Slam! Blast! Rip!
I’m a bit of a news junkie. I can’t help it. The newsroom is in my blood such that I spend more time scanning headlines than a healthy person rightfully should. I have a problem, yes, but that problem led me to a recent observation: Have you ever noticed how many headlines these days contain one of the aforementioned combat words?
Road Runner slams Wile E. Coyote! Harry Potter blasts Draco Malfoy! Pooh rips Piglet! You get the idea. This is what passes for news these days.
It’s like the old-time Batman TV show. You know the one I’m talking about. Burt Ward. Adam West. Enough cheese to shame Wisconsin. Bam! Pow! Thwack! Take that, Penguin!
That show was hardly a thing of beauty. Neither are today’s headlines.
Blame it on the internet. This is the click-bait culture, I guess. Conflict creates interest. Fighting words signal conflict. What outrageous thing did so-and-so say about so-and-so today? And down the rabbit hole we go.
Blame it on us. This is increasingly who we are, I’m afraid. Who can get in the sly dig? Who can “destroy” an enemy with quick wit and a superior intellect or maybe just the brute force of belittling an opponent?
Never mind that somewhere out there the other guy has a mother who loves him too. Never mind that the other guy puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like you do. (I mean, you do, don’t you?) Never mind that the other guy has a life experience and a viewpoint just as valid as yours and mine. No, apparently, it’s more fun to duke it out. It’s more satisfying to demean and demonize. Sort of like picking a scab.
Call me a spoilsport, but when did we become such an insufferable bunch of know-it-alls, so convinced we’re right but so insecure in our position as to feel compelled to beat everyone else into submission? Whatever happened to turning the other cheek? Why must we dignify every slight, perceived or otherwise, with a response? Move on and think happy thoughts. Better yet, just listen.
No question something has to change, so I’m starting with me. I hereby vow not to take the bait. I won’t go down that rabbit hole. I want to build up, not tear down. Maybe if we all work together on this, work on ourselves, our own little positive contributions to the ocean of humanity will add up enough to make a difference. At least that’s what I’m hoping.
Chris lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife, Sara, and their six young children. He has a B.A. in communications (print journalism) from Brigham Young University and a J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law. Chris enjoys music by The Piano Guys, flying kites, and pumpkin pie. Chris is the author of Red: A Football Novel. He also spent two years in the Dominican Republic without a pillow, but that’s a story for a different day.