Shame



Exchanges with friends about the reporting of the Ferguson crisis has made me wonder if what so many people loathe about Fox News is the apparent lack of shame on display. The barometer that used to help us gauge our behavior toward family, friends and strangers seems to be disappearing (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shrinkwrapped/201103/shame-third-pillar-civilization).  Shame kept us from telling lies or misbehaving for fear of discovery and humiliation. Being accused of being unfair or unkind was enough to elicit apologies or requests to make amends. Now, such accusations are noise lost in the ether. Caught in a lie? We were misunderstood or taken out of context. Caught in wrongdoing? Blame others. Offend someone? It's their fault for being sensitive or for provoking us. Do what earns. Scapegoat. Spew utter nonsense and walk away, much like Philip Seymour Hoffman's character in The Master. The scene in which Hoffman's Lancaster Dodd had the luckless, rageaholic Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) walk back and forth from a wall to a window in a ridiculous search for meaning was a chilling representation of shameless mind-control and puppetry. That was fiction. What we are seeing on display on TV is real and heaven help us.

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