The View from Faraway Farm: Judgment is a social media commodity we love to watch

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Many of us simply cannot help ourselves. We see the headline on social media about some white woman screaming racial epithets at a black woman on a New York City street. She appears to be wearing an evening dress but is holding a 12-pack of beer and has one can open, drinking as she walks. On further examination, you observe that she is wearing hiking boots and she just might be homeless. It doesn't excuse the public rant. Posts like this suck me in with no effort.

I watched another one where a white guy in a gated community in Florida raged at two 15-year-old Black girls, questioning their right to be there. They lived in the community. He refused to believe it. This happened directly in front of their home. Turns out the guy works for Homeland Security. To date nothing has been resolved, but cancel culture has kicked in and everyone wants the guy's head on a platter. I don't blame them. However, one commenter wants him charged with sexual harassment because part of his argument to the girls was his comment that 15-year-olds could marry in Mississippi and Alabama. That's the part of cancel culture being used against older white males that is just over the top. The guy is bad, but sexual harassment with that statement is a stretch.

These recorded encounters seem to pop up regularly. Whenever voices are raised, that is society's cue to whip out the cell phone and start recording video. Drama, drama, drama, and it seems as though we are addicted to it. It gets posted on social media and then everyone hides behind the keyboard and says whatever pops into their heads no matter who it offends. Is this good or bad?

I think it is one more step in the evolution of our modern society, one that I hope we can transcend as soon as possible. It's the equivalent of watching little snippets of a cinema verite version of the Jerry Springer show. A certain segment of the population is going to feed on this stuff and as long as it gets millions of views it will be front and center. When interest wanes we won't see it as much and it will fade like a worn-out sitcoms ratings.

There is the exposure of bad behavior to a very wide audience. If we as a society disapprove of horrible people going off on minorities in public, societal pressure should greatly reduce these incidences. Seeing people stand up to these bullies is yet another way to encourage the general population to simply stop taking it. I just wish we could evolve faster.

Can we use social media to educate the public not to be racist? If we could do that, can we somehow use social media to get people to stop separating people for other reasons as well? I remember skiing with my family when they were young at Suicide Six in Pomfret. My daughter and I had witnessed a bad accident on the mountain and followed the ski patrol into the base lodge area just to see if the young lady involved was going to be OK (she was). One of the wealthy slopeside homeowners was standing there, looked at our season passes, and pointed at me, and said "How did you get that?" Admittedly we were not outfitted with new ski equipment. We had purchased our equipment from last year's rental fleet. Somehow this made us second class citizens in Mr. Slopesides's eyes. That kind of thinking is out there on so many levels. Classism, racism, isms for this, isms for that. It's all caused by horrendous levels of insecurity. If you think that way, you are part of the problem.

Judgment has hurt a lot of people, caused a world of calamity and trouble. Now it is a commodity on social media that we love to watch. We've got to be careful because a little bit of it may show us how not to behave, but too much of it just might make us sick.

The Morning Almanac with Arlo Mudgett can be heard Monday through Saturday mornings on radio stations Oldies KOOL FM 106.7, 96.3 and 106.5 and over Peak-FM 101.9 and 100.7. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.



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