Jay Cronley: Society seems to be on a mean streak
BY JAY CRONLEY World Staff Columnist
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
9/04/12 at 4:48 AM
Society has never been meaner.
Going by television and the Internet, you'd think bullying and smashing somebody in the face were the only ways to achieve conflict resolution.
Two of the most popular types of cable reality shows feature pawnshops and vehicle repossession operations.
As the pawnshop operators explain to the tearful poor people who just lost their jobs and are about to lose their homes, they're in the business to make a profit; too bad if it is often at another's expense. They will frequently offer $100 on an item, but not $101, no matter the alleged heartache involved.
Since trusting is bad for business, it is seldom if ever done.
Many scenes end with epic streams of profanity and threats of mayhem.
Mainstream mean: Repo operations involve sneaking up on anything from a Lamborghini to a swamp boat and hauling it off because of late payments.
Repo goons and goddesses treat the English language like it was a pothole and blast right through it.
Not even a deadbeat wants to be made a fool of, particularly in front of friends. Almost all televised repossessions result in bloodshed or swollen faces.
Extreme meanness is a constant running through mainstream television.
David Letterman has seemingly gone from edgy to bitter almost overnight. His show is closer to Jerry Springer than one of the greats such as Cavett or Carson.
His agenda has switched from witty to preachy. He seldom leaves the studio for comedy bits and gives the impression that he sits around for the hour before his show practicing fat jokes and other insults based on the personal appearances of those he can't stand politically.
It's no wonder ABC rushed Jimmy Kimmel to the 10:30 p.m. slot.
Hate and run: Meanness trumps the language.
The rush to demean has caused entire phrases to be reduced to single letters and punctuation to be sometimes eliminated altogether.
There's no time to be humorous or clever to make a point, no time to think.
Just slam somebody's appearance or perceived weakness and move on to the next topic or victim.
Hatefulness is contagious.
Not half of what's said on the Internet could be repeated in the light of day or face to face to the one being attacked from points unknown.
Original Print Headline: If you can't beat 'em ... well, why can't you?