Back in college, before blogs, we used to sit around for hours and know that we had the answers to the worlds problems. One of the things that we were feeling good about with regard to society at that time was our disdain for freak shows. A quick history lesson for some. Carnivals, circuses, and traveling tent shows used to employ or enslave “freaks” for the purpose of selling tickets to look at these oddities of life. (Some of the freaks were frauds, but some were real.)
We of the cultural elite at that time felt pretty superior by virtue of our having no interest in laughing or staring at such folks. We were also pretty proud of our enjoying the company of people of every color, nation, and creed. We were quick to include the deaf, blind, or wheelchair bound in our groups, too. Surely society had advanced in a major way for us to be so inclusive.
Now, here is the question. Were we right? If we were right, our society must be in decline at this point since much of our most popular television is now watching the weirdest of the weird get some attention.
If we were right, should we be concerned about this turn of events? If we were wrong, and it is perfectly ok to amuse ourselves by gawking and laughing at human oddities, I’d like to hear why.