Choosing to be Disreputable

Today, as in many other Days, scads of people are choosing to be disreputable. 

Annoying other people is no longer shameful. It is a good thing to be an obnoxious jackass. At least, millions of my fellow Americans seem to think so. So-called “leaders” and hordes of imitative “followers” behave like jerks who would not be invited into a decent home.

They will readily acknowledge “X is wrong” by the defensive way they bristle when challenged.  And they will go right back to what they are doing as soon as the disapproval has abated even a moment.  This shows up in popular culture as admiration for criminals like Al Capone, pirates, and great con men. Such are seen as having escaped the control of the policeman, the tax collector, the boss, the paterfamilias.  They are glorified for “sticking it to the Man”.

In the 1960’s those people showed up at Woodstock and made a fetish of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”.  In this time, they are religious in attending Trump rallies and refusing vaccines.

Even in movies such as “Downfall”, where all the bad guys die at the end, they rejoice to see the bully in action.  It is not a thing of which humans can take pride.

It is something we do, like it or not.

A few years back, “woke” arose and the nation was flooded with people taking action for politically correct causes.  This was looked on by the great unpolitical mass with concern and by the Right-wing with horror.  Then along came Trumpies and Q-pers, and the great mass looks on with concern, while the Left-wing reacts in horror.

What is the difference?  Ask a partisan for either and you get an earful of grievance, self-righteousness, and moral superiority.  But in the end, one is left with the impression each side is moving because they think they are “winning”, and that it is ultimately inevitable they do so. 

Both are wrong.

In the end, indecency and incivility are great ways to destroy a cause, because most of us do not like being badgered by scenes of disreputable people hogging the nightly news, either in crowdshots of mass disruption or as talking heads, solemnly delivering their Alternate Realities to viewers who know better.

But, hey, it’s their choice.