought, really needed it.

So he went to low income areas to try to get them to come out and get vaxxed. Turns out most of them were vaxxed already…

In the end, much of the vaccine expired and needed to be thrown away.

Take whatever moral that you want from this story…

But I must ask…

Even though some people proudly wear the liberal crown, and vow to fight for justice for all, are some of these do gooders really just saying that they know what’s best for everyone? That everyone should follow the path that they follow? That there is only one way to do things, and it’s the way that they do it?

Doesn’t being treated equally mean that we all have the right to do what we do and do not want, bounded by the laws of society?

Does being treated equally mean that you should be told how to act?

Can extreme do-goodism even be classified as policing? Do it my way or else?

Max has a tagline- “How can I help?”. His goal is to make things better…And it’s a well meaning goal- don’t we all love the image of the knight galloping in on his trusty stead, armed and ready to right the wrongs? Don’t we all love a super hero?

But, you know, reality…

In the fictional setting of the show, Max very often gets his comeuppance. His idealized utopia is often met with harsh reality. Every week we see how Max, in his attempt to fix the problems of the world, takes a step backwards.

Max’s way might not be the right way…

The question I’m left with is:

In a world where we want to fix things, who is to say how they should be fixed?

41 thoughts on “How Can I Help

  1. I still have not finished last season. My wife never seems to have it on the top of her list when we are trying to catch up. I do like that they don’t have all of his ideas work and shows that one person’s fix is not always the answer. I wish more people would learn that lesson.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s the nest thing about the show…that even though something might be a great idea, in practical terms it might not work. Did you see the episode about the hospital going vegetarian?


  2. A good question today, LA, as always. Oh, and you used the world comeuppance, well done. 😉 As to the question, everyone has the right to choose. Anyone can create the context for someone to take action, yet ultimately it is up to the individual to choose the action. Further, collaborative voice is important in creating the context for activity to take place. Thus, if representatives from a particular population are not in the conversation, they are in effect being excluded, and their voice diminished.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. We listen, learn, reflect, then take action. To do otherwise is folly, which, by the way, happens all the time. I think in a true collaborative context, all voices need to be heard; it does not mean that the choice or decision will go exactly as someone else wants it; yet everyone should have the ability to influence a choice made, especially about their lives.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I watched the show for one season because Ryan Eggold plays the lead role. I first saw him in The Black List and he’s a really fine actor. He’s one of many great actors I’ve discovered since I started streaming. I found the show too depressing to continue into the next season. That doesn’t answer your question. I’m not sure about the answer. I didn’t see the show you mentioned, but If Max didn’t use the remaining vaccine doses to inoculate the middle class people who were lined up, then that’s just dumb and unfair.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Good morning LA. I do watch that show and am familiar with the characters. Telling someone else how to live is a mistake. I have worked my entire life it seems and I still dream I am at work now when I am retired and I am trying to stop working in my dreams. Yesterday enjoying a walk with someone very important to me he started to sing Alabama’s song “I’m in a hurry” (I hope you know the lyrics) and we sang a little bit together. It’s true – if someone is enjoying their life, let them live.
    Aid I believe is a helping hand, and medicine (glasses, surgery for ailments) but not advice on what is best for them. It’s a hard habit to break; giving advice and telling others what to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Well this may, for me, be must see TV. As per your description the show runners seem to be foreshadowing that next big thing…The Metaverse…

    Which, at its’ get go, that Metaverse…won’t be nuanced enough to distinguish the liberal do-gooder from the liberal busy-body or the radical right from those simply being traditionally conservative.

    Any entertaining of the masses, come the Next Generation of the Internet, LA, will combine the plot points of The Perils Of Pauline with the heavy handed handle bar mustached melodrama of a Snidely Whiplash.

    New Tech always seems to revisit the tried and true and so-called lowbrow when it makes its’ initial bow into a mass market.

    And those show runners, and scribblers in the the New Amsterdam writer’s room are well aware, or should be, that soon—-you and I and and a collective A.I. will change story structure, character development, dialogue, and how the “digital all” determines any mass denouement…if ever …The End.

    As a vociferous reader and appreciative consumer of stories, LA, this should really excite you.

    (I’ll amend the above by acknowledging I’ll probably just see the beginning of it all, but you should experience far more, and your daughter will be, most likely , well versed in the Metaverse.”)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I gots ya…but reconnoitering base hypocrisy often blinds one to seeing the development of an overall strategy. A loud and public pretense can obscure and make less worrisome a very real and nefarious overall posture.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I think you made a good point that there are unintended consequences with do-gooders. Also, many people have a narrow world view and although they think they are very liberal-minded, they can paint great swaths of people with a broad brush.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You have hit the nail on the head. The whole point of living in a democratic society is that we are guaranteed certain freedoms including the freedom to make choices whether others agree with them or not. We really don’t have the right in our country to mandate masks or vaccines. So to those who want to engage in medical discrimination I would say: Wear masks? Go right ahead. Get vaccines? It is your call. But don’t tell me what I should do with my body. Perhaps, just perhaps, your information that you are so sure of is wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Who is to say that a person shouldn’t even try to help, so long as they leave people free choice. The Mormons are allowed to knock on people’s door to try and convert them, so why not a doctor hoping to save lives, including those of his fellow medics, who have to deal with the results of unvaccinated people’s lack of social conscience? So long as he’s not forcing people to ha e the vaccine, it’s his right to offer it. Free country, right? If the antivaxxers are free to say no, a doctor is definitely free to ask…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But should he have turned away middle class people on line for the vaccine because he assumed lower income persons of color were unvaxxed?


    2. And, should he have assumed that middle class people “know” about the vaccine and therefore easier for them to get vaccinated, and lower class people are uninformed?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Never watched that program, sounds good though.

    As far as do-gooders/people who want justice for all rarely do want justice for all. They want justice for they pet project.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No , we don’t have a smart TV with streaming show capability. My wife and I currently watching Critter Fixers-Country Vets and What if ? on Disney Plus, The Goldbergs season 3 on Hulu and I am one of those people that rents DVDs from Netflix and we are watching Star Trek Original Series Season 2

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am not a fan of paying for streaming services…or cable for that matter. But The Chair is really good for a debate on cancel culture. New Amsterdam is really good at showing how blatant idealism doesn’t work…it’s good at showing the multiple sides and bureaucracy. I wonder though, what people take from it…if they actually conceptualize the underlying meaning


  10. In college I took nursing ethics. Why, I’ll never know. However, it was interesting to find out what is taught to nurses, I suppose; about what they are ethically bound to do. In some weird part of my brain, I have this idea (from this class) that individuals’ rights come first in the practice and world of healthcare, except in a situation like a pandemic, a situation when the majority are at risk. Then individuals’ rights come second. Who makes that call? The powers that be, of course. Who puts the powers of be in power? Those who elect them. When my son who has autism had to get shots to go to school, I elected to not have him go through those shots until he was much older because of his fragile condition. Later on, he did get his shots because my intention wasn’t for him to get sick, it was for his health to get to a place where he could tolerate these shots so he wouldn’t die from other diseases. At the time, there weren’t major outbreaks of MMR. There’s the rule and then there’s the exception to the rule. Then there’s the other stuff. I think it’s always preferable that individuals use good sense to protect themselves and those around them, but what I think is good sense may not make any sense to someone else. I respect this. Frankly, I’m glad my children don’t attend school these days. If they were in school, the only way I think I’d feel comfortable is for them to be homeschooled. That feels so brutal though. Sometimes no decision feels right for everyone.

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