Sunday, August 5, 2012

The psychosis of right and wrong

What is that word/term I'm looking for? Contradiction is close but not quite fitting. In what context you might be asking. The thought occurred to me that when we were growing up we were taught fairness and justice and doing the "right" things. All altruistic and such, but then reality creeps in to state otherwise. We gathered around the TV as kids to watch the Lone Ranger and Tonto fight the bad guys that we all knew would lose in the end. Right from wrong was a simple matter. Everything was black and white back then, cut and dried. Somewhere along the line the bad guys started winning. And as sick as it sounds the audience started rooting for the bad guy. Had Hollywood become bored with the same old plot lines and cast their fate in a new direction? Ah but there was the code to follow. How did they get past the code? They got past the code because it was dropped somewhere along the line because those in charge of the code thought that movie makers were responsible enough to set their own standards. But that never happens both in the movie business or with other endeavors.

So what have we learned over the past 30 or 40 years and what are we passing on to the next generations? Judging by our entertainment media it's that violence rules. Whomever can produce the most force with the better weapons wins no matter if they're good or bad. Honesty is another value that's been thrown out the window. We all know criminals lie but nobody stops to think that so do the police. Our honesty can be tested by both sides. Trickery is another factor. They say you can rob a freight car with little education but with an advanced degree you can steal the entire railroad. And now entire nations are ripe for the pickings. It's all done with computers. No need to get your hands dirty or wear a mask.

Now that our sense of right and wrong has been cast away, it's filtered down to amateur sports. Maybe Lombardi was wrong when he said "winning isn't the only thing it's everything". Which makes one wonder if ethics are even taught anywhere in our schools anymore. No, it's come down to whoever has the most guns or power or violence or trickery wins. Maybe it always was like that and we just didn't see it. And just how can we be promoting truth justice and the "American" way in other countries when we're gradually taking it away here? There are no more fair fights it's now all that old saying about love and war. All tactics are fair. But eventually that gut feeling sneaks back in and the psychosis revealed. And is this patient ill. Right is now wrong and wrong right. Is there any cure?


BBC said...

More guns, woot hoo...

Remember Sky King?

I think I'm one of the nice guys but what the fuck do I know.

S.W. Anderson said...

There has never been a time without selfish people who would do anything to get what they want. Like everything else, there's a pendulum that swings. Sometimes there seems to be more selfish people and they're going to greater lengths to get what they want. Other times there seems to be fewer of them and they're comparatively tame.

There was a swing away from heroes to anti-heroes in popular culture starting in the late 1960's. It was as though scriptwriters, producers and directors along with a significant segment of the public were gagging on 25 or 30 years of John Wayne and so many others' celluloid heroism and Ozzie and Harriet's ultra sweet wholesomeness. (Did David or Ricky ever storm off to their room saying, "Get off my back, already" Did Harriet never have a time of the month when she was ready to chew nails and spit bullets?)

So we saw the rise of anti-heroes, of stories where there were no heroes, only some bad guys who were less bad than the others. We saw lots of cynicism and disenchantment.

This trend was also a product of disillusionment and discouragement at the loss of Jack and Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King; and from frustration and anger over the seemingly endless unwinnable war in Vietnam.

Heroes came back, but they weren't the same. Compare Lt. Harry Callahan to Detective Joe Friday to appreciate the difference.

The Blog Fodder said...

I like SW's comment. Well thought out and well worded.

"promoting truth justice and the "American" way in other countries" - this is ONLY done in public speeches, trust me. Behind the scenes it is imperialism as usual. The CIA is the World's (and America's)worst enemy.

Anonymous said...

Dirty Harry Callahan can bite me.


Anonymous said...

So, what is the source of Mort Sohl's claim the JFK vowed to "shatter the CIA into a thousand pieces"?

Has anyone else ever heard this claim?

I remember Sky King, he was the flying dog right?

Randal Graves said...

Dirty Harry's far more entertaining a character than Joe Friday. But yeah, there have always been assholes. It's just easier to read about them thanks to Technology.