July 24, 2017

"Prominent French academic and author, Anne Dufourmantelle, who wrote about the importance of taking risks, died Friday while trying to rescue a drowning child."

Anne Dufourmantelle, 53, suffered a heart attack trying to reach a 10-year-old boy in high waves at a beach in Saint-Tropez.

Here's something she said a couple years ago:
"The idea of absolute security — like 'zero risk' — is a fantasy. ... Being alive is a risk.... When there really is a danger that must be faced in order to survive, as for example during the Blitz in London, there is a strong incentive for action, dedication, and surpassing oneself."

34 comments:

Bad Lieutenant said...

Wasn't she stupid? You would never have done that.

whitney said...

what a wonderful way to die

Owen said...

I am very sorry that this happened. In my moral universe she gets more credit than if she had stood onshore filming the boy in his distress and mocking him. Just my bias.

Earnest Prole said...

She has passed and surpassed herself.

Meade said...

What is wrong with you, Bad Lieut?

Rick said...

I think people must be misrepresenting her work. Our ability to withstand forced risk like the Blitz has nothing to do with voluntarily taking recreational risks. Further the decision not to take recreational risks doesn't imply life is risk free.

Michael K said...

Bravo. A family friend drowned while trying to save his 10 year old son when I was a teenager.

I can still remember my mother getting the news on the phone.

Gahrie said...

RIP.

An example to us all.

The sad thing is that her behavior is news.

n.n said...

So right. Life is an exercise in risk management.

And a life well lived... and ended.

buwaya said...

RIP, and that is the sort of death to which we should aspire.
Sometimes God puts us in a position where a choice is easy.
This is a blessing, even if it can be fatal.

Feste said...

"The idea of absolute security — like 'zero risk' — is a fantasy ... incentive for action, dedication, and surpassing oneself."

Eureka. This one satisfies my reason for playing in the sandbox of this blog. Sniffing, scouring, hunting and gathering, this random foraging walk, a little seeing straight, some from peripheral vision, largely blind, feeling for anything to help make perhaps a final career decision. During this gift to myself of a sabbatical. I could retire now, early, and enjoy the remainder, no losses. Keep working part time on odd contracts. Take a job offer from a jealous mistress of a Dark Satanic Mill (Blake), a big thing. Remembering what happened to Gary Webb of “Dark Alliances.” And not a few others.

Think I’d rather go swimming with Anne Dufourmantelle.

Catch as catch can. I doubt that Anne "surpassed" herself. Out, hyperbolical fiend. She probably thought nothing of it.

Thanks for this story. Contra teenagers watching a disabled man drowning. Back down to earth from the necessary trips to the clouds after riots. Far away from the fashion of Hillary and Melania.

And especially, oceans away from constant media whoredom about who speaks, how pretty their hair, Tweets as deadly as tits concealing snakes, calculated to inculcate in us the worst of our learned helplessness.

Just thank you.

YoungHegelian said...

While going out to save someone in a risky situation is often not advisable, let's not pretend that just standing by is without psychological penalty either.

I know two people who have witnessed children die in a house fire. One, an acquaintance from high school, who lost a younger brother & sister. He had to be tackled by firemen & held down so as to not rush in to attempt to save them.

The other is a brother-in-law who was for a short while a policeman. He had the misfortune to be the first responder to what by then was a raging house fire. By the time the firemen arrived, there was little that could be done. He had the misfortune of hearing some children in the house screaming for help, but could do nothing.

Neither of these two guys were the same afterwards. The high school acquaintance I lost track of, so I just know the effects for a year or so afterwards. But for my BiL, it did much to push him into depression & alcoholism.

William said...

Too bad no one was around to record her last moments on phone video. I've heard such scenes are comedy gold.

Gusty Winds said...

A stark contrast from last week's story about the teens standing by laughing watching another man drown.

Tommy Duncan said...

From an online tribute to the father of one of my high school classmates:

On The Front Of The Memorial In Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin: Near The River Where He Died. The Following Is Writen: Officer Down: On A Cold & Overcast Day, April,9 1968. Police Officer David McKee Dove Into The Rock River To Rescue A Teenage Boy Who Had Fallen In The River From The Railroad Bridge. Neither Of Them Made It Out Alive. Officer McKee Left Behind His Wife And Six Sons. His Oldest Son 16. The Same Age As The Boy He Tried So Valiantly Tried To Save.

On The Back Of The Memorial:
Found In A Worn Clipping From His Wallet


I'm Of The Opinion That My Life Belongs To The Whole Community And So Long As I Live,It Is My Privilege To Do For It Whatever I Can. I Want To Be Thoroughly Used Up When I Die, For The Harder I Work The More I Live. I Rejoice In Life For It's Own Sake. Life Is "No Brief Candle" For Men. It Is A Sort Of Splendid Torch That I Have Got A Hold Of For A Moment And I Want It To Burn As Brightly As Possible Before Handing It On To Future Generations.!!!
"George Bernard Shaw

Mark said...

Neither of these two guys were the same afterwards.

Even those who film it and laugh about it are not without psychological penalty. They too die a little (or a lot) inside. And death of the conscience and soul are far worse that death of the body.

Confused said...

I'm sure the hot takes about this being "phony heroism" are right around the corner.

A brave woman, laying her life down to try and help someone in need. Very commendable.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

A noble death; Valhalla.
I was glad to read the boy (or boys) she went to save made it, too.

Billy Oblivion said...

What, were there no men around to save her AND him?

Oh, France.

Yeah, all their men are in the Legion, and hence off shore.

Shame, but at least she tried.

Big Mike said...

A water rescue is dangerous unless you're (1) a very good swimmer and (2) well trained. If there's a rope you can throw to pull them to safety, or something buoyant you can throw to support them, or a board or tree branch you can extend to them, that's preferable to giving the police divers an extra body (yours) to recover later.

Michael K said...

"You are in elysium !"

traditionalguy said...

My best regards to Anne Dufourmantelle. Courage and intellect is where you find it. She made it a better world for strangers in need, above and beyond the call of duty. That was her decision that came from her good heart, for which she is hereby awarded the Tradguy Medal of Honor.

Mary Beth said...

There's a difference between trying to avoid all risks and taking unnecessary risks, like letting a child go into the ocean when the warning flag indicates that it's dangerous.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Q. Meade said...
What is wrong with you, Bad Lieut?
7/24/17, 6:26 PM

A. Her defense of those goblins in Cocoa who watched the guy drown, mocking and filming him. Her usual sneering deprecation of any real, actual, physical bravery or heroism. People don't value what they don't have, i.e., physical courage.

Why did this one story pull her cork? Palate cleanser after Cocoa? Does she imagine herself fishing somebody out of Lake Wingra some day? Thing is in such situations you can't spend half-an-hour musing to yourself over wordplay and free association and precedent.

Ann wants to be incorporeal, purely cerebral, to separate herself from physicality, to be a brain in a jar. Fine. Brains in jars don't go in for kids in the undertow. They have four thousand excellent questions to ask instead.

But you're right, why be pissed at Althouse, she is what she is. I'm chiefly more annoyed at myself because I let those thoughts interfere with the simple praise due to Mme. Dufourmantelle, though she neither needed it or sought it.

Let me say this:

Merci, madame. Vive la France!

Note that nobody seems to need to discuss race here.

I hope the boy was all right.

Howard said...

Confused: We have no facts. She died of a heart attack, which may not have been a factor on her skill, training or experience to effect a rescue. Nothing phony about her behavior because she answered the call. Phony heroism is bragging on a blog that one would make a rescue attempt even though they don't have any training or experience. The first rule of rescue is don't become another victim. This is because you then put additional lives at risk. This also applies to industrial safety, especially regarding confined spaces in the presence of potentially asphyxiating atmospheres. A very typical story is that it takes three guys to succumb to hydrogen sulfide in a confined space before people stop going in to save their buddies. The real hero in this scenario is the second guy who comes on the scene and prevents others from going into a death trap.

Howard said...

Bland Luie...Undertoe? That's a mom-jeans euphemism. Say what you want about the left coast, but the ocean here is cold, rough, rocky and sharky. What you are talking about is a rip current. Watermen use the rip to get a free ride outside because the danger is getting caught on the inside, ya dig? Do you know how to identify a rip? You can tell by the sand morphology and the behavior of the water. How do you get out of a rip? Can you stay calm in a rip and help others relax and get out of it? Your lack of appropriate fear is disrespectful and your virtue signalling is unmanly. Other than that, you are a standup guy.

David said...

Think two cultures. In one a 54 year old woman attempts a rescue that proves to be beyond her capabilities that day and dies in the attempt to rescue a child who may be drowning. In the other several young people laugh and shout discouragement while filming a man who is obviously drowning. They do not notify authorities either during or after the event but post it on social media.

Stupidity and legal duty aside, is there any doubt which culture you would prefer to live in.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Howie, are you talking to me? I don't even know what you are talking about. I thought the incident occurred in the Mediterranean, not Santa Cruz. In any case she did not drown. She did not fail to swim. Her heart gave out.

I know the words you used, but the whole comment makes no sense. Are you saying Mme. Dufourmantelle was a fool? I don't know where else you're going with this. I'm not going to get pissed at you yet because there seems to be some cosmic misunderstanding here.

Bad Lieutenant said...

David 11:04 PM:

+ eleventy

Howard said...

BL: Please don't call me Howie, it makes me feel small and weak.

I said we don't know if she was foolish or not. She was probably going to die soon either way, although marginal swimmers can have heartachokes when they push it. Guys in my track club who can bang out 3-hour marathons cannot swim a couple laps in a pool without getting exhausted. I think it's because they don't know how to relax and go with the flow. I'm mostly dissing on you about your infantile position on the no duty to rescue business and the projection of your own "brain in a jar" on our host, especially this ignorant phony tough statement:

Her usual sneering deprecation of any real, actual, physical bravery or heroism. People don't value what they don't have, i.e., physical courage.

Courage is doing the right thing, which is sometimes doing nothing. Those "goblins" you attempt to dehumanize (the first step to accepting genocide... you should know better) likely did the right thing by staying on shore. Many people are terrified by water. Sure, the joking was ugly and they should have called it in, but the dude was dead and nobody could have saved him if they did call 911.

Be said...

God bless her.

Trumpit said...

If one of my dogs were drowning, I'd jump in to save him. They mean that much to me.

Yancey Ward said...

If I had to guess, the adrenalin killed her.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Bullshit, Howard. I'm running for work so why bullshit...later.