From the LA Times, more on the recent outbursts of Kanye West, Serena Williams, and Joe Wilson:
In the wake of these high-profile outbursts across disciplines — politics, entertainment and sports — many Americans have found themselves asking what is going on. To some, it’s not a coincidence but rather the manifestation of a deepening social dysfunction.
“It’s extremely regrettable, but not shocking,” said Pepper Schwartz, a University of Washington sociologist. “And there is a viral element to it. It’s like Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘The Tipping Point.’ You get to a critical mass of something and it spreads like wildfire.”
It’s interesting to see theories crop up about this behavior, as people try to reason out why adults–seemingly those who should be mature–are acting like complete buffoons in public. Here’s a snatch of one theory:
Uh-huh. Riiiiight. The article’s worth a read to get a pulse for how people are approaching idiotic adult behavior.
Many have bemoaned the erosion of civility represented by these rants, but cultural critic and writer Joseph Epstein thinks civility was purely a facade to begin with.
The public figures who crossed the line have careers that generally require them to create “false PR personalities,” Epstein said. “These were eruptions of true, loathsome feelings after all these years of suppression and having to pretend to be such sweet characters when they are not. What they all were before is as phony as can be. They all just said, ‘I can’t take it anymore,’ and they all fell apart.”
It’s funny to see our society–or at least some of it–with a sense of cultural embarrassment over the antics of the aforementioned celebs. I say “funny” because that same society has precious little explanation for why adults–who, once again, are supposed to be mature–are acting like children.
There are certainly reasons that can account for this kind of behavior. At least one of them, however, has to be that people are sinners, and they aren’t being taught that, and so they’re growing up to believe that they really are the center of the universe and can act as they see fit.
I’m guessing we’ll only see more of this as time goes on and the entitled generation grows up. The sad thing? People acting idiotically really will think, per common wisdom, that they are acting rightly, because they’re acting authentically. That’s the standard by which many younger folk seem to judge their actions today.
For awards shows, tennis matches, youth groups, churches, and so on, this cannot bode well.