Shame, Shame, Shame
There are some kinds of shame that are prevalent in our culture and they shouldn’t be. No one should be ashamed of his or her sexual orientation. No one over 18 should be ashamed of consensual sex, or having a baby, or choosing not to have one. No one should be ashamed of healthy expressions of sexuality or of any expression of sex in art. These are Puritanical values out of step with the rest of Western culture and it’s time to let them go.
On the other hand, shame can serve a purpose. It tells us that what we are doing is wrong, and hopefully it makes us less likely to do it. It can make someone aware that what they are doing isn’t something that should be memorialized on You Tube. It should kick in when you have just shown the world, on film, that you are an asshole. This is the shame I’m talking about. Psychologists call this a Super Ego. Some call it good parenting. I call it increasingly rare, and that scares me.
I recently posted a video, from You Tube, in which an Australian journalist makes absolute jack asses of some apparently average Americans. They were embarrassing, but a commenter pointed out the truly disturbing aspect - none of them was ashamed or embarrassed at their own poor education. Americans are not only stupid, we appear to be quite content with that fact.
This is largely the result of the bizarro shift in cultural values that is known as the Reagan Administration. Lies became good business, greed became good, and stupid became macho. Reagan was already suffering from Alzheimer’s when he was in office - I told people at the time to wait and see, that in years to come, long after he was out of office, they’d announce that he had it. I hate to say I told you so, but I did. It was SO obvious that he had no concept half the time what he was saying. People worshiped him and still do. (Usually not the people who had to drop out of college because he slashed the student loans, btw - as with many things Republican, it’s mostly true of the rich people. ) Reagan was a pretend cowboy - he played one in the movies, you know - and cowboys didn’t care about sissy stuff like readin’ and ritin’ and ‘rithmatic. I blame Reagan for the fact that people on TV, including journalists and media professionals, can’t conjugate a verb. If I hear one more person say they “had went” somewhere, I’m going hurt somebody. I won’t have to wait long.
Stupid is what the adults are, and that’s bad enough, but their kids are something far worse - sociopaths. As Whoopi Goldberg said in a recent comedy special: “They have raised BARBARIANS!” Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I have a tag for my posts called “generation of sociopaths.” You’ll see it at the bottom of this post, for example. I know I’m getting old, and people have been bemoaning the younger generation since ancient Greece, but this is something new. This is different. Kids aren’t just undisciplined or wild - they’re sub-human. Human beings feel empathy for others. We feel guilty when we do something wrong. If we do something wrong, we tend to hide it rather than advertise it. That’s not true for an alarming number of today’s kids.
Case in point: Florida recently saw a case where 6 girls and 2 boys conspired to beat a young girl so it could be taped and posted on You Tube. They picked their victim, Victoria, because, they claim, she said something “unfriendly” about them when they went into the restaurant she worked in, but they taped it so they could show it on You Tube and be “popular.” Knocked into unconsciousness at the outset and continuously beaten by the 6 girls for half an hour, poor Victoria has lost the sight in one eye and part of her hearing. The news is continually showing the video, and it is disgusting. Note that they don’t just show it once, they keep running it over and over while they talk about it. I actually heard people saying the girls might not be too badly punished because it was a first offense.
So far, they have been charged as adults with kidnapping and misdemeanor battery. They could face life in prison. Not nearly enough, as far as I’m concerned, but here’s my point: they never seem to have thought that beating up another girl was a bad idea. This was planned, and video cameras set up around the room to catch the action. When the girl was unconscious, they kept hitting her. Get that? The sight of an unconscious person, whom they had just knocked out, didn’t slow them down. No remorse. No empathy. No little bell in their head going “ding, ding, ding - this is not a good idea!” They didn’t have the instinct to stop. They didn’t have an emotional response to her suffering. They were so proud of what they had done they uploaded the video to You Tube to brag about it. It apparently never occurred to them that this was a CRIME. That, my friends, is the textbook definition of sociopathy.
So, why am I connecting this to stupid Americans? I believe the two issues are intimately entwined. An uneducated person might feel empathy, but not necessarily know how to foster its development in a child. They might not know that their teenager shouldn’t have access to social networking sites like You Tube, or even know what You Tube is. I’m a firm believer that if you want to raise a kid, you need to be smarter than she is. That’s not the case in most families I see. How do 8 people conspire to do something like this and none of their parents knew anything was up? Are you going to tell me that 8 sets of parents didn’t know their kids were this fucked up? Stupid.
Isn’t anyone afraid of their parents anymore? If I had done something like this when I was young the police would have been the least of my worries. I’d be afraid my mom would find out, and there was no wrath greater than the wrath of Mom. I wasn’t particularly concerned about being “cool,” and I went out of my way to avoid cliques of any kind. If I did do something wrong, I wouldn’t advertise it. I’d know that putting something on the internet is like making a global confession. But then, I’d also know that fighting is wrong, and a planned team assault is nothing to be proud of. If anything, it’s cowardly. 6 on 1 makes the 6 look weak, stupid and incapable of independent thought. Three qualities I think makes them ripe for life in prison. These kids are in their mid-to-late teens. They aren’t going to grow a conscience at this point - they’re a done deal. The only choice society has is to lock them away with other equally damaged people and let them victimize each other. We’re producing so many damaged people that we’re going to have to legalize marijuana just to make room for them. I’d much rather my kid smoke a little weed than commit an assault.
Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. These kids have spent half their lives with a pResident who is a war criminal. With an administration that conspired to torture people in violation of international law. They probably can’t remember a fair election, if they even know what an election is. I’d bet money none of them could find Iraq on a map. I don’t see any Rhodes Scholars coming out of this crew.
OMFG! I’m watching Bill Maher and he’s saying this is not a big deal! That it’s “kids being kids!” What an asshole. I used to like him, but I’m reconsidering that. He thinks the film is funny! Ugh. I'll never think he's funny again.
I have nothing more to say. This country is going to hell and nobody cares.