Shame on us

It would make it easier on all of us if there was not so much shame around being human.
– Natasha Lyonne, actress and prison-reform advocate

Thanks to social media, a 24-hour news cycle, reality television and millions upon millions of people who’d rather feel than think – public shaming is a growth industry. Instead of contemplating the trade deal our President is supporting, the real issues candidates should be talking about, or maybe even the severe lack of water in certain parts of the planet, we get obsessed with “issues” that render regular people national embarrassments.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump walks the streets of New York with little or no ramifications.

What are we doing, folks? Life is rough enough. Do regular people really deserve to have their mistakes go viral?

Fame is no longer an indication of talent, wisdom, or a reward for adding something of value to the world. Fame has turned into a punishment.

Millions of parents do their best every single day to encourage the good in our children and snuff out the bad. We go about our business quietly, often in the privacy of our homes, nurturing these little beings for eighteen shitty, beautiful, profound years.

Society doesn’t seem to be interested in celebrating those who do these jobs well.

Want an example?

Several years ago, a woman was paralyzed when her best friend threw her into a pool before she was about to get married. Recently, this woman was on Reddit, talking about her life as a quadriplegic. In what seemed to be an offhand comment, she mentioned some things she could no longer do, and straightening her hair was one of those things. Her wrists and hands are no longer able to maneuver a regular flatiron.

So a reader took some time, on his own, to make a hair straightener she could use independently. This quiet and simple gesture, from a stranger, was enough to renew my faith in humanity.

For about five minutes.

And no one knows his name.

Is anyone clamoring to interview his parents, or anyone who’s raised good and decent human beings – and are those videos going viral at an inspiring rate?

No.

But we see plenty of pictures, gifs, and videos of parents who make their children stand outside a busy shopping center with signs that say something like, “I twerked on Facebook and embarrassed my family.”

Those parents are superstars.

Parents who embarrass children to show children that embarrassing their family is wrong.

In a country where police officers use fear and intimidation to combat fear and intimidation.

Yet every day millions of cops do amazing work. We never hear about any of it.

Is there a community on earth so busy caring about real issues that no one has an opinion about Caitlyn Jenner or her daughters? And, if so, are they accepting new residents?

I look at people who aren’t bothered, by any of this, and I envy them. They look happy. They don’t get teary-eyed every day. They don’t mourn the loss of civility, love, or basic human decency.

Or at least they don’t appear to be bothered.

Maybe I don’t look bothered either. But I am.

Thousands of women have been raped this year. Instead of hearing their stories, we’re hearing a lot about the women who fake it. Statistics are clear, women who falsely accuse men of rape are rare breeds. And yet they’re dominating the news recently.

My sons now want to know if they should get videotaped consent before every relationship when they’re old enough to have relationships.

I told them yes.

I told them to put those “consent tapes” on the Cloud or the Fog or wherever the fuck we put childhood photos so we can save them forever.

Because you never know.

My sons are good and decent people being raised by good and decent people. We’re all really doing our best. Know how I know? You’ve never heard of any of us.