Thursday, February 4, 2016

Joel Stein's discussion of public shaming...and possibly being shamed

Joel Stein writes for Times magazine.  I am completely and utterly jealous of the fact that he earns a living writing!  That is truly a dream for a writer.  I write.  I feel the need to write in one format or another each and everyday.  I have written two novels that are published, I have one more that is in the last stages of getting published, and I have written portions of another 7 novels.

Back to that getting paid to write.  Unfortunately, each and every human on this planet needs money.  It costs money to keep a roof over your head, and the weather out.  It costs money to eat, to pay for the utilities so that you can turn on lights, and be warm inside that place where you keep the weather out.  If you manage to afford a vehicle there are monthly payments to own it, and it costs money for insurance, and to maintain it.  Even if you manage to pay all of those expenses, it costs money to put fuel in the tank so that it can take you where you need or want to go.  Pretty much on this planet you need money for survival.

Now back to Mr. Stein's article.  In Africa there was an old lion named Cecil.  He was known across the globe.  Somehow, someway, a rich dentist gained permission to come and shoot and kill the venerable old creature.

What could possibly motivate someone to hunt a creature that is elderly?  It certainly wasn't the thrill of hunting an intelligent animal.  I believe the poor old animal waddled arthritisly (new word but any over 50 will totally get it) by the dentist that hunted him, and was mercilessly shot down.

Did the shooter want a lion head to mount on his fireplace mantel?  There is an old fashioned phrase, "Long in the tooth," which refers to being old and having your teeth getting lower as you age.  I'm not even certain that Cecil had any teeth left, after all, and this dentist probably knew this already, oral hygiene and dental care is not widespread for HUMANS, let alone lions in most of Africa.  I simply can't think of a single motivation that would send someone excitedly out to kill that old lion.

The internet is a marvelous educational tool.  In a heartbeat we can gain all types of information (some of it not so wise or true).  As a wannabe writer, the internet is an important tool.  I can sit on my bed in one state, and do research all over this great country of ours.

On the other hand it can be a powerful tool for those who like to stand on their mythical high ground and judge the actions of others.  Cowards are those that stand in judgment of others without knowing the entire story, or remain anonymous while they tear down others maliciously.  A quote that Joel quoted, and now I'm quoting Joel quoting the quote, "Moral psychology has a very sinister property."  Truly tragic that something that has purpose and values, morality, can be used in such a negative manner.

His last paragraph is very interesting to me.  He says, "Maybe it's best to stop shaming others.  Sure, that will slow progress, but it will prevent fascism.  Unless a lot of you disagree with me.  In which case, I totally think whatever you do."  Ditto Mr. Stein and please keep up your writing so that I may enjoy reading.

I state this with all the sincerity of my heart.  Oh did I mention that I use a pen name?  A nom de plum?  A pseudonym?

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