Sat Feb 19 03:22:15 UTC 2022
It was more than twenty-five years ago. Arriving home from the office at the usual time, I turned on the television and with the sound turned down, was enjoying the usual early-evening libation, with Dvorak's Ninth, a long-time favorite. It had just begun when my attention was drawn to the scene on the television.
A police pursuit, of the sort sometimes shown on television in those days (filmed from a helicopter operated by a television station in the area) was in progress. They had become rather common in the Los Angeles area at the time. The news on radio and television informed the local population of the location, and often people who lived along the route would watch, crowding the overpasses of the freeway to watch.
There were a large number of them on this occasion. In those days the television news did not have so much textual information on the lower section of the screen, so it was a few minutes before I learned that the subject of the pursuit was one O. J. Simpson. Simpson had been charged with the murder of his ex-wife and another person a month or so earlier. Apparently he did not want to face justice and so attempted to escape it. A couple of hours later the chase was over the subject was in custody. What followed, mainly the circus of a trial and what transpired afterward is well documented elsewhere. Suffice it to say that any person who does not believe he was guilty is not very bright.
My own thoughts at the time, reinforced by a quarter of a century of observation, where that placing people above their natural station in life is never good, and the greater the distance between the intrinsic worth of a person and the level of elevation, the more damage is done to society as a whole.
Whether it is elevating an employee at the office or factory because of the social status or wealth of family, or a politician of mediocre intellect with little or nothing in the way of beneficial attributes using sophistry, demagoguery and flattery to acquire power, the result is corrosive and ultimately destructive to the society that allows it.
Twenty-five years ago the plant of corruption was shedding its blooms to reveal the poison fruit. Like annual plants, the spread occurs constantly, year after year. So it is that then, as I watched the result of a person with no redeeming qualities at all, beyond an ability to catch a football and run very fast, was elevated to the highest level of society and given the wealth to live in that environment as if worthy of it.
The love of money is the root of all evil. And in modern society, beginning in the nineteenth century, it is at its most pernicious level. The Industrial Revolution no doubt created the environment, with more wealth (in some measure) and leisure time for the majority of the population. Prior to this age, occupations of entertainers, actors, athletes and others who performed for audiences were nowhere near as profitable and mostly they were in the lower classes of society.
In the same way that technological advances gave people more disposable income and leisure time, it allowed that wealth to be harvested by entrepreneurs using recordings of music and motion pictures. The film industry made many ordinary people wealthy and famous, and one needs only to look at the history of Hollywood to see that many of these were low-quality people who, primarily through chance and currying favor with the right people, became wealthy and famous. And many of them acted as their makeup destined them to - many became alcohol and drug addicts, many squandered their fortunes, and others committed various crimes, including murder. Others died from the abuse to their bodies or by suicide.
By the end of the twentieth century the cancer had permeated society. "Reality" television programming produced contrived shows and talent contests which created instant "stars", only to replace them with a new set in the next season. Depraved purveyors of rap "music" and its numerous variants promoting violence, sexual perversion and other forms of antisocial behavior were rewarded with billion-dollar fortunes.
Should we have foreseen this in 1980? The machinery was already in motion. The aforementioned Simpson rose to his high place in society because of his physical attributes. Successful professional athletes are routinely offered opportunities to work, often in entertainment media, after retiring from their original occupation. As with many, Simpson was hired as a commentator by a television network. It was reported by colleagues that he was difficult to work with, in part because of inadequate literacy and communication abilities. He was also given small parts in a number of films, again a custom with professional athletes and celebrities in other 'art' forms. He had a lucrative job as spokesman and making commercials for a large car rental company, again because of his physical ability. He socialized with the wealthy and famous, lived a live of luxury and privilege, and married a very attractive woman. All because of his physical attributes.
Eventually the wife divorced him after years of abuse. Approximately two years later, he brutally murdered her and an acquaintance who had the misfortune to be present. Brutally murdered, with a knife, the ex-wife's body abused by having her head almost severed after she was already dead.
The rest is has long since been exhaustively documented, and is not relevant. What is relevant is that a person of low quality, in intelligence and character, and probably mentally unstable, was allowed to attain a position in society that few achieve even through the most virtuous industry. We see the result.
Society is teeming with such creatures. Basketball players nearly seven feet tall playing a game devised by men of average size but functionally illiterate amassing fortunes of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Marginally attractive young women who, prepared by armies of support personnel - hair and makeup, wardrobe, writers, producers, musicians, accountants and more - turned into "stars" and essentially gifted with millions of dollars. Mental illness, crime, drug addiction and suicides are common, at rates far exceeding the normal population
"Rap artists" with barely enough intelligence to operate an automobile or a phone amass hundreds of millions purveying the most vile material, entertaining only to lesser minds. They kill routinely murder one another, often killing or maiming bystanders in the process.
Sadly, there appears to be no reason to believe that this trend will be reversed without a such a return to sanity as is likely to happen only through the most painful circumstances for the entire nation, however guilty or innocent they may be, and to that degree.