19 December 2010 | galensaysyes
Answer: I'd mind my own business
One time when I was living in Indiana and engaging in a dispute with a dry cleaner who had failed to clean a shirt as promised, another customer stepped in and informed me I didn't need the shirt cleaned, anyway. Probably everyone has dealt with a presumptuous idiot who considers it her right to meddle in other people's business. Remember Mrs. Norris in Mansfield Park? Remember Maude?
Well, those are the people this show is aimed at, and probably the kind of people who made it. It's a glorification of hubris. Underneath that, of course, it's a trouble-making exercise: it starts fights and then sits back and watches. Here's the set-up: Someone is rude to someone else in a public place--rude, that's all; not violent or threatening. The show rewards the bystander who interferes, knowing nothing of the circumstances, and thereby risks endangering both himself and the person he's supposedly defending; risks escalating a mere discourtesy into a physical confrontation. At the same time the show punishes the people who do the wise thing: sit and mind their own business, rather than make a situation worse by ignorant intervention. The punishment they receive is nagging by the announcer: "AND SHE JUST SITS THERE AND PRETENDS NOT TO NOTICE!!!!!!" Damn right.
A show like this could only have been imagined and carried through by protected idiots: people with the security--i.e. money, job, house--to feel smug and superior and entitled to boss other people; eternally protected from recognizing either their own stupidity or the possible consequences of it. So let me point out the simplest of the facts this show doesn't grasp: A person so far out of control or so oblivious to ordinary standards of conduct as to lash out in a public setting will only be provoked further by a stranger butting in: the meddler could in fact be starting a fight. Police and other professionals who deal with such situations know this. If everyday folks are going to take it on themselves to police their neighbors' conduct they had better learn the same. In the meantime, this show should be kicked off the air. It's a public menace.