Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world

THE SWING OF THE PENDULUM

As an octogenarian I can remember the days when a stiff upper lip was fashionable, and little boys were not allowed to cry, and you were not supposed to inflict your private miseries on the rest of the world.

The time came when this attitude was seen as psychologically damaging and something to be avoided. It pushed self-control to an extreme. The public pendulum then swung the other way, through the era of  “Let it all hang out”.

It seems to me that we have now reached the other extreme and that the universal and unrestricted outpouring of personal emotion has gone too far. I am sick of television interviews with people who have suffered some misfortune and emote extensively in front of the camera. It looks to me like an attempt to escape from reality. The harsh truth is that people have experienced terrible sufferings throughout history and will continue to do so while the world lasts. Each case is one of many millions. The proper personal response is to recognise what has happened, accept such help as is available and move. Promoting your sob-story may be satisfying but won’t be much practical help.

Why must we always be bored by statements of the obvious? is it really news that individual A is deeply distressed  because her daughter has been raped and murdered? Of course she is distressed. Of course she deserves sympathy and support. Of course society must be aware of such things and do what is possible to prevent them. But does it really require the extensive and repetitive coverage that it gets? When there is a disaster, is it the instinctive response of a reporter to find a sufferer and put him or her on screen? And the statements are wildly exaggerated, The daughter is always presented as a perfect angel when she was probably no more angelic than the daughters of all the viewers.

And while I am busy on this octogenarian tirade, let me say how angry it makes me that everything described on television has got to be ‘the greatest’ or  ‘fantastic’ or ‘world beating’ or ‘amazing’. If you hype up everything there is nothing left for things that are really serious.

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