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Shell-Shocked By Society: What Have We Become?

Updated on May 6, 2013

OVERVIEW

The first, and only time, that I watched Jerry Springer, I was treated to a woman confronting her adulterous husband. There was profanity, there were chairs thrown, and eventually there were security guards subduing the woman before she could commit any serious physical damage.

The audience loved it! The cheering from the studio must have lasted a solid five minutes. I remember thinking that what I had just witnessed must have been what the Roman crowds were like when the Christians were fed to the lions.

It was demoralizing….disheartening….embarrassing….and an interesting look into the collective psyche of my countrymen.

I am told that the show I watched was not an aberration, that it was a wildly popular show, and that many clones of the show have appeared over the years, and they, too, were wildly popular.

Am I the only one bothered by that?

The one...the only....
The one...the only.... | Source

SOCIAL MEDIA

A writer friend of mine, MelChi, recently mentioned something that she had seen on Facebook. Someone had posted a picture of a baby seal being clubbed. There was no caption to the picture, and truly, no caption was needed. Mel was outraged because she could not understand what the point of it all was. Why would someone just randomly post a horrific picture that depicts cruelty at its worst?

Her example is not an isolated one. As a member of Facebook, I see quite a few shocking pictures that seem to be posted with no other purpose than to shock viewers. Sometimes the picture is accompanied by some smart-ass comment that is supposed to be humorous. Any compassionate and humane person would have to ask what is the point of it all?

REALITY TELEVISION

I do not own a television, but when I did several years ago I tuned in once to a reality tv show. Now mind you, calling this show “reality” is a bit of a stretch, since it resembles no reality I have ever lived. Anyway, in this show, several people lived together in the same house. Cameras followed them around, and there were the inevitable personality clashes, and name-calling, and chairs thrown, and quite a bit of mayhem. I am told that the show was quite popular, and of course, that bothered me.

Since that show appeared there have been a great many others on tv, and they all seem to be popular, and oftentimes their popularity is directly related to the amount of angst that is demonstrated by the participants.

Evidently, judging by the popularity of those shows, I AM the only one bothered by that as well.

IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY

I remember all too well a video I saw on YouTube recently. Someone had filmed a disturbance in one of the major cities in the United States. Three men were beating up another man, and it was captured on camera. This video lasted several minutes, and the beating was quite graphic and horrifying, but what I remember the most….what disturbed me the most…was the crowd of people standing nearby cheering on the men who were beating this defenseless victim. They were cheering a beating!

An isolated incident you say? Perhaps you had the opportunity to watch the videos of people looting homes and businesses after Hurricane Sandy battered the Northeast last month. Perhaps you saw videos of looters ravaging New Orleans after Katrina had rendered that city helpless. I saw people hooting and hollering in joy as windows were smashed and goods taken from storefronts.

So I need to ask this: when did misery become a source of entertainment in this country?

THE COLD, HARD TRUTH

Not one of you reading this is surprised by what I have just written, are you? You know it to be true, don’t you? You have all seen similar shows and videos, so I’m quite certain you are as aware of this as I am. Where does this come from? Why are seemingly intelligent people entertained by misery, suffering, and violence?

I asked that question to a friend recently and she told me that they were just “fun to watch.”

I’m sorry, I don’t understand, but I’m going to do my best to dissect this and try to gain some insight.

MISERY LOVES COMPANY

Make no mistake about it, there are a great many miserable people in the world today. The economy has tanked, unemployment is an ugly thing, prices are rising, jobs are being lost, and smiles are in diminishing supply.

I believe a significant amount of this “shock and awe” that we see lately is a result of people feeling better about themselves when they see others being miserable. How is that for a testimony about modern living? One can watch a couple on television, their relationship imploding, and think, “well, at least I’m not that bad off.”

Well, yes, you are!

Paret and Griffith
Paret and Griffith | Source

THE PACK ANIMAL SYNDROME

I watched a boxing match a very long time ago on the Friday Night Fights. This was back on March 24, 1962, and it was between Benny Kid Paret and Emile Griffith, for the welterweight championship of the world. Boxing was huge back in the 60’s, and this fight was televised live on ABC.

In the 12th Round, Griffith hit Paret a total of twenty-nine times while Paret was helpless against the ropes. Paret lapsed into a coma after the fight and died shortly thereafter.

I was fourteen at the time, and I was interested in boxing as it gave me a chance to bond with my dad, who was a huge boxing fan. I remember being interested in the fight, which indeed was a good one, but in the 12th Round my interest turned to disgust as it became obvious that there was something very horrible happening.

My memory, though, is much more focused when I think of the crowd I saw on the tube that night. With each undefended blow to Paret’s head, the crowd rose to their feet and cheered, as if there were a feeding frenzy in a shark tank.

No, my friends, we are not that far removed from ancient Rome.

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?

There is nothing entertaining about a baby seal getting its head bashed in by a man wielding a club.

There is nothing entertaining about an estranged couple throwing chairs at each other and screaming obscenities.

There is nothing entertaining about looting and mayhem during a natural catastrophe.

All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness; the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.
Dalai Lama

Where has our compassion gone to? Where has our love for our fellow man gone to? Why must we witness suffering in order to feel better about ourselves?

I do not for a second believe that these are isolated incidents. What concerns me, what really gives this writer the heebie-jeebies, is that this is a growing disease in society.

I can tell you with no hesitation that this is not the way I was raised. My mother and father were defenders of the weak, and they would give the shirts off their backs to those in need. If they saw an injustice they acted against it. I saw the joy of boxing leave my dad the night Paret died in the ring, and my dad was a rough-and-tumble guy who fought his way through childhood and early adulthood. He was no stranger to violence, but that night something happened to him. That night, March 24, 1962, I think my dad felt that the Romans had arrived, and there simply was no joy in watching the Christians being torn limb from limb.

Sit With Me Awhile

FINAL THOUGHTS

We are better than this! We were born with a higher purpose! We have evolved from our brutal origins to a more humane level, or so I would hope. Yes, times are tough, and yes, there is pain and misery in the lives of many, but seriously, does no one feel as I do, that we were born with angel’s wings, and to go back now, slithering in the primordial ooze of our ancestors, is to forfeit those wings?

We cannot ignore our higher calling. Where there is suffering, we must be the instrument of relief. Where there is turmoil, we must be the calming waters of peace. Where there is injustice, we must be the messengers of compassion and righteousness.

To do less is beneath us!

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hendrika, it frightens me quite frankly. :)

    • Hendrika profile image

      Hendrika 4 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      You are so right. The fact that we love these "reality" shows really does say something about us.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Phoenix! Merry Christmas to you as well.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @jonnycomelately: Yes I do believe you. I don't follow the news much anymore either. And I don't feel I've missed out. Turn out most of the 'news' is celebrity gossip and fluff anyway.

      @billybuc: I'm 52 come February. And now that you mention it, the War was really the only darkness on TV.

      Wishing you and yours a lovely Christmas.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jonny, I haven't owned a tv in six years, and I know for a fact that my life is better for it. Thanks for the visit and Merry Christmas to you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, I have no idea how old you are, but I know for a fact this stuff didn't happen when I was a kid in the 60's....except for news coverage of Vietnam of course. :) Thank you and Merry Christmas!

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 4 years ago from Tasmania

      phoenix, that is so, so, positive! The silliness of so much rubbish on TV is driving me to do the same.

      Would you believe I have not looked at international news, or read it, or heard it on radio, for over 7 weeks now? Heaven! And my not knowing has not disadvantaged me or the world one little bit.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I certainly don't remember awful stuff like this when I was younger. On the bright side, I watch so little TV now I have time to read, write and indulge in other hobbies.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lori, I think most of us over 50 can remember things being considerably different from today...of course things change, but not necessarily for the better.

      Thank you and Merry Christmas!

    • By Lori profile image

      By Lori 4 years ago from USA

      I agree , things are a lot more nuts these days. I'm 53 years old, when I was younger you would never see any of what passes for TV shows now. And I could never watch boxing,either-

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure Shampa!

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 4 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Thanks a lot for your reply, billybuc

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hello Shampa! I get my quotes from a site called "Brainy Quotes" and when you copy and paste one of their quotes, it ends up automatically in blue. :)

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 4 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      As you know I sincerely liked this article of yours which I expressed in my comment. Today, I am bothering you a bit. I want to know that how did you write the quotation by Dalai Lama in blue color? While I write in MS word I am able to get the blue color but when I copy and paste the same in HP then it again turns out to be black. I simply want to know how to get the blue color? Thanks in advance!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jen, you can rant anytime you want to on my site, because your rants are always intelligent and from the heart. I could repeat everything that you said, but bottom line is that you are right.

      Remember the old shows of the 50's and 60's? Very little violence or upheaval....just family entertainment. Now someone has to be cheating on their spouse or being gravely injured to be entertainment....and then we wonder why there are senseless crimes.

      Thank you my friend; I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      CM, I always love to hear the opinions of those from other countries. Thank you for a great comment. Interesting point you make about your Parliament members; when leaders do not lead, can we be surprised by the ramifications?

      I am concerned about mankind, more so than any other time in my life. I hope my concerns are baseless, but I doubt it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thunder, I like that....a new era of compassion and love. Great sentiments.....now let's go out and do it.

      Thank you kind lady!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Graham, it is safe to say that I have serious concerns about mankind right now. I hope I am wrong! Thank you my friend; if there is anything worth watching on tv I will count on you to tell me. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shamp, it does seem like that, does it not? We are so insulated from the pain of others as to hardly notice it. We have lost some of our humanity when that happens.

      Thank you for your kind words and excellent comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, I don't know the answer to what have we become. I do know we can reverse our fate, but it's going to take some affirmative action on the part of each of us.

      Thank you as always; you are a good man.

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 4 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Unfortunately Bill its not just the US, as we have all this in the UK too. When did it become the first instinct that people have when confronted with violence on the street to film it on their phones so that they can have a popular YouTube video? Even during natural disasters people stand there and film it. Watching a documentary on the Japanese tsunami there were several poor people who just stood there filming instead of running away and saving their lives. Is this how we experience life now? Through a lens or on a screen?

      But while young people are being deluged with violence, dysfunctional behaviour and abuse in films, TV programmes and video games, how can we expect them to learn to behave any differently? Humans learn by example, by copying behaviours and unless they get to see a gentler, more compassionate. more stable, disciplined scenario being played out around them, then they are never going to learn to be like that.

      We are letting down our young people by not providing alternatives, but while we have MPs (Members of Parliament) here in the UK who think it is OK to take a month off their constituency and parliamentary work to be part of 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here', I don't think that we are going to get them any time soon

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 4 years ago from Canada

      These are truly troubling times we live in bb, but your hub is a reminder that we don't have to be a reflection of those times we can all choose to take action and be an instrument of change. Kudos to you for abandoning TV by the way, frees you to write all these wonderful hubs. Here's to a new era of compassion and love.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Iv'e said it before Bill, how do you hit the nail on the head everytime. I remember the terrible Griffiths fight as well. Your insight is so precise as always. Have you revealed a secret, now we know how you manage to produce such a prodigious amount of excellent work. You don't a TV. I smile here I know but yet again you provide another excellent hub.

      Voted up and all.

      Graham.

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      Jennifer Stone 4 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      You have really touched a nerve with this one my friend... and it's something I have been saying for a long time now. Recently I came across a page on facebook that shows videos that are supposed to be funny... they are awful! People getting seriously hurt, I saw one where the person was lying on the ground after being hit and I seriously wondered if he was actually dead! People commenting on these videos all saying things like "LOL"...

      This behaviour has been displayed by the human race throughout history, you mention the Romans, but go back to medieval times and in England people were burned alive, hung drawn and quartered, hands or ears cut off... all with a crowd to cheer the perpetrators on, in the name of "justice". We think we should have moved on from this by now? Well we haven't! What about Colonel Gaddafi... 6 months before he was brutally murdered on national TV, the Western world were shaking his hand. Then the tabloid press and media revelled in his death, with pictures and film, and everybody cheered... hooray! He deserved it! Really? ..... Is this the society we live in?

      Like you, I don't own a TV. Reality shows aside, the concept of TV seems to be to hypnotise people, brain wash them, tell them what to think, what to find funny, and to believe the news which will tell you that one murder is "justice" and yet another murder is evil whilst treating the murderer like a celebrity. Why else do people commit these crimes if not to gain notoriety and to die remembered forever as an evil monster instead of dying a nobody?

      And all the while, people go on shows like Jerry Springer, to be laughed and jeered at by the audience and the millions of people watching it on TV. Why? For their 15 minutes of fame? Society is sick my friend, but it always has been. Nothing appears to have been learnt throughout history and I wonder why. There are plenty of people that know this is all wrong, but there has to be a change. And it has to be drastic! Turn off the TV, don't watch the news, and don't teach history in schools. We all think history is important, we can learn from it, we all want to know where we came from. But it is a self perpetuating cycle... like the news, history focuses on all the bad events, and evil people, giving them the notoriety they always wanted, and others will grow up to be exactly like that. Change.... teach about the good people, the positive changes. Learn about the victims of crimes instead of the perpetrators, the people who suffer and die in wars instead of the "hero politicians" that caused them... The first step to cure a sickness is to recognise it is there...

      A brilliant article Bill, votes and shares as always, and thanks for letting me have a rant! :-) Hugs and cyber-tea coming at ya from the riverbank in England.. all the best, Jen

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 4 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Voted up and awesome!

      It is a fabulous article and we all have to realize and feel the pain of all the depicted facts from our heart. Actually, we are very casual towards the harsh realities of our society and least bothered about the sufferings of others. It is indeed sad and I thank you for making the readers aware about such a sorry plight.

      Loved it, sharing and pinning!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very sad and sorry state of affairs indeed Bill! Man has stooped to the depths of inhumanity. These acts are disgusting but seem to have become a way of life now. Have we become barbarians? Whether its on TV shows or in real life, these acts need to be condemned in the strongest of words.

      Sharing this wonderful write on here, G+1 and fb.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you jonny....Tasmania? Really? That's a first for me! Welcome, thank you, and hopefully Jeff will come back to give you an answer.

    • jonnycomelately profile image

      Alan 4 years ago from Tasmania

      Billybuc, thank you for this great Hub. I hope it continues to inspire us and make us all think a bit (a whole lot!) deeper.

      In the very first comment, JThomp42 said this: "Sodom and Gomorrah x 100" I am curious to know what he meant by this...... would he care to explain it?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rosalinem, I'm just going to keep shouting the truth as I know it, and maybe I can change a few people. Thank you for your kind words, and Happy Holidays to you.

    • Rosalinem profile image

      Rosalinem 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      The sad reality of life is that so many people are not at peace with self. Its a sad thing to think that someone can be happy at the misery of another. if more people thought like you do, it would be a better world.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I don't miss it at all, and for the most part it is a bunch of crap. If I had a tv I'd be watching the same shows that you listed. I am a man who requires very little in the way of entertainment, and I sure don't want to waste my remaining years watching people bitch-slap each other. LOL

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, you are so right: misery sells ratings (that's not what you said, but that's what is). I do own a TV and I do not watch reality TV or talk shows. I watch the Food Channel, The Cooking Channel, HGTV, Lifetime, Discovery and sitcoms when I watch TV.

      I used to have a neighbor who had a f---ed up relationship between his wife and an ex. They went on Jerry Springer. They actually had a script they had to follow and a bitch fight was part of the script! That entire show is fabricated and is probably from where reality TV eminated.

      It's all a bunch of crap. You don't need a TV my friend; you'd only raise your electrical bill for naught!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, I have no doubt that those on that show are the bottom-feeders; what truly concerns me is that middle-class citizens who we would not consider bottom-feeders seem to feed off of that trash. I agree completely...this country can take a huge step forward by raising the importance of morals and values....and YES, Paula, it is a family dynamic. The American family dynamic is in shambles, and morals has gone the way of the Do Do Bird.

      Thanks buddy; I hope you are having a great weekend.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Oh dear, bil, I'm so sorry you were exposed to the Jerry Springer Show of Trash and Disgust.......The fact that a show like that is allowed on air, angers me, to say the least. It is abominable. I refuse to think of these idiots as "main stream." They are NOT a fair or least of all, normal representation of the majority of real people.

      I have no doubt, they go out in search of the lowest forms of life, to drag onto that show, strictly to be OUTRAGEOUS.

      However, Mr. Springer claims his show to be authentic and legitimate......fine. These are the bottom feeders of our society.

      This being said, I do realize it is shameful and sad that we live and work amongst the likes of this ilk.

      Here, is where we must take a very serious and close look at "values," morals, upbringing....family dynamics and E D U C A T I O N. These are two areas in dire need of attention and assistance from human beings of substance and intelligence. Bravo, bil!...UP++++

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, I was a teen during the 60's and a part of me still believe that all we need is love. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sean.....that is sad, and I'm sure it happens most every day. Hopefully we will learn as a society before we self-destruct. :) Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cris, whoever you follow, be loyal. We have a horrible pro baseball team, but I'll always follow them. :)

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      My earliest memories are from the 60s. The Beatles, flower power, Vietnam, the Summer of Love...I guess I never stopped being a child of the 60s. Anything was possible. After all, all you needed was love. :)

    • seanorjohn profile image

      seanorjohn 4 years ago

      The cruelty is certainly spreading. Some people just don't think about the consequences of their actions. just now a poor nurse has committed suicide over a prank by an Aussie DJ. Sad.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      @phoenix2327: Oh yes, I agree with you. Despite some ugliness and foolishness, I still have faith on humanity and it will only get better, if we allow it to.

      @Bill: Raptors sucks but I love my own. Lol! In general, I'm a Celtics fan.

      Have a great weekend you all!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, I remember have that kind of faith back in the 60's......I still have faith but it is a much-more realistic faith than it once was. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cris, since I don't have tv, I did not know that about TLC....that is too bad. I liked that channel back when I had tv. You are an NBA fan? What is you favorite team?

      Thank you Cris and have a great weekend.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Yes, CrisSp, the world has changed. But I still have faith, perhaps foolishly placed, that the world can change again for the better. If we want it too.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      This reminds me how the TLC channel once stands for "The Learning Channel" has become a trashy channel on TV with reality shows like Honey Boo Boo, etc. Apparently, the ratings are high with shows like this compared to the no none-sense shows, which viewers now-a-days find boring and as you said here, it gives the viewer/audience that feel good/better sense.

      No different from the songs of today (mostly trash) than of yesterdays. The world has changed Bill and sadly, this is what we have become--shallow mallow!

      I'm glad, I'm not a TV fan....I only put it on to see the news and watch the NBA (time permitting).

      Thanks for another wake up read Bill. Absolutely voting up and sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yvonne, thank you! I'll go find that book at the used book store and read it. :)

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      Yvonne Spence 4 years ago from UK

      Bill, I'm so glad you enjoyed the Tolle perspective! I've found very helpful over the years and when I saw what you had written it just came to mind. It was great to read it again, and I think you are spot on about the drinkers. There can be a perverse pride in being miserable I'd say. It's my sense that this is in all of us to some degree, but as we heal we loosen the pull of misery and feel more and more at home in peace.

      I probably should have mentioned that the quote comes from "A New Earth." He's probably better known for "The Power of Now," but in my opinion "A New Earth" is the better book, more accessible.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Angie, great comment. Your reference to that movie is a great example of where we could be headed. I, too, have great hope for mankind, but that faith is shaken when I see deplorable acts of insanity, and crowds cheering on such acts. I think they are the minority, but I'm not as sure of it as I once was. :)

      Thank you my friend and have a great weekend.

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 4 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      I guess you’ve had your answer, Bill, in all these comments.

      No, you are not on your own … but there are those amongst us who have somehow become other.

      These are the ones who are seemingly fascinated by death, violence, vulgar stupidity and the weak-minded who are so desperate to be on TV that they will air their dirty little lives with enthusiasm in front of an audience.

      They are encouraged by the untalented, the grinning show hosts who egg them on to fresh absurdities simply to get ratings. These people may earn a lot of money but it’s tainted.

      In 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger made film called The Running Man. It depicted a lethal game show where the ‘running man’ could avoid being publicly executed by his own cunning and wits. The baying audiences of today remind me of the slavering crowd on this film.

      Like you I feel strongly about this … it seems at times as if everything that is good and honest, decent and caring has gone from the world.

      But it hasn’t … there are wonderful folk out there. Good, honest, caring and committed to doing good people … but the media cannot make money out of such people.

      So, it focuses on the others, the sub-standard, the unfeeling and the shallow. Let us just hope they are in the minority ...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yvonne, that was a great comment. I have heard of Tolle but not read his work. Everything he says makes sense. As you know, I have had my problems with alcohol in the past. His reasoning explains why so many drunks go to dingy taverns and drink away the day....they are in the company of fellow sufferers....they all know they are adding to the suffering....but there is a certain amount of pleasure in suffering with someone else.

      Loved this comment; thank you Yvonne and have a great weekend!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, since I consider you an amazing writer, I find great joy in having you say it about me. I'm just trying to change this world, one person at a time. There is too much pain and unhappiness out there, Eddy; you and I understand that kind of pain, and we understand that it can be changed.

      You, my dear, are a wonderful friend, and I am lucky to have you in my life.

      Peace and happiness to you and Dai

      love,

      billy

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Poolman, great line! I agree with you completely, and that says quite a bit about society now doesn't it?

      Thank you my friend and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bumpsy, I love that phrase....got my dander up! Well good, and good for you for being disgusted by this travesty. Yes, someone must be terribly miserable to expose themselves like this for money. I think I am safe in saying it will never be you or I.

      Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Girish, I did not start out writing to be a messenger of the evils of this world, but that seems to be what I have settled on, and I agree, the writer's pen is a powerful weapon. Keep up the fight my friend, and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paul, you just said it much more eloquently than I did, and you are absolutely correct.

      Thank you Sir!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, great point! Where does it go from here? how much more violence and mayhem and suffering do we need to entertain us?

      Thank you Phoenix and have a great weekend.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, that doesn't even surprise me! Crime and suffering sell; good acts do not.

      Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Honey, i'm laughing.....I have found myself doing the same thing, feeling sorry for the poor slob who was the perpetrator, simply because he was being fed to the lions. It was disgusting.

      Thank you kind lady; you are a good person and I'm glad I know you.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruchira! It's not just the Springer-type shows. There seems to be a general lack of artistic talent in most of the syndicated dramas and comedies....we have lowered our standards as a society and I think that is sad.

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      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      I'm thinking that many watch shows like this to make them feel better about themselves. They know they are warped and screwed up, but not as bad as those on the Jerry Springer show. Kind of like a 300 pound person looking at a 500 pound person and judging him to be overweight.

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      Bumpsysmum 4 years ago from Cambridgeshire

      We have Jeremy Kyle in UK, it's the same format, a bunch of dysfunctional people airing their dirty laundry in public. Who's the father, who have you been sleeping with, who have you been abusing.....? The list is endless and awful. Quite frankly I don't understand why they feel the need to do this, except that I believe they get about £1,000 each for appearing on the UK show! No amount of money could induce me to to this, the shame would be too much. Their lives must be appalling, I really do not get how they keep going, it is quite beyond words.

      Great Hub, very interesting and obviously got a lot of people talking - got my dander up, well done.

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      Girish puri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Already many readers have expressed their worry towards the core issue and in nutshell, is the worsening of society, by TV shows or by cinema, Still it is not too late, A nation wide movement in this direction is definitely required and i believe a writer's pen is the strongest weapon in the world, I salute to this wonderful hub, Always with your mission. Girish

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      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful read Billy and yes of course we are all aware of what goes on around us but sadly it is so commonplace by now that the element of surprise or shock has lessened somewhat. This in itself is a tragedy and I am such a believer in making the small and weak stronger;obviously I do not mean in size but in self respect; in fighting their corner; in living their life as fully as they should .

      I did not learn from my parents to be kind;to be caring and loving. I was shown cruelty and pain of the highest degree but as you know by now it is from Mother Nature I learnt love and compassion.This may seem a little far fetched to some but it is true !!!

      I feel from my heart where there is violence and pain and as you say Billy to put the fear of god into others;to ridicule others to make ourselves feel better is sickening.

      You are an amazing writer Billy and since the very beginning I have been able to relate.

      You are so right for us to do nothing to help and I so agree with your words "We cannot ignore our higher calling. Where there is suffering, we must be the instrument of relief. Where there is turmoil, we must be the calming waters of peace. Where there is injustice, we must be the messengers of compassion and righteousness."

      "To do less is beneath us!"

      this hub I vote across/up and share all around.

      Lots of love to you both.

      Eddy.

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      Yvonne Spence 4 years ago from UK

      Bill, 2 things stand out for me in this hub: your sentence about crowds cheering in Roman times when Christians were fed to the lions, and your comment that people feel better about themselves when they see others being miserable. In other words, what you are seeing is nothing new - it's been going on since Roman times or longer - and you are, in my opinion, exactly right in why people entertain themselves this way. It does give them a sense of feeling better.

      Do you know the writer Eckhart Tolle? If not, I think you would find what he has to say about why people seek out drama and unhappiness very interesting and in line with what you observe here. He sees is as almost a separate entity or an addiction to unhappiness. This is what he says, "Once unhappiness has taken you over, not only do you not want to end it, but you want to make others as miserable as you are in order to feed on their negative emotional reactions." He says people associate pain with pleasure because of this, and drama feeds it. Hence those people's enjoyment of the drama on Jerry Springer. According to Tolle, this is why violent films attract such large audiences, and tabloid "newspapers" sell not news, but emotions. (He considers the UK's to be particularly adept at this, and I agree.)

      He says that most people are completely unaware that they are doing this (again nothing new, Jesus said: "Forgive them Father they no not what they do.")

      Tolle also says that when you can't stand the endless cycle of suffering any more you begin to awaken. He sees the solution as lying in awareness: in noticing how we feel and in allowing that rather than trying to make ourselves feel better by getting caught up in drama or judging others or ourselves. He also says that some films, that show the origins and consequences of violence to both victim and perpetrator actually help people become aware of their insanity.

      I may be deluded, but I actually feel quite hopeful for the state of our world, for many reasons including that so many of the young adult books and films around just now are about the effects violence has on people - there is no glorification at all, but instead these books show the terrible consequences and offer solutions. (The Hunger Games is the most prominent example, but there are many more.)

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      Paul Richard Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Billy,

      Under the guise of freedom of speech and expression, society is now a reflection of what is being popularized in the movies, songs, and other types of media. Having never learned family and moral values, the bad nature of people is coming out in all of those who cheer Springer shows and delight in the helpless being beaten and killed. Voted up, shared with followers, and pinned.

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      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I too am disgusted by shows like Jerry Springer. What could possibly be so entertaining about watching people disgrace themselves so publicly? And what makes these very same people want to disgrace themselves like this.

      Sadly, having been saturated with programming like this for the past 10 years or so, people are beginning to believe that this is perfectly normal behaviour! So what is the next thrill going to be? Live public executions held at Madison Square Garden or Wembly Fox TV having the exclusive broadcasting rights?

      Life imitating art? I fear this is so.

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      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      In 1996 I preset Abraham Lincoln high school a check for $25,000. I made arrangement for the news media to cover the event. None of them showed up. There were too many crimes that night.

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      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Bill, this is so well put together...I have browsed past these shows too and I couldn't even stand to watch...the thing that got to me the most was how could everyone applaud...I couldn't believe that they showed their disgust of someone elses actions by acting in a disgusting way themselves...it made my sympathy for the person who in most cases was the perpetrator outweigh the sympathy I should have been feeling for the victim of the initial crime and the things that had happened previously were buried under what I was seeing in real time or in the latest time. I have been wanting to write something about this very same subject but I couldn't have said it better myself...Kudos, my friend. Voted +++

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      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      I agree with you that misery loves company...no wonder such weird shows are still running season after season. I watched jerry springer show once and was horrified.

      We hardly watch tv cause of these reasons.

      Seriously our tastes have gone to the gutters. No Sophistication or modesty left and the producers should try to make intelligent shows but just wanna make money out of it thus, keep showcasing such kinda shows!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, I truly don't understand this kind of cruelty and inane worshipping of all things gross and demeaning. Maybe I have been around too much...too long. It does not have to be like this.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I did love that show too! Simple humor, no cussing, no blatant sexual innuendos....just good humor.

      Cheers to you as well, Ruby!

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      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      billybuc yes we are definitely better than this. I really wonder what is going on in this world of ours where gross and cruel events become popular on social networking sites. Really scary to think, we are crossing the line that differentiates us from beasts. Very sad.

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      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I watched the Springer show and was amazed how ignorant people can be, another one was the ' Octomom ' A woman so intent on having multiple babies, ( eight ) Via vitro fertilisation and was on welfare. I rarely watch TV unless it's one of the old classics. I still love ' The Andy Griffith show. ' Such a nice simple time in America. Cheers my friend..

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Silvie, it's interesting, because Springer was once a politician....I want to say he was a major of a city...anyway, when he first started his show, is was just a talk show mostly focused on politics. At some point they decided that they could raise their viewership by turning tacky and disgusting, so that's what they did. Says a lot about the man's character, doesn't it?

      As you probably know, I don't own a tv any longer, and I don't miss it a bit.

      Thank you my friend! Sending you happiness, today and always.

      bill

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      Justsilvie 4 years ago

      Another Excellent Hub Bill. The biggest reverse culture shock I have faced since returning home is American Television. There is so much garbage on it makes me want to throw the TV out the door. Stupid, disgusting, cheap, tacky, sickening, sad, creepy are just a few of my adjectives… Springer is as creepy as they come, I would think you would have to de-slime yourself if you ever went to his studio.

      When I do watch have gone retro and am watching old TV shows and wanted to laugh very loudly when one of the old westerns got a PG rating.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, I was waiting for a punch line; I'm used to you having something funny to say. But there is nothing funny about this, is there? Somewhere along the line we, as a society, crossed over the line and now we can't find our way back. We lost something, our humanity....and it's not that easy to regain it. That's why I'm thankful for people like you, and hundreds of others I have met on HP....my faith in humanity has been restored on this site, and that's pretty darn cool if you ask me. :) Thanks Liz!

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      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Many issues are blamed for the problems we have today, but at the core is a lack of compassion. It's why people are unhappy, why they hurt others physically and mentally, and why they find misery and violence fun to watch. It's like these shows--Maury, is it?--that do the whole paternity testing thing. That's a child! How can you be entertained when a child's well-being is at stake? It should be illegal. Like Marvin said, "Makes me wanna holler and throw up both my hands!"

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jan, thank you for stopping by. I don't know my friend; maybe I'm just a bit too old-fashioned, but I simply do not see the attraction of watching someone else's misery. If I need that to make myself feel better, then I am in sorry shape as a human being. I just find it profoundly sad.

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      Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Billybuc, I'm moved and speechless after watching that video. That was something awesome, your first poem, eh? It was excellent because it was driven by your passion, my friend, your heartfelt desire to make this world a better place for yourself, Beverly, and for us all. Ups for the poem!

      As for our shell-shocked society? Jeeez, billybuc, I don't know. I don't get it either - our need to witness and be entertained by suffering. I don't understand the motives of the Jerry Springers, Maury Poviches, or even the Dr. Phils, who provide a platform to shame, embarrass, and humiliate vulnerable people in public. Every time I channel surf and come across one of them, it disturbs me. I have to turn the channel really fast. Some reality tv is just . . . out of control. I did a hub on how to cultivate positive self-images for little girls who are exposed to poor images of themselves on these reality shows, most of which showcase WOMEN and GIRLS behaving badly!!! Thanks for this hub, billybuc. Voted up, useful, and awesome.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Louisa, I have no answer either. I have a lot of questions, and I just throw them out there and see if anyone is wiser than I am...good chance they are. LOL Thank you my friend!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Time, there is no doubt that this is new; it's been going on, seemingly, forever. Your point is right on...we are just animals.

      I kind of like growing older too; I see much more clearly now. :)

      Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beckie, in this society, at this time, that idea would be huge! Number one in the ratings, baby!!!! Let me be your agent and we'll make it work. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Qudsia, it sure does, and there is a great deal of misery around. Thank you!

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      Louisa Rogers 4 years ago from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico

      I think many people get sucked into stupid media, and the media believes the gorier, trashier, more violent, etc., the more people will watch and the more profit they'll make. Maybe they're right; I have no idea. I wish I had a creative solution to this. I try to live a decent life (no TV, either), form bonds with good people, model what I hope is ethical behavior, write and speak out, and hope for the best. Not much of an answer, I know. Thanks for speaking out on it.

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      Sondra Rochelle 4 years ago from USA

      Well, Bill, what can I say? There is no arguing your point, that's for sure. However, this phenomenon is nothing new. Look at the violence in our sports, our TV shows and even our music? Look at how our young devalue and maim their bodies. In the end, no matter how much you dress him up, man is still just another animal, and what you wrote about here is proof of that. Some among us rise to a higher level, but as misery increases, so does the lust for violence. I am so glad I'm old!

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      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Hey Billy - I just thought of a GREAT reality show where someone with a video camera can follow me around to places like my best friends house for the "underwear tree" I created or when my dog flashed the neighborhood my smiley underwear....hmmm underwear seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life....not such a good thing. Forget that suggestion

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      QudsiaP1 4 years ago

      Misery begets misery indeed.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beckie, I wondered what that last comment meant....LOL....as for documentaries, I watch them all the time on the computer....great, informational, well worth the time and effort. That's a far cry from Jerry Springer. :) I refuse to stoop that low ever again.

      Thank you my dear; I need to send you an email. :)

      billy

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      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Well - I finally did it. I crashed head on into two of your hubs and ended up putting the above comment meant for your other hub!

      I have felt the same way the time I viewed Jerry Springer and it was so full of people beating up on each other I actually questioned whether or not it was staged. I do have a television and enjoy watching it but I don't care for shows that make money from others low points during life and I don't care to include them in mine. Life hands us enough hardships, filling my extracurricular time needs laughter .

      I will admit to watching documentaries that bring me into the lives of others I find interesting. There is a show called "Growing up Amish" and I am fascinated by it.

      I am not, nor do I wish to view a baby seal being clubbed.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Qudsia, that is my guess....and misery begets misery...and in this case, actually seeks it out.

      Thank you for the visit and the comment.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beckie, I'll walk into battle any day of the week with you. Thank you and I have no doubt that you are working on it...thank you just for being who you are.

      billy

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      QudsiaP1 4 years ago

      Sad but so very true; it appears that everyone is so filled with angst that it actually makes them happy to witness these horrific moments or exhibits of public humiliation.

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      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Billy - I back you 100%. It does no good to consider writing my hub and my letter a completed sufficient task. I am diligently working on it and will be contacting the wonderful resource you provided.

      Great job again my end of the rainbow friend.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, I do believe we have become desensitized to violence and mayhem; that is a sad commentary in itself. I'm with you, and I'll keep reaching out to others, as I know you will. Thank you Dianna, and be careful on those walks of yours. :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kaili, here-here! Bullying has no place in this society and needs to be called out each and every time it is seen. Thank you for those wise words.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, perfectly stated and I do believe there is something in the human psyche that requires seeing the worst in life...sad but true. Thank you Jo; have a great evening in Bedfordshire.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Chris, I agree with you, there are more good folks than morons....they are just quieter and don't get noticed like the idiots. :) Thanks for stopping by.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, that is one thing I don't miss at all about tv...the constant violence and sick behavior. Glad I'm living the way I'm living. :) Thank you my friend!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Doc; I hope you are having a great day!

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      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I think we have become hardened to reality when it comes to violence. The movies keep intensifying the action and it deadens our emtional levels of empathy. You are so right, our society is not far from the gladiators of Rome. Those of us who are positive and caring must continue to reach out to others as we can. Thanks for leading this movement.

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      Kaili Bisson 4 years ago from Canada

      So well said my friend...but a sad commentary on our collective society all the same. It is up to each of us to speak up when we see something that is wrong, to let advertisers know when the shows they sponsor offend us, and to stand up to bullies everywhere.