I like to rail on our society.
Our blatant disregard for the poor. Our willful ignorance in the information age. Our hypocritical sense of morality. Capitalism. People who have perfect eyesight but wear glasses for “fashion.”
Worst. People. Ever.
But for all of that, I genuinely do think we’re making some (small) progress as a culture. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe that beneath every person’s thin veneer of civilization lies a seething volcano of barbarism, cannibalism, and baby-punching-ism waiting to be unleashed at any minute. There’s no changing that.
Nevertheless, we are getting better in some regards. Specifically, I’m thinking about an image I saw not too long ago.
You can’t really argue with that. When something is wrong, it’s wrong. “Injustice anywhere is…”
Well, you get the idea.
Now this guy deserves some applause on his own, but it’s really the bigger picture I want to direct the spotlight to. It’s the simple belief that there’s a basic set of expectations for human behavior. Being morally outraged not simply when the news is covering one story, or during a particularly heinous scandal- but for every act of injustice out there.
Let me break it down a bit.
Chances are, you’ve run into some post on Facebook or any other social networking site in which someone attempts to make a supposedly bold or heroic stand, voicing their support for gay rights or the body positive movement, or something of that nature. While this doesn’t typically happen on any of my feeds, when I do see it, I’m usually pretty underwhelmed. Wow, _____ is coming out in support of gay rights? Brave move, next thing you’ll know he’ll be speaking out against segregation!
I know that sounds needlessly harsh, but more often than not, I feel proclamations and manifestos of that nature are looking for applause more than anything else, and that’s the whole problem. Is it good to be a tolerant, passionate, socially, and environmentally conscious person?
Yes, it is.
What do you want, a cookie?
There’s a 1994 movie by the name of Quiz Show, a drama based off of the true story of a rigged gameshow in the 1950s. While I only ever saw the tail end of the movie (and that was years ago), there’s a scene that stuck in my head. The character who had been cheating at the game is called before congress to testify. Standing up, he offers an eloquent “soul-searching” speech on how he struggled to reclaim his integrity and self-respect after having been a pawn in this entire sordid affair. The congressmen congratulate him on giving such a moving speech- all but one. A congressman by the name of Derounian leans forward and states states that he doesn’t see why the contestant should be commended for simply having told the truth.
And it makes sense, doesn’t it?
We’re patting each other (and more than that, ourselves) on the backs for what? Decrying injustice? Raging against waste and greed? Supporting equality? Should we be praised for this? For briefly rising out of ignorance and selfishness to meet the minimum requirements for human decency?
Seriously, do you think you should feel a sense of pride over not being a racist? Should we applaud ourselves for not clubbing a baby seal to death?
I don’t think so.
And it seems like people are finally starting to get it. Moral outrage for the purposes of fashion are being attacked. Not, perhaps, on a grand and noticeable scale (barring, perhaps, Jon Stewart), but quietly; with caustic jabs like that picture up above. And it’s about time, too.
Best movie of all time.
And yes, I’m fully aware of the hypocrisy of commending basic human decency not being commended. Consider this more of a public service announcement, if you must.
When Life Gives You Don Lemon
By now, most of you are probably familiar with the recent scandal involving CNN anchor Don Lemon’s comments to Joan Tarshis, an alleged rape-victim of Bill Cosby. Lemon had blindsided his guest with the question of “Why didn’t you resist”, which beyond being a shockingly insensitive thing to say to any assault survivor, carries with it a host of the most vile, victim-blaming myths imaginable. Time already has an excellent point-by-point take-down of Lemon’s statements, none of which needs my repeating here.
See, I started off writing this post with the intention of revealing the man as nothing more than an inept clown, motivated by bumbling incompetence rather than malice or spite. The more research I did, however, the less I found myself able to support that idea. There’s nothing innocuous or innocent about Don Lemon.
While many of us were probably unaware of Lemon until his “don’t get raped” comments (or his bull**** non-apology, which we’ll get to in a second), I actually recognized him the second I saw him. Back at the end of September, Lemon, along with co-anchor Alisyn Camerota, had an interview with Islamic scholar Reza Aslan.The “interview” (the whole thing seemed more reminiscent of a McCarthyist witch-hunt) swiftly degenerated into an agonizing fear-mongering session- the very memory of which still makes my blood boil. I’ll let the ever-entertaining Cenk Uygur (of “The Young Turks”) break the debacle down for you.
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Posted in America, Islam, media, morality, race, television
Tagged Alisyn Camerota, Autmatic, Bill Cosby, Cenk Uygur, cnn, commentary, corporal punishment, Don Lemon, ethics, Fear, fear mongering, gaff, gun, interview, Joan Tarshis, journalism, Lemon, media, news, race, racism, rape, Reza Aslan, scandal, Semi-Automatic, stop and frisk, stupid, The Young Turks, Time