This is part of a recent post at Greenfield's Sultan Knish blog:
In a Brooklyn housing project, Andre Robinson, a typical denizen, was caught kicking a cat. Robinson had a string of previous offenses, including a knife point robbery, but that didn't outrage anyone. Viral videos of the Knockout Game being played were ignored or denounced as a racist hoax. Andre's video was mild by the standards of World Star Hip Hop which is crammed full of videos chronicling violence against human beings.
If Andre Robinson had been taped kicking a man, no one would have thought about it twice. But he was filmed kicking a cat. And "the internet", a term which sites specializing in viral videos use refractively to refer to themselves, sprang into action to track him down. And track him down they did. Robinson will probably serve more time for kicking a cat, which is okay, than he did for his knife point robbery. Because we are a moral society. We are the best people in the world.
Around the same time another viral video was making its rounds. Emily Letts, a personable abortion counselor, filmed her abortion to show a "positive abortion story."
That strange long lost America of a century ago, whose people really might have been the best people in the world, would have considered Emily a much worse monster than Andre. But that society sometimes seems to have vanished as far into the past as Ancient Rome. It hasn't really, but it has been banished thoroughly from our public spaces. Its brand of morality no longer informs us. Instead it is passed down precariously through families and communities as a local form of dissent.The decline of our society is happening right in front of us, but most folks are too busy to notice. Or too distracted. Or they've been told not to notice, and they think that gives them a pass as they turn their heads and look the other way.