Monday, August 06, 2007

Dilemmas Facing Advanced Civilization -Pt2

Part one of this series can be found at Open List: Dilemmas of Advanced Civilization

  1. Wanton wastefulness solely to temporarily slake the appetite of a bored audience for exciting entertainment.
  2. A sense of defeat -- "oh, what's the use?" -- that may sideline a cultural defender. This effect may be temporary but can be permanent.
  3. Exhaustion of the virtuous. An otherwise strong defender recognizes a clear adversary; adversary's offense could be anything from an incremental point of contention all the way to a significant assault on an essential institution, but defender still retreats from even a verbal battle for reasons unstated; letting important opportunities slide becomes easier with each passing incident.
For an "entertaining" example of wanton wastefulness, click on this episode of Top Gear. Top Gear is the BBC's most watched program (at over 50% share). BBC programing is paid for with the BBC tax on all UK TV sets. Watch for the intermittent expression on the face of the host (one of the three) affectionately known as the Hamster.

Perhaps I'm overly optimistic, but I think his mugging could indicate that while shame may not be thoroughly dead in the UK, its agonizing death throes are beyond the denial stage.

For an example of ailment number 2, I offer my own intermittent posting of entries here.

For an example of ailment number 3, I offer this episode from Eternity Road.

**UPDATE Aug 7**
Coincidentally, Dennis Prager wrote this for today: Excitement Deprives Children of Happiness, that explores the circumstances that lead to consequences such as ailment number 1. He admits it is not just children, but the adults they grow up to be.

1 comment:

  1. Another dilemma that I think was missed in the previous part of this is a widespread fear of being sued, coupled with a widespread cynical view of "successful" lawsuits as a legitimate means of gaining wealth. "Successful" means not that justice was done, but that the plaintiff won a large sum of money from the defendant. The economic effect of lawsuits, i.e., unjust awards, insurance companies' settling with negligent plaintiffs to avoid the risk of paying larger and even more unjust awards, etc., is fobbed off as mattering only to insurance companies. Many people seem to resent the social effects, including warnings on products against obviously dangerous misuses of the products, but this has not visibly (to me) developed into any significant level of social sanctions against people who file frivolous lawsuits.


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