Monday, March 14, 2011

Despairing of the Human Race

I'm thankful for my blogging friends. You give me hope that the human race is worthwhile after all. Sometimes I'm not so sure. I saw on Facebook where one of the joke writers for the cartoon series Family Guy sent out a twitter comment that said: "If you wanna feel better about this earthquake in Japan, Google "Pearl Harbor death toll".

I'm not mentioning the guy's name because I don't support that kind of thing. But just seeing that comment was enough to make me want to return my human card. Then I looked at a couple of sites where this tweet was being discussed and my dislike for the human race in general went way up.

The guy probably meant his original comment as a joke. He was going for a quick, lazy laugh and didn’t want to put any effort into it. But not only wasn’t it funny, it was horrifically cruel to a people who have lost thousands of their own and are in the midst of one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time. I would think that we all could get behind the fact that the guy who said it was being an asshole, at least at the time he said it, and from what I understand he has made an apology. The worst part, though, was the outpouring of troll behavior in the commenters.

One person said that this kind of comment was typical of liberals and several others joined in with tirades against the evils of liberals. Someone even suggested that this is the kind of thing that happens when you have someone like Obama as president. Now, I have no idea if the guy who made the tweet is a liberal or a conservative as far as politics are concerned, or whether he voted for Obama or not. I also don’t care. He said an asshole thing, no matter what else he “is” or has done. Others added their agreement to the tweet, saying things like the Japanese deserved what they got and how “karma is a bitch.” Frankly, I don’t want to be human in a population that includes people like this.

Take every race, every country, every creed, and you’ll find they’ve done evil things. The Japanese no more “deserve” this than the Gulf Coast deserved Katrina, or New York deserved September 11, or Poland deserved Hitler. A tragedy has occurred, and if you can’t help then at least don’t try to make it worse.

Rant over.


Tom Doolan said...

Agreed. Holy cow, amd I agreed. What a douchenozzle! And what a bunch of douchenozzle sicophants!

I have a frined who lives in Japan, and he was just on FB earlier talking about how the US aide effort is called Operation Tomodachi. That means "friend" in Japanese. The Japanese chose the name, and I think it fits. Like I told my friend, America and Japan have developed a very strong international relationship in the past 70 years. They are our peers, and deserve as much respect as anyone else.


SQT said...

I've talked about this kind of thing on my site too. The anonymity of the net unfortunately allows for people to let the ugly side of their natures run free.

What I worry about are the kids who grow up in this culture. How do they learn how to be decent people in a world that allows for bad behavior without boundaries? Worse, the entertainment industry, as typified by the example you gave, perpetrates this crap and calls it "comedy."

The good news is that decent people aren't doing this. They're contributing through donations that will likely put the U.S. at the top of the list of donations by private citizens. Good people don't waste their time making hateful comments online. They have better things to do. So I suppose we should be glad that the jerks of the world are wasting their time on Twitter. I hope they stay there.

BernardL said...

Take comfort in the fact our forces deployed along the Japanese coast work right now 24/7 to supply water, food, and medical aid to Japan. All political parties in the USA want them there and all sane Americans feel pride seeing them there battling natural disaster side by side with our present day allies and friends.

LoveRundle said...

Charles, I've been wanting to hand my human card in for a while. It hurts to hear how people pass off tragedy.

Honestly, I can't even look at the Yahoo news without feeling something inside me rip apart. I catch myself holding my breath as I read passages of what's going on. The pictures are enough to give me gooseflesh.

On the up note, though I'm not a Lady GaGa fan, she's starting a relief fund and with her wide popularity, I really hope she raises a good amount of money to be of help.

Charles Gramlich said...

Tom, absolutely. The callousness of some folks. Just impossible to believe.

SQT, yes, that's very true. I suppose they have no life except to look for places to show their trollishness. How sad in a way.

Bernardl, well said. It has nothing to do with politics at this level and all to do with compassion for suffering fellow humans.

Christina, when celebreties do set their mind to helping they will have the contacts and the clout to do so. Good for her.

Barrie said...

I saw some of this on FB too. Very sad. But I'm glad you posted about it. And I'm glad I read Tom's comment on your post about Operation Tomodachi. That makes me feel better. And I do believe that, for the most part, we're decent and good.

Angie said...

Absolutely. It's amazing how many people say something completely assholish, and then think adding "Hey, it was just a joke! Lighten up!" makes it all better. :/


Paul R. McNamee said...

Good rant, thanks.

As for the Family Guy joke writer, I can't say I'm surprised. I liked that show from the beginning, when nearly no one else did. I supported their comeback from cancellation, and turned other people onto the show.

But two season ago the jokes got to me. I thought they were in (worse than usual) bad taste; but now that you mention it, maybe they were also just plain lazy, which I find offensive, too.

Someday, *someday*, the human race will leave such people/behavior behind. I hope the 21st century will mark that day.

Sooner the better.

Charles Gramlich said...

Barrie, yes, fortunately good people are going on about the business of helping while the idiots play silly word games that show how lame they are.

Angie, it's just hard to understand.

Paul, I watched quite a few Family Guy episodes from the middle part of the run and thought they often had something funny to say, but there were always a few things that I found offputting. LIke you, that seems to have increased here lately.

Deka Black said...

Your first paragraph isproof that the human race is still in serious need of improvement. Or some people in need of to be disqualified in the evolution race.

Anyway. I am glad to see humans smart enough to behave the proper way in times like these.

You know what was my first thought when i saw the news? Was "CRAP! Juanjo (a friend of mine) lives in Yokohama!")

To finish, let me you tell a thing (is a bit long, sorry):

I am a fan of what is called "tokusatsu". Basically, superhero live action movies and TV Shows. And you know what was the first reaction of the fandom? Complaining for the delayed shows? NO!

They started to search ways of help the land who gave us the heroes we love. Because is time to be a hero to our heroes.
tthere is still hope, Charles ;)

Golden Eagle said...

It's hard to believe people say some of the things they do--especially when it comes to issues that are serious and affect human lives.

j said...

I don't think it is EVER appropriate to make light of human suffering. There is not one thing cute or clever about people being homeless, cold, hungry, scared, hurting, and experiencing the agony of the loss of loved ones. To blame thoughtless speech and general stupidity on a political group is ridiculous. What were they thinking?!!

I hadn't heard this story Charles. My blood is boiling right now.

Ron Scheer said...

I think all humans have a capacity for thoughtless cruelty. We all have an appetite for cheap jokes and cheap thrills. Humor is also sometimes the only way to deal with tragedy and suffering.

Some people get this all mixed up and cross a line they don't know is there. Or choose to ignore it, for what they hope is a big laugh and a brief moment of the attention they desperately desire. Besides that, FB is evil.

Hang onto your human card. Never know when you're gonna need it...

Steve Malley said...

Aww, Charles... Don't give up on us yet: Every family has an embarrassing racist uncle, or a drunk grandmother who hits on high school kids or whatever. We may wince that these folks are related to us, but it's not worth leaving your whole family over.

Says the man who lives over 5000 miles from his nearest kin...

Charles Gramlich said...

Deka Black, I'm glad to hear it. That's an uplifting story. I hope that kind of decency rubs off on some that don't seem to think that way.

The Golden Eagle, not everyone seems to have their brain engaged when they let loose their mouths

jennifer, I know. I was just do soundly disgusted. As if politics should matter in the face of true human suffering.

Ron Scheer, it's part of the problem of having instant communication at ones fingertips. Many might have had some similar thought but not immediately tweeted it. Although it looks like the guy did some thinking before he did. As for the human card, you might be right. If the worst of us humans ever end up in charge they may make the rest of us show our cards in order to live.

Charles Gramlich said...

Steve Malley, my blog friends are my Noahs, they keep me hoping that elements of the human race may yet survive.

Tyhitia Green said...

I've torn up my human card many a time, Charles. There will always be those people who believe in hate--and it's sad.

The guy cannot claim that was a joke--no way.

Heather said...

Karma is a bitch and those who have acted like jerks will one day find themselves in a dark place with nobody to help them.

Akasha Savage. said...

I was disgusted at how soon after the Japanese disaster struck, sick jokes were going around via cell phones. I just cannot find anything funny about people losing their lives or their homes.

David Cranmer said...

Amen, Charles. Thankfully, my little bundle of joy that arrived one month ago today gives me hope for the human race.

Spy Scribbler said...

I've read several comments like that. One said that they didn't send us aid during Katrina, so we shouldn't send them aid now. Where do they make this stuff up? They certainly did help, and a lot.

Even if they hadn't sent aid, we should at least strive to do the right thing.

G. B. Miller said...


And I don't mean that in a good way either.

I don't think it has to do with whether or not the person in question is a liberal, but probably more to do with that people from Hollywood live in a vacuum where its perfectly acceptable to hold everything in contempt.

I don't like Family Guy, even though the creator is from my home state.

Deka Black said...

In paert, i like to think of if as being grateful. And human ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's tacky. Finding humor in others misfortune is not cool. Don't lose faith - most people don't think that way.

X. Dell said...

I dunno. There's a bit too much reason, sense and decency in this post to call it a rant.

You're aware, I'm sure, of that phrase that many people like to quote: "crossing the line." Some might say that this Family Guy writer "crossed the line."

But then, if you ever saw the show (I admit to have watching pieces of episodes), they do make a habit of being mean-spirited, callous, etc. The humor is often racist, sexist, xenophobic et al, and it has a loyal audience. The writers and the viewers call it humor, so long as the biggest or most vicious gags aren't on them.

The point is they're trying to "push the envelope," "be edgy," "come up with something fresh," or engage in about a half-dozen other cliches. They started out in a certain direction, humorwise. They were also probably conscious of "crossing a line" or two, and so they write in a way that "approaches" the line.

Problem is, if you approach the line, you're bound to cross it eventually. And if you're not self-aware, you'd be the last person to realize that you're already 20 light-years beyond it.

The initial statement and subsequent commentary sounds like it's from a group of people who aren't really aware of self or much of anything else, for that matter.

Charles Gramlich said...

Tyhitia Green, a lot of people just want to spout meanness and then HIDE behind "it's a joke." It's disgusting.

Heather, it would certainly be justice.

Akasha Savage, I know. I can't wrap my mind around it.

David Cranmer, indeed. I need to talk to my son. That will help too.

Natasha Fondren, I remember that Japan did indeed offer help after Katrina. I'm not sure if we took it or not but I remember the offer.

G, I'm not an advocate of Family guy, or South park at times and their overly cruel humor. This just seemed particularly tasteless.

Deka Black, it's what 'human' should be at least.

Alex J. Cavanaugh, I know. I should spend less time on the net myself where I run into that kind of crap.

X. Dell, I agree, there's very little self awareness there, and nil self evaluation. the dripping anger and hate is palpable.

Angie said...

I remember that Japan did indeed offer help after Katrina. I'm not sure if we took it or not but I remember the offer.

With that particular accusation, that might be part of the problem. Our government did turn down aid from a number of countries -- I remember reading about foreign aid teams turned away at airports, turned back at the National Guard perimeter around the disaster zone, or just told not to come to the US at all. Our government insisted they had everything handled. [huge freaking eyeroll] But it's possible that people who didn't hear about that think that a lot of countries never even offered. Which doesn't excuse asshat comments at all, but there's room for some misplaced resentment there. :/


nephite blood spartan heart said...

I typically avoid going to some of those comment happy sites just because they do make me angry.

Makes me want to stay in my own little world of broadswords and monsters, and evil sorcerer's and dragons and zombies and...

G. B. Miller said...

I agree, its very tasteless.

I long ago stopped being amazed at what passes for humor nowadays, and simply look at it with a jaded eye and a sense of disillusionment.

Unknown said...

It is very unfortunate that some people enjoy human suffering. These are people who can't think for themselves, or even all.

I enjoyed this post a lot, although I haven't heard anyone say anything so ignorant.

cs harris said...

I saw those comments, Charles, and they literally took my breath away. Reminds me of the people saying New Orleans was hit by Katrina because we're so sinful. Only this is so much worse than Katrina, it is numbing.

Merisi said...

Callous. It is callous to even think about jokes in the face of disaster and tragedies like those unfolding in Japan. It is gut wrenching to think of what the Japanese people are going through on a such monstrous scale, I want to believe in the goodness of people and that we will try to at least help where and how we can.

By chance they showed the movie "Snow falling on Cedars" on TV yesterday. A reminder that some of us are capable of more than just bad jokes. Therefore, thank you for your rant, Charles!

the walking man said...

I may feel better if this fool had been the only one but they abound. Gilbert Gottfried was anther one of the same ilk. I suppose it has to toouch them very personally before it becomes not a joke and un-funny.

laughingwolf said...

when you get on the mothership to leave these kinds of assholes behind, i'll be at your shoulder!

like charles schwartz wrote:

"I love mankind, it's people I can't stand."

~Linus Van Pelt, in PEANUTS

Charles Gramlich said...

Angie, I suspect that could be. I know we turned down quite a few country's aid. Still not completely sure why.

David J. West, yes, people ask me why I read and write the stuff I do rather than more realistic fiction. I tell them I live in the real world and have had enough of it.

G, I try but every once in a while something still gets through my armor.

Carole, stay off some of the political sites then. YOu'll hear some nasty crap if you go there.

Candy, Yeah, when they talked about how sinful New Orleans as they seemed to forget that the whole Gulf Coast took a punch from Katrina.

Merisi, thanks. It is good to see this kind of outpouring so I know there are good folks too.

Mark, makes me want to make jokes at those guys' own tragedies but I find myself unable to be that nasty.

laughingwolf, good one. I want to terraform another world and only let the decent folks like our fellow bloggers in.

Lana Gramlich said...

People are just only ever getting meaner & dumber as time goes on, it seems. <:(

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana, except for you. Youse getting sweeter.

laughingwolf said...

if only...

[twist on the old: what if...?]

laughingwolf said...

uh-oh... that should be charles SCHULTZ :(

Cloudia said...

You are so RIGHT!

Warm Aloha & Gratitude from Honolulu!

Comfort Spiral



Randy Johnson said...

Oh GOd! Such BS. I hesitate to point fingers because,as you so correctly say, every group has nut jobs(my characterization). Whether liberal or conservative, there are just as many caring people concerned about the Japanese people. Along with that, the fringe scream the loudest and the ones that care get right down to doing the right thing.

Jo said...

This is the first I have heard of that insensitive *cough* joke. Just looking at the video footage of the tsunami, and the absolute horror of it, I can't imagine how anyone could joke about it. And you're right, it was a lame joke -- not funny at all. Maybe his karma will get him.

jodi said...

Charles-Hmmmmm, I don't think Karma ever applies to these types of tragedies. Sick joke by a sick person, but it was probably inevitable that some dumbass would remark. You are right. It was a lazy and easy one and he should be ashamed of himself....

Charles Gramlich said...

laughingwolf, Not a problem, man

Cloudia, thanks.

Randy Johnson, that's true, the ones who care do something. The others are really just leeches on society.

Jo, everything is a joke to some people. I think they are empty inside.

jodi, oh there's always someone ready to make some inane crack when others are suffering.

Lana Gramlich said...

No, you. ;) *hugs*

pattinase (abbott) said...

I know who you mean. I think some comedians have an awfully broad sense of what they can say and what's funny. I am thinking of Michael Richards who played Kramer on Seinfeld. And, of course, Mel Gibson. These people live in a bubble, I think.

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana, you know tis you.

Patti, there are a lot of people who are not taught to engage brain before opening mouth, it seems

Jessica Ferguson said...

Nice rant. Bless you.

Charles Gramlich said...

Jess, thanks.

Travis Cody said...

I'm not ready to give up yet, particularly when I recall the care and concern of the docs, technicians, and administrative staff at the vet clinic over the last several months.

Cruelty makes a lot of noise. Being kind and considerate makes nary a sound. And so we hear about a$$hats more than we hear about random acts of kindness.

But while cruelty may make a huge crater, kindness will eventually come along and fill it in.

Charles Gramlich said...

Travis cody, you are indeed right. I think sometimes I'm not strong enough to keep that truth front and center.

Lisa said...

We hear a lot of bad mean things that people do but can we say we have met any of them?

Sometimes I think, which group of people we belong to, is in the eyes of the beholders.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ocean girl, unfortunately I've met quite a few of them. I'd rather I hadn't.

Aine said...

Hear, hear!

There'd be no such thing as enlightenment if there weren't those who need to get there.

Erik Donald France said...

Agreed, agreed, agreed! Why people attack victims is a mystery steeped in evil.

L.A. Mitchell said...

I think it speaks to their lack of worldliness. I want to ask them if they've ever felt vulnerable on foreign soil or taken up arms to defend the helpless in other lands or been so immersed in another culture that they feel a comraderie that transcends patriotism. My guess is no.

Hope you're doing well, Charles :)

ArtSparker said...

I see a lot of very primitive fear in that guy's tweet, as in, "See! Bad things happen to people who do bad things who AREN'T ME, I didn't bomb Pearl Harbor". It's primitive, it's unconscious, and deeply unimaginative (most of us do bad things now and then, and most of us go along with what the powers that be tell us to do).

It's also a sort of signing against the evil eye - "I didn't bomb Pearl Harbor, therefore I will never be inundated by a giant wave, buried under the ruins of my house, or get plutonium in my spinach. In fact, I won't have to die at all, because I'm a good person".

But I know what you mean- I choose to communicate regularly with intelligent, empathetic, imaginative people, and it's an occasional shock to realize that not everyone is like this.

There is America that performs the following mental math: ignorance=innocence=virtue.

To my mind, not good math or ethics.