So what was our conclusion last night at Drink and Think? Are we becoming a more cruel society – or are we not? We no longer have corporal punishment of any kind, for example, but we do have more modern phenomena such as cyber-trolling and bullying on game shows: for example, when Susan Boyle startled everyone on ‘Britain’s got Talent’ or whatever it was, by having a beautiful voice in spite of being ugly!!! Piers Thingy thought it appropriate to say this to her:
‘When you came on, everyone was laughing at you’.
I find shows like the Weakest Link quite nauseating – and it has even seeped into more serious quiz programmes such as University Challenge, where Jeremy Paxman reportedly reduced a nervous student to tears. How is that acceptable? I would like to throttle Paxman every time I hear his sneering voice. It’s out of order.
It seems, then, that there are shifts in behaviour: homophobia is no longer acceptable but footballers think it’s appropriate to bite one another or to cheat in order to win; racism is outlawed but anti-Semitism flourishes – and, most perplexing of all, sexism and sexual harrassment are unacceptable but any Friday night on Braunstone Gate you can see far more flesh than I would ever wish to bare – on both sexes! I can’t help wondering how it is that people feel OK doing this, and what message they are sending out. One of the blokes in the group confessed to being confused about the signals some women are transmitting nowadays, and I can sympathise with him. It’s clearly out of order to blame women for rape, no matter how they dress: on the other hand it doesn’t seem sensible to bare all and adopt a ‘look but don’t touch’ policy.
So it was a good discussion which raised some interesting points, and I think the conclusion – if any – was that cruelty is always around; that the level of it may remain constant but that expressions of it shift from one area of life to another, and from one form to another.
Bong! In other news, Holly is thinking about doing a gap year and looking for options abroad, either voluntary or paid work.
And yesterday morning in philosophy we did Descartes and Bacon and asked ‘how can you know anything?’
And that was Monday.