This Economist article points out how public discourse seems to be going sideways in Britain–like it has been going ugly here for quite a long time. Here’s a great summary:
a tabloid media that are at once sensationalist and stridently censorious; a reductively adversarial parliament; and a centralised system of government, in which the fault for almost any cock-up can be traced to the top. There is also a creeping, American-style taste for litigation. The result is a political culture dominated and warped by blame.
I’ve talked about it here before but it seems to me that there is a seething cauldron of outrage that threatens to burst out at any moment. As this article points out, it often comes out in an immediate search for perpetrators. If something isn’t the way we want it, someone has to take the fall.
I’m hoping to spend a lot more time researching and contemplating this important topic. In my mind it hints at something seriously wrong with our society–a petulance and unhappiness that is all out of proportion with the wealth, ease, comfort and freedom we enjoy. I’d welcome any of your thoughts, comments, and links to interesting statistics or commentary on this thing I am starting to refer to as “Toxic Talk.”
I’m looking for some culprits of my own. I think part of it is a self-indulgent culture, part an education system that proposes dependence on others rather than self-reliance, part of it is a loss of faith and the idea of meaning and purpose, part of it is a legal system run amuck, part of it is social media in which this toxic talk has become the defining value of an entire sub-culture, and part of it is our media in which in their desperation for audiences and the need to entertain is always looking for someone to place the black hat on. That sentence is way too long–but the point is there may be many reasons.
Share your thoughts. You may not even agree that there is something wrong with today’s public discussions.