tragic story to make light of and if it were ignorance, I wouldn't have noted the irony of his grandson making it to the South Pole. I would consider it to be more of a modern commentary on the human condiion with an added human interest element.
Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset.--Step by step they were led to things which dispose to vice, the lounge, the bath, the elegant banquet. All this in their ignorance they called civilisation, when it was but a part of their servitude.
Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges--A corrupt republic exhibits a plurality of laws