Watching Katie today as I sat home feeling under the weather, I heard the theme of her show was the meanness in our culture today, the put-downs of celebrities and anyone who is in the public eye. Guests on the show included the anchor woman who responded to the hateful e-mail about her weight; Tyra Banks and Lolo Jones, who have been fair game for those who enjoy the anonymity of sitting at home behind a computer screen while they spew bad things about people they don’t even know.
The subject is actually Civility and the lack of it in the world today. Why has a generation or more come up enjoying the embarrassment or humiliation of others? Criticism is popular now. In fact everyone is a critic of some kind. I never liked movie critics and never believed them because what they liked has never been what I liked.
Should the creation of the Reality Show bear some blame in this? “A big check connected to bad behavior” is part of the problem according to the psychiatrist, Dr. Sherry Blake. Reminds me of training a dog. The media, I believe, has trained our society to be mean instead of kind as once we were. When Housewives of Anywhere are fighting and cursing and getting high ratings on TV, that coarseness grows in our community. Katie Couric called it a “culture of cruelty.”
I have always abhorred this type of behavior, even when my own brothers played pranks on their peers, on their girlfriends, and even their own brothers. The jokes were cruel and mean spirited, not funny as the jokesters believed.
Mean behavior brings success in our society today, especially when it comes to competition. Lolo Jones, Olympic athlete, says she concentrates on the good things people say, those who support her, and ignores the others. Competitors in politics pay millions for mean spirited ads portraying each other as buffoons or liars.
I find so many good people in my life, and in my circle of friends, that I can’t imagine the pain of having others attack me verbally and publically.
Today as I pampered myself, I called a neighbor who sells eggs from her own chickens. I’d never met this woman, but I ordered a dozen eggs and told her I was not feeling like driving today, but was going to call a young man who sometimes ran errands for me, and I would get him to pick up the eggs.
Elizabeth insisted I not call anyone. She said, “I’ll be over in a little while to bring your eggs.”
When she arrived I offered to pay her extra for delivery. She would not accept it. “I’m glad to bring these to you,” she said, “and if you need me to go pick up a prescription for you or anything you don’t feel like getting out for, I’ll be glad to do it.”
Elizabeth is living with her father and caring for him because he is not well. She is already a caregiver, but is willing to take time to do for me, a perfect stranger. Those are the people we need to hear about. The Elizabeths of this world need a format for their voices, but they are usually too busy caring for others to send out Tweets or post on Facebook.
Let’s use media, the Internet, to tell the good things that take place every day by good people. Find ways to show kindness because everyone out there in the world has insecurities, self-esteem that could use a boost, and even if we only give a smile we can brighten the life of a stranger.
Do you have any good news about kindness? Please share it with all of us.