LABEL VS. ENABLE: A CASE FOR PUBLIC SHAMING

By April 22, 2014 October 31st, 2016 Random/Rants

A high-profile controversy erupts and there they are yet again, blathering on as the self-anointed representative for this cause or that victim. Capable of grabbing any and all open microphones, the likes of Jesse Jackson, Gloria Allred and Sarah Palin remarkably appear at a moment’s notice, like superhuman publicity hounds, to aid any reporter in need of a provocative sound bite and some good old righteous indignation.

So obnoxious is this glory hogging habit that it actually spawned its own derisive label — media whore. That’s right; our only recourse as an abused society is to attempt to hurt them with words, since we can’t throw sticks and stones.

Besides convenient shorthand, the application of labels such as media whore serves to expose and embarrass perpetrators of such offensive behaviors. In theory at least, the risk of being saddled with a humiliating label is a powerful deterrent.

LABELMAKERS

Literally speaking, this is a public service announcement; a call to action for the country’s top labelmakers – humorists, satirists, columnists and other wordsmiths — to help coin more of these critically constructive labels. And of the myriad public offenders, here are a random few whose particularly shameful behavior warrants immediate attention.

  • Though the word “grandstanding” already defines the blustery behavior of politicians and pundits, something more derisive is needed for those who exploit the fears of vulnerable constituents. We can begin with those who scared millions of older adults by reinforcing the myth of Obamacare’s “death panel.”
  • Let’s label those afflicted with a lack personal awareness — who invade your personal space, interrupt conversations, and talk too loud and too much but don’t really say anything.
  • And let’s vilify all the rude motorists – with lip-readable labels. The first to be called out should be drivers who race down freeway merge lanes in an attempt to circumvent stalled traffic. Maybe the label could help remind these loathsome fools how cutting in line has been discouraged since kindergarten.

Sound the trumpets. Now is the time for the long-suffering, too-silent majority to label rather than enable anti-social behavior.

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