From A Culture Of Apathy To A Culture of Voyeurs... Culture May Change But Results Don't
When Phil Ochs wrote this song back in the 1960's, it was at a time when protest music still had some class unlike the thug-life classics of today. The first stanza bespeaks of the brutal murder of a New York woman named Kitty Genovese in March of 1964. There were 38 onlookers none of whom did anything to assist the helpless woman. These are a few excerpts from the NY Times:
For more than half an hour 38 respectable, law‐abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens.
Twice the sound of their voices and the sudden glow of their bedroom lights interrupted him and frightened him off. Each time he returned, sought her out and stabbed her again. Not one person telephoned ‐ the police during the assault; one witness called after the woman was dead.
After locking her car and heading in the direction of her apartment she noticed a man following her:
She got as far as a street light in front of a bookstore before the man grabbed her. she screamed. Lights went on in the 10‐story apartment house at 82‐67. Austin Street, which faces the bookstore. Windows slid open and voices punctured the early‐morning stillness.
Miss Genovese screamed: oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please help me! Please help me !”
From one of the upper window in the apartment house, a man called down: “Let that girl alone !”
Lights went out. The killer returned to Miss Genovese, now trying to make her way around the side of the building by the parking lot to get to her apartment. The assailant stabbed her again.
“I'm dying!” she shrieked. “I'm dying!” She shrieked. “I'm dying!”
Ochs, in his inimitable style wrote: "Look outside the window there's a woman being grabbed, they've dragged her in the bushes and now she's being stabbed. Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain, but Monopoly is so much fun I'd hate to blow the game. [Refrain] And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody outside of a small circle of friends."
The protest movement that did develop later in the 60's over the Vietnam War along with the involvement of whites in the Civil Rights movement was born more out of narcissism than any real concern over pertinent social issues... it was the "cool" thing to be seen at these rallys. Och's song described the apathy of the 60's and the narcissism of the day perfectly... if it doesn't affect me directly, why bother. But things have changed...
We've transformed from a society of moral introverts into a culture of voyeurs... the end result is the same- the Kitty Genovese's of the world get no aid, but everything is preserved for posterity. Infrequently someone is apprehended when, in their attempt to become the next big thing on social media, a budding "videographer" posts the attack on YouTube or some similar platform. Once again, this is driven more by narcissism and voyeurism than any fundamental social conscience. What's most troubling is that these events seem to be occurring with a frightening frequency. There were two of these recorded mishaps in the last several days. I'm sure most are familiar with this viral video...
An unspeakably horrifying video shows a man brutally and repeatedly kicking an elderly woman in the face and torso while she sits on a bench in a New York City subway train. That is not even the worst part. A group of onlookers stand around watching and cheering like they're at a professional wrestling match. The assault continues for several seconds and nobody even attempts to intervene. When the train stops, the crowd allows the vile scumbag to simply stroll away and leave the scene of the crime.
Here's the most troubling part:
Of course, as usual, multiple people made sure to film the incident. It should be noted that they filmed it for the social media traffic it would bring, not because they wanted to help apprehend the suspect. We know this is the case because the crime occurred weeks ago but the NYPD evidently just found out, after someone discovered the video online and reposted it. Those who took the original videos apparently made no effort to alert the authorities, just as they made no effort to defend the helpless 78-year-old woman who was being stomped right in front of them.
If someone hadn't reposted the video, the police may never even been aware that it happened... where's Bernard Goetz when you need him! Matt Walsh, the author of the article really drives the nail home with this next statement...
It is one thing for a single cowardly hunk of garbage to behave like a cowardly hunk of garbage. Humanity has always been plagued by those types. They can be dealt with. But it is much harder for a culture to survive and sustain itself when the average onlookers, who are not themselves interested in stomping old ladies, are nonetheless entertained by the spectacle and most concerned with parlaying it into Facebook shares. It is not necessarily a statement about society that one awful man does something awful. It is a statement about society that the first instinct of the crowd is to get it all on video.
Walsh goes on to say that in a morally healthy country the group of onlookers, instead of filming to gain Fakebook shares would have beaten this POS to death while the women tended to the elderly victim... but not in the Enlightened States of America...
But we are in a more enlightened age now. An age where the man is allowed to leave with his teeth still in his head, and the elderly woman is left bleeding in the corner of the train without anyone even stopping to ask if she's okay. I really wish that we were not so enlightened.
I'm with you Matt... I guess my problem is a lack of enlightenment. At 73 and in terrible health I would have tried to do something, at my own detriment- better me than an elderly lady. But this doesn't end here... from a story out of Dallas, accompanied by a similar editorial comment: Editor's Note: I want to know why the guys videoing this didn't put down the camera and go help the woman? Cowards.
Dallas police have arrested Austin Shuffield, a Deep Ellum Bartender who was caught on witness video repeatedly assaulting 24-year old L’Daijohnique Lee. According to witnesses, Lee had pulled her vehicle over for a short period of time while dropping a friend off in the nightlife district of Downtown Dallas. Shuffield reportedly confronted the woman for blocking the entrance to the lot. Lee says Shuffield approached her vehicle after she eventually parked her car in an attempt to get a picture of her license plate, to which Lee told him to “get back or else she would mace him.”
Here's the crux of the story...
A witness recorded the entire event via phone and at one point it shows the man, identified as Shuffield, pull out a gun during the confrontation.
He never points it at Lee or threatens her with it, however. “I got scared, I was like ‘you have a gun?’ The first thing I thought to do was call the police,” she said.
Authorities wrote that Lee said she then went to call 911, which is when Shuffield can be seen in the video slapping a phone out of her hand and kicking it away from her.…
“He charged at me, and he just kept hitting me, and I was like ‘ok, ok, ok’,” Lee said.
Not one person attempted to intervene on behalf of this woman. Granted, the guy had a gun, but I'm not advocating charging him. But someone could have, in a nonthreatening manner, tried to talk him into halting his assault... but at least they got it recorded, so they should get some social media brownie points. I just don't understand what's wrong with people. I guess Matt Walsh is right- we've become too enlightened. It seems that the more progressive we become the less human, not to mention humane, we become. Why help the victims of violence when it might impede our chances of becoming internet superstars.