Something insidious seems to have happened as I have got older. The world as seen through the prism of popular culture continues to be dumbed down. Stupid seems to have become mainstream. This appears to have occurred both in general and business society.
Now, it may well be that I am just becoming one of the grumpy old men from The Muppet Show. I offer the following for you to judge.
CEOs and their executive teams who preside over share prices which fall, are involved in scandals, or are sold on to private equity firms because the executive team cannot get sufficient value out of the assets are given bonuses on top of extremely high salaries.
Politicians not only get away with plausible deniability, but seem to believe that it is a legitimate tactic in executing their responsibility to spend our individual money to build a collective future society for our children, better than the one we were born into. Promises become core promises and non-core promises. The truth becomes what people believe is the truth, not necessarily what is the truth.
People who would be lucky to have a serious following of friends at their local pub, gain national and international notoriety based on actions within a voyeur’s house that would have had them arrested or ostracised from a society with reasonable morals.
Buzz words dominate business. “Going forward” is used as a phrase relating to time used instead of next month or next year, a minimum of ten times in a morning television business news report. If they can do the opposite of going forward in time, then I’d really be listening. Phrases which confuse rather than inform become the norm, for example, “People” becomes “Human capital”, “Employees” becomes “Associates” and organisations “Push the envelope”.
Athletes who can perform their particular skill at a higher level than most others and are paid astronomical salaries to do so, become a protected species if they lose their way and succumb to repeated use of drugs, both legal and illegal. Compared with the “man in the street” they get repeated chances for redemption before the law is applied.
Leaders do not lead. They prefer to pretend that they are like us; so as not to scare us and possibly lose our support. They do not see their role as envisioning and building a better future, persuading us along the way by the force and logic of their idea. Rather they want us to see them as their mates, liking them and supporting them as evidenced by opinion polls.
People do not want to take responsibility for their actions. There is a preponderance of declarations to an ever increasing social media that “the government must do something”. Not about issues which can only be tackled at government level, but about issues over which we have individual control; for example, obesity.
Current affairs and news programmes rarely investigate anymore, settling for entertainment or opinion pieces dressed up as “balanced reporting”. Only later do we find out how much of what should have been a neutral exposé of what actually happened, was heavily laced with staged filming and opinion to create a newsworthy scene.
Governments which used to be known for upholding moral standards, redefine morals and words to suit a low moral purpose. “Torture” becomes “Rendition”, Invasion” becomes “Pre-emption” and “Prisoners of War” become “Enemy Combatants”.
New words are created where perfectly good ones existed. My favourite is “celebutante”, meaning: A person of high society and wealth who’s famous just for the fact of being rich and fabulous; A socialite who is “famous for being famous”. I would have thought “shallow” would have done in the same context.
Children’s names are altered purely for the sake of making them different. Worse than the “Summer”, “Moon” and “Tuesday” epidemics of the late 70’s and early 80’s we now have Rojar instead of Roger, Kathee instead of Kathy or Karolyne instead of Caroline.
It seems as though there are a great many people out there who are not only dissatisfied with being the best version of who they can be, but are willing to also set up their children’s life from birth as one in search of difference over excelling.
Now, I don’t know whether I am more like Statler or Waldorf, but I do feel better, getting that off my chest.