February 17th, 2008

House on Self Sacrifice

A recent episode of House M.D., featured this interchange:
Dr. James Wilson: Are you being self-sacrificing?

Dr. Gregory House: I'll sacrifice a lab rat, I'll sacrifice a fly, I'll sacrifice $200 on a mudder at Monmouth Park. I don't sacrifice self. Shabbat shalom, Wilson.

Dr. James Wilson: Shabbat shalom, House.
That's a complicated reply they gave House, and it took me a while to unpack it.

Animal researchers, when killing lab rats to examine their tissues, do call it "sacrificing".  The fly refers not to the insect but to a "sacrifice fly" in baseball.  A mudder is a horse that runs well in the mud, and Monmouth Park is a racetrack in New Jersey, so he's talking about blowing 200 bucks on a bet.  Finally, as to sacrificing self he does sometimes sound like he read Ayn Rand in his youth.

It's still a shock to me
To hear this on TV.