Friday, August 23, 2013

Hysteria


Yesterday, Tim Brannan posted some links on The Other Side blog that I think are worth talking about.  Basically, they are about how the public face of mass gatherings is being influenced by people who sincerely want their personal discomfort to be the guiding line for what is, and what is not, acceptable. The actual incident, or its actual manifestation, is immaterial. We've seen a lot of this lately, and there's a growing dialogue - and manner of speaking - that has developed lately that serves as a ready tool for people who want to control other people's behavior, likes, dislikes or choices.

This ready tool comes in the form of a veiled prejudice which stands as a conveniently flexible guideline for anyone who wants to express the need to control. The argument goes that a person's discomfort is REAL, and because it is REAL, it cannot be dismissed - it must be addressed. And the only way to address it is to remove, retract or otherwise ban the thing that has made this person uncomfortable.

The argument is further vouchsafed in the established social rule that discomfort is BAD. That all things that cause discomfort are BAD. That no one should ever, under any circumstances, be made uncomfortable about anything, EVER.

This discomfort = BAD = stamp out and kill formula is working great for a small number of people who really, really care.

The vast majority of people really, really don't care. But that doesn't matter. Because we will educate them, until they do care. Exactly the way we care. Because that's the formula.

Anyone who questions the basis for the formula - that discomfort is BAD - will be denounced. It must be made clear to every person that no one should ever feel discomfort, and if they do, that is a terrible, awful crime ... and mass gatherings are not here so that crimes can be perpetrated on the participants. Nay, not even upon one participant. If one participant is uncomfortable, then it follows that every person, everywhere, should also be.

Any other conclusion would be that we are comfortable with people's discomfort. Anyone who is comfortable with another person's discomfort is clearly a dangerous psychopath. It's inherently understood that causing discomfort in other people and then being apathetic about it is a clear indication of someone with mental problems.

The gentle reader is going to see a LOT more of this. So get ready. There aren't going to be any lack of examples. You're going to find yourself supporting, or being rolled over, by people who feel this way, who have learned to shout these words reprovingly, and who have also learned to turn litigation and legislation in a manner that enables them to force you to adhere to this policy.

For a little while, socially speaking - twenty or thirty years - this is going to be western culture's default position.

If you think of it as a sort of engaged universal hysteria, a reaction to feeling powerless and frightened in a world that seems too big or dangerous to be grasped by people whose education has failed them, you'll find that it's really sort of humorous, in a way. Pathetic, of course. Very pathetic. But quite funny. Like watching that fellow years ago screaming into the camera to leave Britney alone.

UPDATE:

I am 49 years old.  I am sure most of those arguing with me are younger.  Even still, for those who keep their muckraking sticks up their ass, the crystal clear sound of youth.  Never mind what I say: these are the people who will soon be making the rules for you:



Please refute when you produce a video more popular.

2 comments:

James C. said...

There's this funny thing that seemed to happen to a certain sort of bourgeois American child when they grew up to adopt the role of educated liberal. The sort of lock-step, Stepford Wife middle class thinking of their parents they were supposedly rejecting just became applied elsewhere.

Quincy Jones said...

Took a look at the links. Found a harassment policy for the upcoming Escapist Expo:

"Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference. ... Harassment is defined by the victim. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are required to comply immediately."

Salem Village approves!

"Spells and voodoo totems are not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks. Conference participants violating these rules may be tested by fire or water. ... Witchcraft is defined by the victim. Participants asked to stop any bewitching behavior are required to be burnt immediately."