Excerpted from Maureen Dowd’s column in The New York Times, Sunday July 8, 2018:
Trump has certainly made political discourse more crude and belligerent. But is he making the whole country meaner, coarser, and less empathetic? Or was the pump primed for a political figure like him because the internet had already made America meaner, coarser and less empathetic?
Putting the blame on The Internet would seem to imply that we were always a vicious, self-centered people just waiting for the means to unleash our vitriol on the world.
I don’t believe that.
I don’t know what changed.
And I don’t know how to change it back.
No matter how many bible verses you quote me, if you are asking me to do something unkind, the answer is “No.”
Via Humans of New York:
“I felt humiliated and suicidal in college. It seemed like my personal failings were on display for everyone to see. I’m not all that attractive. I have a speech impediment. I’m not good socially. I saw other guys having romantic success and I felt a lot of envy. I concluded that women owed me something. They owed me a chance. And I was angry they weren’t giving it to me. I’m ashamed of it now, but during that time I formed a lot of bad and hateful opinions. I joined ‘incel’ communities on 4chan and Reddit. I found a lot of men there who felt just like me. The community provided this pseudoscientific justification for hating women. It let us feel like it wasn’t our fault. We stoked each other’s anger. And it felt good. Honestly, anger is just very addictive. You want to feel angry when you’re suffering. It gives you adrenaline. It gets your endorphins going. It’s a release. It’s a substitute for what you’re missing.”
He’s not really so unusual.
Outrage is America’s drug of choice- and there’s a dealer on every news channel.
In this excerpt from Myra Scovel’s autobiography, The Chinese Ginger Jars ©1962, Brother Li has come to visit her husband as he recuperates from a gunshot wound inflicted by a drunken Japanese soldier during the war years:
Fred was amused, but he was looking very tired.
“One would think that you never had a serious moment,” I said, laughing. “Let’s go downstairs and have a cup of coffee. It’s time for Fred to have a nap.”
“Brother Li, you’ve made me feel like a new man,” said Fred. “Happiness is good medicine.”
“Happiness is my mission in life,” Brother Li replied as he rose to go.
“Happiness is my mission in life.” I thought of the words as he pedaled out of the front gate and I remembered the day Brother Li showed me the pair of shoes he was making for an old priest who was having trouble with his feet. He had explained his contrivings to make the shoes comfortable.
“You are wasting your time making shoes,” I said to him. “You would make a wonderful priest. Why didn’t you go on and study to become one?”
He had looked at me as if I were a child. “You do not understand,” he said. “I make shoes for God.”