So, as I understand it, something happened on the television over the weekend that overshadowed some horrific event that took place half-way across to world, far from the seat of empire. In typical — almost scripted — fashion, the reaction was a morality outrage to someone prancing around on the TV instead of the moral outrage to people dying.
Y’know, except what moral outrage occurred was also the almost scripted reaction as well.
And as I try to keep things light around here, I can’t help but say something as everyone is talking about it in some fashion while I’ve kept my mouth shut. So, here we go:
The events on the TV with A:) celebrities that don’t matter and B.) Victims that, ultimately, don’t matter to the American Consciousness are sterling examples of where we are these days. It’s interesting that when we’re crippled either by our success or, more often, that lingering sense of national impotence, a young woman struts around on the screen in a simulacrum of supposed sexuality and, suddenly, it’s 1898 again with the tutting, furrowed brows, and decrying of moral decline. It’s a glorious distraction that drums up support for the Spanish-American War.
Funny how many conflicts end up reflecting that little-thought-about war … I suppose that’s why I joke about it so often.
At the same time, it’s clear why moral outrage is one of the nation’s favorite busy-work activities. It feels like something we can control. The world has been ending since the moment human beings achieved speech and its supposed moral fiber has been weakening just as long. Or longer if you believe in the Ancient Astronaut theory. Give that feeling of decline to a large enough of a population and you get a society struck into inaction and feebly reaching out for any excuse to break the despair. So, we slut-shame a woman instead of cleaning our own backyards. Almost instinctively, we ignore the complicity of her male stage-mate, because of an ancient and antiquated notion of gender-ized propriety.
Again we arrive back at 1898, the Spanish-American War and some half-imagined glory day when woman behaved, men answered the call to blood action and the world made sense.
Well, made sense because there was an obvious frontier and plenty of land to conquer. That imperial mindset is hard to shake-off, even in the smallest fiefdom a person can carve out in the American Experiment. Expansion is always a requirement to appearing healthy and a vital part of society. Well, expansion as defined by very narrow set of metrics. Certain, actual moral expansions are outside the scope of our notion of health. Those moral issues can always be cast aside by the issue of declining morality in our various empires.
So, it seems, as always, the simplest answer is to opt out, shut off the TV and define your own culture. And, for the most part that works until the empire down the road decides your culture is incompatible with theirs.
Did I walk back into the Spanish-American War again?
Okay, that’s enough of current events out of me for the time being. Next week, I resume normal broadcast with the last Harry Potter flick I did not see theatrically.