As a kid, I was scared of “The News.” I mean, I was scared of the swings and the “big slide” at the park, too – so maybe that isn’t saying much.
But in general, I grew up viewing TV news reports, non-sports talk radio (sans Mark and Brian, of course!), and 80% of the newspaper as a way to either hear about horrible, scary happenings or listen to/read about how despicable someone or something was. It’s why I only read the comics and “Calendar” sections of the Los Angeles Times, and why I tuned out of everything media-related after the prime time shows wrapped around 9 or 10pm. It was like choosing to watch violence, sadness, and hate.
Last week, as I was visiting with my grandpa, I noticed the news on in the background. He’s not doing great, and has been watching a lot of TV. And I got angry. This is what he’s watching while he’s down for the count? THIS is the media that he’s taking in while he’s supposed to be healing? There is absolutely no way the stress, anxiety, and ill will depicted is doing anything to relax and soothe him in the way someone whose health is in jeopardy is supposed to be relaxed and soothed.
And then I thought about how much of it there is now in comparison to when I was growing up. The internet is incredible, but it also uses shock-factor headlines and hateful stories to entice us, hoping we’ll bond over negativity and start a comment flame war, because more comments means more engagement, and more engagement means more eyeballs, and more eyeballs means more potential for money. Basically.
And then I had another thought – what if I could not only create a round-up of all the good stories out there, but help others find the good in the midst of what might just be misunderstanding? So I’m bringing you The (Good) Word. Just some good news that’s happening out in the world that makes me smile, plus maybe a reflection or two on a controversy that’s got people up in arms…a different, more positive, more empathetic perspective.
The (Good) Word, Week of Sept 5-11th:
This new app is helping people – especially women – feel safer while they walk home. Not just that – it’s actually alerting police if something bad happens. via Business Insider
Forbes digs into why being nice is a business strength. Thrilled to see a major business mag/site diving into the power of positivity and connection. via Forbes
Adore this French artist’s body image illustrations on Instagram. I love how playful these are – and how the women are shown not making any grand statement besides just being themselves. Cecile, you are SO WANT Woman status. via Instagram
CNN reports on strength training for a healthier body image? This is such a WIN. via CNN
A little WANTmmentary on the “Fat Shaming Comedian” scandal…
If you haven’t read about this, let me summarize: comedian puts video on YouTube that “jokingly” fat shames overweight people. Viciously. Gets backlash. Account gets suspended. Account gets reinstated. She does not apologize. Because it’s “comedy.” (*I will not put a link to her, as I do not want to give her more clicks, but you can read more about the backlash here)
No, this wasn’t a smart move. But I think there is a bigger takeaway than it just being “not-smart,” hopefully, especially for the online entertainment world. The basis of so much comedy, both professionally and in real life, is at someone else’s expense. It’s poking fun at someone to make someone else laugh, or assuming that others will “take it lightly” because the one making the joke is “just kidding.”
Jokes hurt. And joking about someone else, ie. shaming someone’s body or something else personal, is just hitting others in their most vulnerable spots for a cheap laugh.
Hopefully, this will make not just other comedians, but people in general think twice before they make a joke at someone else’s expense. Even if it’s made “out of love.” Even if it’s “obviously just a joke.” Because the thing is, something that seems like it’s obviously a joke isn’t always so obviously-a-joke to the person being joked about. Hopefully, this little bit of backlash will make these kinds of jokes a little less acceptable and a little less “funny.” And hopefully, that means it’s a small step forward into a kinder, more empathetic way of living in general. Hopefully…
Heard some (good) words on the street? Leave a comment below and fill the rest of us in!