I do not have a link, but David Brooks was speaking on Meet the Press this morning about the Don Imus affair in the USA.
He says shock-jock popularity is not about racism. It is about cruelty. Institutionalized culturally based cruelty. Indiscriminate cruelty for its own sake.
On hearing the case (allegedly put forth by Snoop Dog in defense of his own misogynistic lyrics) that these particular women, the basketball players should not have been spoken about that way, Brooks said with sad derision, “We can only step on the down trodden.”
Brooks also points out that Imus was very heavily watched and listened to by the power elite. After an appearance on Imus’ show he, Brooks, received a remarkable amount of feedback from the power elite that
make made up a disproportionate part of Imus’ audience. So now I ask, what does this say about the souls of those who demand the power and authority to be our masters? What does it mean that the powerful should be so enamoured of deliberate and systematic cruelty that they listen to it for entertainment? Somehow, I am not as surprised as I would like to be.
I think this path to cruelty is one that has been travelled farther in the UK than here, but we appear to be following closely behind you. My personal opinion is that cruelty is a/the clear marker for both the decadence and impotence of a society. Celebrated cruelty is the symptom of a society that has reoriented from protecting its weakest members to baiting them for entertainment. It is historically clear that cruelty, a cultural coldness in the extremities of society, is one of the final signs of its imminent death.
On a positive note, watching this exposure of the internal tensions in the power cabal has provided some interesting moments. For me, the most interesting of all was hearing the market place being praised from the left for having removed Imus from the air (referring to the actions of sponsors). I will take all such statements/concessions as a sign of our strength.