Following this introductory paragraph is a comment I just posted in response to the seemingly never-ending spectacle of what I consider cruelty at the expense of that pageant girl last week. It’s slightly edited for typos and clarity. I regret not making the last paragraph read: "Shame on you. That is all." Thus, the title.
I have to go with George Will on this one.
1972, Supreme Court Justice William Brennan wanted to declare the death
penalty unconstitutional as a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s
proscription of "cruel and unusual" punishments. But the Constitution’s
Framers clearly considered it constitutional. So Brennan simply
asserted—against considerable evidence, such as public-opinion surveys
and actions of state legislatures supporting capital punishment—that
America’s "evolving standards of decency" had rendered the death
penalty unconstitutional. Brennan’s reasoning was dubious, but
standards of decency do evolve. Evolution is not, however, always
Last week, there was nationwide merriment at the
expense of an 18-year-old participant in a South Carolina beauty
pageant. Asked a question about why many Americans might lack
elementary knowledge about the world, she got lost in syntactical
tangles and spoke nonsense. Although there was not a shred of news
value in it, Fox News and CNN played the tape of her mortification, and
by last Friday YouTube’s presentation of it had generated more than 10
million hits. The casual cruelty of publicizing her discomfort, and the
widespread entertainment pleasure derived from it, is evidence that
standards of decency are evolving in the wrong direction.
be all over it if it was some bureaubot, storm trooper, or public
"official." But it’s not. It’s an 18-yr old girl who by accident of
birth is at the tight end of the bell curve and who’s focussed on making
something of that lucky strike. We really don’t know how intelligent or
dumb she is, or in either case, how much effort she has put into
becoming a productive individual in both body and mind.
know is that she’s a young and inexperienced girl who got completely
lost in a train of thought, and instantly knowing it, fell completely
apart. Ever happened to any of you?
Frankly, I’m disgusted in
general by this whole spectacle. As I’ve observed it, it has reminded me a
lot more of a wolf pack than a civilization of human beings.
That is all.