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The Age of Insults

posted 1/25/2007 5:26:46 PM |
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Welcome to The Age of Insults -- a time when civility, respect
and tolerance mean nothing. Hurting people's feelings means even
Today, making enemies is more popular than making friends, and
political and cultural debates end up being personal.
Heaven help you if you have the ability to actually put yourself
in another person's shoes and see the world from his or her point of
view! These days, that's considered a weakness, not a strength.
Worse yet, insulting people has become a profitable endeavor.
The more you insult, the richer you get.
A man who could become the next president of the United States,
U.S. Senator Barack Obama, just happens to have big ears -- a fact
that a prominent journalist couldn't resist commenting on. Sen.
Obama saw her at an event, approached her, and responded that he
didn't take her remarks kindly. She told him that she was just
helping him "toughen up" for the grueling campaign ahead.
The next day, we hear radio commentator Rush Limbaugh referring
to the Senator as Barack O'Dumbo. Several weeks earlier, Mr.
Limbaugh made fun of Michael J. Fox's spasms caused by his
Parkinson's disease.
But that was nothing compared to the recent flap between Rosie
O'Donnell and Donald Trump with the personal name calling. More
recently, Rosie slammed Simon Cowell from American Idol for
ridiculing one of the contestants in front of millions of people by
saying he looks like a monkey, or more exactly, "a bush baby." Rosie
was lamenting the fact that the show has less to do with music and
more to do with laughing at physical characteristics for
entertainment purposes. Rosie was right on that one.
Yes, show business is a tough racket and it's not the place to
be if you want to feel good about yourself. Judges are supposed to
be critical and contestants have to be prepared to face the music, so
to speak. But there's a big difference between saying, "You can't
sing," and saying, "You can't sing and you're ugly too."
No one is spared. From cruel grade school bullies to
millionaires who think it has become stylish to berate, ridicule and
be mean to each other and their guests, everyone is getting into the
Do you think the guests on the Jerry Springer Show will ever
understand that their antics, name calling and fighting is being
encouraged and presented for only one purpose -- to line the pockets
of the show's producers, while their own lives are being torn apart
for the audience's entertainment? We shudder to think what people
from other countries around the world think about us when they watch
that show.
This isn't just on television. Even educators aren't
blameless. Just recently, a college professor asked her class how
many students could remember an instance where they witnessed a
teacher bullying a child in class. Over 70% raised their hands.
What grade school kid is going to report a teacher for being a bully?
Not a one.
Take a look at sports. Our young people are watching
professional athletes duke it out on the courts and fields.
Sportsmanship has been tossed aside and it's acceptable to actually
hate your opponent. Look at the professional coaches who hit their
players. Look at the volunteer parent coaches who hit kids, umpires
and each other. And that's over a game! Can you imagine how these
people function in the real world?
Teenagers who have harnessed the power of the Internet with
email and instant messaging, are destroying each other with online
gossip and insults. Fifty years ago, school yard gossip was confined
to the girls' lavatory. Now it's being instantly spread at the speed
of light to dozens, if not hundreds, of classmates. The victims are
helpless to defend themselves.
Parents used to tell their children, "If you don't have anything
nice to say, then don't say it." The Baby Boomers have forgotten
that advice, and even worse, have failed to pass it along to the
younger generation who have never heard it and have no idea what it
The descent into The Age of Insults, particularly from a
political point of view, is called "polarization." That means we're
all supposed to choose opposite sides and yell, "We're right and
you're wrong," regardless of what the issue happens to be. If the
people on the other side of the fence aren't converted to your way of
thinking, well then, it's time to subjugate them. Look at the
cultural and religious battles taking place.
Well forgive us, but we don't know of anyone on the planet at
the moment who has a monopoly on the truth. However, there was
Somebody who did, and He taught a simple lesson 2000 years ago by
saying, "Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way
you judge, you will be judged." And as far as the Golden Rule is
concerned, has anyone heard it referenced lately?
Let's work to turn things around this year and let people,
especially our young people, realize that the strongest among us can
listen rather than ridicule, can respect rather than condemn. We
need to redefine who our heroes are. We need to promote leaders in
show business, politics, sports, education, religion and business,
who can lift our spirits and give us hope that our civilization can
rise above this behavior -- a civilization that will not allow the
strong to bully the weak and that hurtling punches and insults is
something that is disdained, not admired.
Yes, leadership is important, but if we are ever going to get
beyond this, it will require an effort by every person, from every
walk of life.
And as far as Sen. Obama's ears are concerned, we suggest he use
them to his advantage. He can say, "God gave me big ears for a
reason. I can hear the voice of the people loud and clear!"

-- Lee Simonson, Publisher,

Posted here with permission from the author

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Jan 25 @ 5:34PM  
Limbaugh did not make fun of Michael J. Fox at all. I remember listening to that radio show that afternoon when he was talking about Mr Fox. Some of the TV networks ran clips of his show with how Rush Limbaugh described what he saw with the ad of Mr. Fox and the networks did re-edited the audio tape to run with the video tape where they did not match up to make Rush Limbaugh look like he was making fun of Mr. Fox. It's the network news media that most people don't trust.

Jan 25 @ 5:36PM  
Great one sunny, and i've commented on it before if you don't have something nice to say don't say anything at all!! I will admit I do my best to live by the golden rule, and i always try to give someone the benefit of doubt to begin with. Great Blog!!!

Jan 25 @ 5:44PM  
Authors and protiteriats have been saying the exact same thing for 30 yrs now. We would have called them prophets at one time. Look back to Andy Warhol and his 20 minutes of fame. Remember Alvin Tofler and Future Shock or his succeding book, The Third Wave? Even science fiction writers could see it coming. The more a society advances, the more also it decays from within. Look to all the great civilizations of the past. Think that they were handily defeated by another, greater conquerer? No, they were already falling and were ripe for the picking. We are steadily advancing to that stage now led by the media, the internet and all the instant communications we have around the world. Why can't we learn from our past mistakes and break the vicious circle?

Sorry, didn't mean to steal your blog.

Jan 25 @ 5:44PM  
I did want to give you a kudos for that.

Jan 25 @ 5:53PM  
So absolutely right that I'm shocked it has been put into words.

Jan 25 @ 6:18PM  
Great blog Sunny, I agree with tlc, if ya got nothing good to say, then say nothing.


Jan 26 @ 6:59AM  
Great blog,gives us alot to think about. Thank You.

Jan 26 @ 7:03AM  
Thanks for a great bolg. Two thumbs up. Great things to ponder on.

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The Age of Insults