You'll be relieved to know that this week's installment is not about Passion2013.
What I'm more concerned about is the following tweet:
Do penalties for smokers and the obese make sense? - Yahoo! News news.yahoo.com/penalties-smok… via @yahoonews Can't we just leave people aloneOr maybe you saw this version of that tweet:
— Kris Held,MD (@kksheld) January 28, 2013
Of course this is the end gamej.mp/WFG2Hy look: abortion & euthenasia are the gateway to a society populated only by the perfect.And then, of course, this tweet:
— Frank Turk (@Frank_Turk) January 27, 2013
Just in: shame can be used to curb unhealthy behaviors j.mp/WUJfCZ Later at 6: water is wet, but abortion still not shameful #TCOTLook: you know this is important when I'm willing to link to what Challies has said about it, but our culture has spent half a century working on the death of shame. Shame about divorce is, of course, impossible -- it can't be discussed or considered. Shame about any moral vice, in fact, is right out. Causing others to sin is not shameful. Behaving badly? That's expected -- not shameful. That will get you a reality TV show, not the tar and feathering you deserve.
— Frank Turk (@Frank_Turk) January 25, 2013
But, you see: shame has a sociological power. It's been studied, and by golly, we can use shame to mold society. It turns out that what we make shameful can cause our culture to change (watch me now) for the better. Shame can be used to curb unhealthy behaviors. For example: fat people ought to be ashamed of themselves -- That's not my opinion. That's science (according to the link). And if fat people, or smokers, can't be shamed into conformity, of course there need to be penalties.
But that's not all: the flip side of shame is, of course, acceptance. So while we are penalizing and stigmatizing fat people and smokers, ... well: watch this video ...
Now, granted: The Colt45 commercial is not as openly-lacivious as any given serial drama on HBO, but all the touchstones are there: the stylish man, the smooth talk, the implication that women like him and therefore like the product he's selling. It's meant to be sexy -- in a way that communicates to both sexes. It's meant to de-stimatize the product by making it a necessary accessory for the union of the sexes.
Which is why this video is especially vile:
Somehow, someone wants to extract the shame from the act of abortion the way someone else extracted the shame from buying cheap beer. It's as if they are the same kind of thing.
There's a story in this someplace -- not a scripted narrative (in the human sense) but a way all the particulars line up and say something about what kind of people we are. I mean: on the one hand someone wants to say openly that we don't want anyone to be a fat, lazy smoker with assorted health issues, and that we want everyone to be a beautiful person with whom we might have sex. But on the other hand, someone wants sex to be wrapped up in cheap beer and good looks and, since it has come up, the permanent solution for any inconvenience which gets in the way of the good time -- because somehow: that innocent person is the one to be ashamed of.
At the end of it, I can tell you what actually bothers me here -- aside, of course, from the utter absence of any reference to what's morally obvious. It bothers me that somehow someone has made other people the problem in every case. The problem is that other people are too fat, too smokey, too needy for health care because they were too lazy or addicted or stupid. And other people are the reason we need cheap beer to get a date -- because beer here is sold as the ultimate nullifier for sexual rejection. And right at the end of it: other people are a problem when their lives intrude on our convenient pleasures -- to the point that we cannot suffer them to come. They must go.
It bothers me that somehow, this line of reasoning is so worried about other people. I don't want to stigmatize anybody, but it sounds awfully judgmental.