Empathy chip missing

June 15, 2009 at 2:00 am 3 comments

Enough has been said in Australia over the tasteless sketch about terminally ill children on The Chaser.  They crossed the line with this one IMHO. Overseas readers can come up to speed by reading this article. I don’t know what The Chaser dudes were thinking but the whole debacle has caused them to issue a public apology. I had planned to do a post that would basically have ranted about how, in contemporary society, we seem to think it’s okay to take free speech to the extremes of ridicule and humiliation. You have been spared my rant because an opinion in The Age said it all for me. The opinion piece, by Shaune Carney, in part explains for me why something like The Chaser’s sketch happened:

“The most striking element of the public reaction was not the level of outrage and disgust, but the extent of public acceptance of the sketch and its message….What the positive reactions to the sketch by The Chaser suggest is that we are now in an era of Me, Me, Me. Years of relativism, cynicism and scoffing at objectivity, and the elevation of subjectivity as our prime condition, seem to have robbed a lot of us of a vital component in a civilised society: empathy. Take for example someone who goes by the handle “coreena”, who commented on Crikey: “I liked the ‘Wish’ skit … I’m fed up being expected to give money so some kid can go to Disneyland.” A child who has been subject to surgery or chemotherapy or radiation or perhaps all three becomes “some kid”. The child’s family, their lives turned inside out, do not rate a mention…..There’s only you, you’re all that matters, and if it’s not affecting you, poke fun at it. They all knew what they were doing. And they knew that a lot of people who admire their work would think that caring about yourself and not caring about anybody else was the smartest way to live.”

And this is also why we have to put up with the likes of Gordon Ramsay (foul-mouthed celebrity chef and “arrogant narcissist”) publicly denigrating Tracy Grimshaw (highly respected TV journalist) by calling her a lesbian, saying that she has the facial features of a pig and that “she needs to see Simon Cowell’s Botox doctor.” Tracy fought back thank goodness, fabulously saying: “Obviously Gordon thinks that any woman who doesn’t find him attractive must be gay. For the record, I don’t. And I’m not.” You can watch her response here.

This image was allegedly flashed on screen during Ramsay’s appearance at the 2009 Good Food and Wine Show in Melbourne and led him to liken Grimshaw to a pig:

Really, what on earth is a so-called celebrity chef doing showing soft-porn images like this at a food and wine show (presumably kids were present)? Why doesn’t he just stick to cooking? During the firestorm that broke out between Ramsay and Grimshaw, he was also caught on video dispensing lewd advice to a young, female reporter – ‘Having run ten marathons, extra-virgin olive oil is good for the nipples. Hot tip.’

With the carry-on about The Chaser and Gordon Ramsay’s stunning lack of grace (go back home to the UK PLEASE), it seems we’ve forgotten that life is about living it with others, feeling empathy for others, imagining yourself in their shoes. It’s not all about ME, ME, ME.


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A glimpse into a private life How Curious!

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. innotecture  |  June 17, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Kim – I didn’t actually perceive The Chaser sketch as bashing sick kids. For me it was all about those feelings we have about vulnerable groups like very ill children. We’re supposed to feel only compassion – and most of us do feel compassion – but it’s mixed with selfishness, apathy and a whole bunch of other stuff. It just didn’t do that particularly well and could have been a lot sharper. The Chaser have been a bit rubbish this season – the KKK sketch being a particular low-point.

    Reply
  • 2. disturbed  |  December 25, 2009 at 8:29 am

    grimshaw? a respected journalist? god, i feel filthy just typing the words, and you managed to type “highly respected” without being overcome by the nausea.

    if people haven’t worked out he says highly offensive things, there is clearly a problem with their learning capacity. don’t like it, don’t watch it. same with the chaser, the skit was funny.

    this boils down to people thinking they should be able to control the morals and decisions of others – how about you just look after your own life and leave others to work it out for themselves.

    Reply
  • 3. kim sbarcea  |  April 16, 2010 at 4:10 am

    Disturbed. Thx for your comment:it’s a shining example of what I’m talking about.

    Reply

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