wOw’s Question of the Week

Deceit and betrayal reigns in America! “Three Cups of Tea” is a crock, Arnold Schwarzenegger fathers a love child, Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s accuser is accused, Anthony Weiner flames out, Casey Anthony goes the way of O.J., and Lance Armstrong may have taken us for a ride. Fun summer entertainment — or disturbing sign of moral decay?

Joni Evans: Fun summer entertainment. It happens every summer….because there’s so little news!!!

(And, come to think of it, not all  of these outrageous antics happened in the summer … they just became news when the summer hit!)
Liz Smith: The distinct sign of “moral decay” I see is a lot of crazy Americans who are so eager for the elected president to fail, and to be driven out of office. To achieve this, they seem frighteningly willing to take a chance of damaging the entire economy and social structure. Such selfish political excesses (concern for oil companies and the rich) are downright unpatriotic.

Mary Wells Lawrence: Bob Strauss, who was important to Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, George Bush and Ronald Reagan, knew all the girls and boys in government offices in those years. He once told my husband that he was so grateful to the press for hiding the big sex issue in those offices. It wasn’t until the world and our children got used to living with the movie violence and movie sex on television that the press changed too, perhaps to sell more newspapers and magazines.

It’s often the young who start revolutions and the young, fed by a television world, took to the Internet immediately, giving it the permissiveness and openness and leadership that it has. I think there has always been business fraud, violence of all kinds and love children with household helpers (remember Thomas Jefferson.) But the leadership of television and the games children grow up playing and the explosive exposure of every little thing – important or dumb – has magnified the bad side of life. Maybe bad will become boring and we will hide a lot of it again. Some futurist scientists believe that our future nanotechnology will provide implants to cure the urge to badness as it will the urge to smoke or take drugs.  And early religions believed that 2011 and 2012 were seen by God’s messengers as the world’s worst years and the time when the world begins a slow return to its origins and a blissfulness that was the intent.  Some believe that slowly, ever so slowly, we are developing into one world, one family that will eventually put a lid on troublemakers. Lots of books written about us humans — but nobody really knows very much.

69 Responses so far.

  1. avatar KarenR says:

    Lazy news coverage, not lack of news.

  2. avatar Bonnie O says:

    I think there is little doubt about the moral decay of our culture.  It isn’t just that sex is viewed just about everywhere (anyone watch a daytime soap lately?) and it isn’t about straight or gay people either … I do not relate what I call “moral decay” to sex.

    What concerns me is the violence and advocation or acceptance of violence in the arts.  What also concerns me is the breakup of the family unit.  Not all children born to single mothers or being raised by a single parent turn out violent, illiterate and just plain nasty but too many do.  We are at a point in our society where excuses are made for bad behavior, especially in the young.  And, sadly, that is where finding a moral compass begins … in the home.  Too many American children, not just children with a single parent,  are being raised without a moral compass and, unfortunately, one of their prominent teachers is what they view on their monitors.  And that leads us back to the growing amount of violence being viewed on their screens, monitors or at their movie theatres.  Anyone watch  some of those video and computer games played by kids?  And those folks in the music industry do not escape from their responsibilies either …. some rap music today is criminal.

    Millions of Americans support the Arts and are agreeable that the government chip in with a grant here and there.  Yet too many of the creative people in the ARTS are letting America’s children down and, as a consequence, America, itself.

    • avatar Joan Larsen says:

      Bonnie, I too agree and believe that “moral decay” is an excellent choice of words to define our world.  Fingers of blame can be pointed in many directions, of course.  My own observations tell me that the media probably is most influencial.  We are bombarded.  For the news media to “compete”, we find ourselves bombarded with every small detail that can be dredged up — and then repeated over and over.  Topics that we, as people, didn’t talk about a few years back are now deemed “acceptable” things to say over dinner.  Now, there is nothing that is so “down and dirty” to say and seems acceptable to do – thanks to the 24-hours-a-day rehash of what used to be considered “none-of-you-business” topics – that we have become immune to (well, almost).  Repeat something enough and we – as a society – become brain-washed.  It must be “all right”, isn’t it?  It is on TV.

      But it is what our children, children at an impressionable age, see and hear — and then, God forbid, COPY — that is most disturbing.  “Starter marriages”, “throw-away marriages”, and no longer the least bit of shock at “divorce” — or changing partners as if it were a party game held in the spotlights speak to the kids – saying it is all right.  In fact, to be with it, it is the thing to do.   

      Does anyone even remember “manners”, how truly good “the innocent times” before the premature adulthood took over?  Things have always happened.  We are not that naive.  But way back then, there was something – now lost – called PRIVACY.  Gone.

      And, as Joni said, in its place is something abhorrant that some of us call “entertainment”.
      And some of us call “moral decay” writ large in our world. 

      Sad.  Very sad.

      • avatar Mary says:

        Good points everyone. 

        I am taking the summer off from the news.  I am trying to read more books, do more activity and am busy fighting beurocracy of our states Workers Compensation system that believes in loading me up with chemicals vs getting the treatment I need to get back to work and running my company while not being able to work which is a trick in itself. But, just another broken system as far as I am concerned.

        The good news?  We are still able to express ourselves and to see that the headliners are not to be trusted.

        • avatar Bonnie O says:

          Mary –  I understand your dilemma.  My sister is battling with her disability insurance and has been for some time now.  She fell at work;  it would seem a simple matter but those disability folks try to fob of the patients with steroid injections, heat compresses … anything but the surgery that is needed.  There are so many cheaters out there putting in disability claims for false injuries that the system is now corrupt.  I hope you are able to receive the treatments that you need.

          This is just another sign of the declining honesty in our culture.

          • avatar Mary says:

            I had approval to do swim therapy for two weeks thru the physical therepy dept. of the hospital and it realy was helping.  At least I felt it was strengthening my back.  But, they did not approve any more than that.  BUT, they do approve of giving me a drug that cost about 100. every two weeks, which I cannot take anymore because my legs swelled up like elephant legs and my muscles felt like I was being tazered.  I had bad hallucinations from it and had to have my friend who is also a nurse come and stay with me because I truly felt I was going to die.  Those side affects finally left after 48 hours of stopping the drug. Now I am on another drug that just makes me so loopy that I am good for nothing. I sleep a lot, my brain is fried from tv and my house is looking pretty bad and I will hire someone to at least come and vaacum and dust and such.  I sleep, get up, shower, get dressed, check email, check in at the office and give a few words of loopy wisdom and direction then exhausted I go back to bed .

            I told my doc that here I have been doing everything in my power to become totally organic, no chemicals and here I am having chemicals dumped on me just to be able to stand up!  It is ridiculous.  He wants to change my diagnosis with the WCB but now they want me to have to hire a lawyer, which I have done, because even though the diagnosis is spot on and the treatment that I need  is about 90% effective and I could be back to work in two weeks with it, they would rather pay long term , give me drugs and leave me disabled for long term.  Makes absolutely no sense.

            But they need to keep their jobs .  I used to not be able to understand why people complained about it, after all they were still getting paid etc. but now I clearly see that it is yet another system that is totally broken and needs a complete overhall.

            Sorry, venting.     Mary

          • avatar Joan Larsen says:

            Mary , , , I am so extremely sorry – not only about your illness, but the frustrations that you must endure.  Having to handle things when one is not feeling well – and things that could be and should be done in a far different manner – only adds insult to injury.  Having to hire a lawyer only makes me sad and truly mad.  For we know, this is not how things should be.

            My heart is with you during your pain and in these trials that test the spirit.  I want you to know that.  May there be a turn of events somehow with an ending more pleasing!!  Joan

          • avatar Mary says:

            Joan, thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement.  It makes me very angry that this system just forces people to get Lawyers to fight for them to get such basic treatment.  The whole WC system is set up to become nothing but a series of Catch 22’s.  I know there are many people out there in the same boat and worse and my heart goes out to them.

            The whole situation has been a big lesson for me and is yet another reason why small businesses have such a hard time.  This is not new, the system has been broken or intentionally set up this way for many years.

            I could have treatment in the sense that I could use my health insurance to take care of my needs, but , my insurance company is not allowing me to do so until I have completed the approval process with WC as they consider WC the primary treating insurance for this case.  So therefore I have no idea why I even would use  my health insurance because if I use them and WC approves my case, then my health insurance will go up and health insurance will only kick it back to WC.  Nuts isn’t it?

            The sun is shinning, the air is clearer and I am going to get it in my head that I am going to make use of this day as much as I can.

          • avatar Baby Snooks says:

            It’s a frustration many of us are finding ourselves having to endure as we deal with a health care system that is run on the basis of “protocol” rather than what is best for the patient.  I could write a book about my experiences the past year in the health care system as I navigated between the private and public health care system. Not really trusting either at this point.

            I was “quarantined” for almost a month which cost mey what very little income I have coming in and needlessly so. When they finally confirmed the actual mycobacteria it turned out I have a non-contagious atypical as well as asymptomatic strain of TB which is a very common and normally harmless strain found in the environment. The same drugs are used but in different dosages. I should not have started treatment until they identified the strain. And certainly shouldn’t have been “quarantined” but that is the “protocol.”

            Being released from “quarantine” I proceeded to the dentist who refused to examine me despite the obvious release on my “online” medical records as indicated by the fact that the TB medications were now being prescribed simply because I didn’t have the “form” required by the “protocol.”

            The real shock came from being told the hospital district aka public health care system does not do cosmetic or restorative work even if the tooth is perfectly healthy. They just pull it. Which no doubt  explains why so many people are walking around without teeth in our country which s not only creates futher problems for them since their jaw no longer has the support of teeth but also in many cases prevents them from finding jobs and getting back on their feet. And no, they do not provide dentures.

            Welcome to America. Which has the best of health care if you have the money to pay for it and the orst if you don’t.

          • avatar Benign Czar says:

            Then the best cource of action to take is to make sure you DO enough in life so you can afford health care.   I am greatly distured by thhe thhought processes that say “those who have worked hard should be punished to take care of those who have done nothing”

          • avatar Baby Snooks says:

            I do hope that Fate visits you as it has others and that you cannot afford health insurance or afford to be able to use it if you have it and find out what the reality is.  Obviously you have no idea what it is.  And instead assume everyone who accesses the public health care system is some sort of lazy bum. Not that it matters but my two previous internists were the chairs of the Internal Medicine Department at the university that staffs the public health care system and I did not have insurance then either but that was in the days when doctors rather than “billing” decided what I would be charged.  In the days when I was sent a bill for it all and paid it as I could. Two of the doctors who have treated me did their residency with one of those internists.  And of course wonder why one of his patients would be in the public health care system.  But there I am. Along with others. Who simply cannot afford the private health care system any longer.  And many are on Medicare.  And cannot afford the co-pay insurance or the co-pay.  Fate.  Not choice.

            I am grateful for the public helalth care system. And wouldn’t think to deny access to anyone. Unlike you.

          • avatar Benign Czar says:

            Heaalth care is a service and must be paid for.  If it is aa “right”, then those who will not pay become the masters and those who are forced at the point of a gun to pay become the slaves.  And the funnist thing…those who do the paying are the ones most denigrated wheneever thhey object to paying even more.   Just out of curiosity, when Obama speaks of “shared sacrifice”, what sacrifice do the parasite classes have to make ?

          • avatar Lila says:

            I had some interesting lessons on honesty when I went to Russia for a temporary assignment. It definitely has some kleptocracy and other serious issues but there were some very nice examples of people taking care of each other, too:

            First off, the buses in St. Petersburg: often jam-packed, but you are obligated to get your money to the conductor even if you can’t reach him/her. The procedure was to pass your money forward via your fellow passengers, and they pass the ticket back to you. “Pfft, this money is about to disappear,” I thought. But no – here came my ticket back to me, WITH MY CHANGE! Holy cow. And it worked every time.

            Also during my stay, I took a US visitor shopping at a park in Moscow and she bought several lacquer boxes; later she emailed me from the States, lamenting that she had walked off from one of the vendors’ booths, forgetting one of her best purchases. Oh, well, she thought, lesson learned. I went by the booth the following weekend and asked the vendor if he remembered the woman and what she had bought. Out came the lacquer box, which he had saved for her for two weeks!

            Small things, but it does help keep up one’s faith in humanity…

          • avatar Baby Snooks says:

            You have to have a “card” in order to use the train then get a free transfer on the connecting buses in Houston which many don’t realize and one afternoon I stood and waited while a woman who didn’t know that pleaded with the bus driver who didn’t care that she had no money left to pay for another ticket. 

            I told him I would pay for her which I did. She thanked me. The bus driver glared at me.  Welcome to America!

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        The reality is that the “Objectivism” of Ayn Rand managed to permeate our society and replace morlality with amorality – anything goes as long as it feels good for you. It is the foundation of the “Trickle Down Theory” and the “Noble Lie” which in the end is not noble. This “Objectivism” is why ethics became a dirty word in our vocabulary. As one of our former mayors of Houston put when first running for mayor, it doesn’t matter whether something is ethical. Only whether it is legal. And that is why this country is collapsing. 

        We have become a sociopathic society run for the most part by sociopaths who actually believe their “Noble Lies.”  And worse, quite a few others do as well.   And declare war on those who don’t believe thier lies. Those who believe someone else’s lies.

        Divide and conquer. We  have been divided by design. By soicipaths who forget that a house divided falls. As do their empires. 

  3. avatar Linda Myers says:

    The decay of leadership seems to also contribute. What people valued as leadership in their lives has become transparently lost, creating so many scattered groups without any foundation calling themselves leaders whether political, religious or in business.

    Many tend to look to others for a foundation or example to follow and when that is not present the focus is left in chaos. They lose trust and continue to care less and maybe even become immune to life around themselves, accepting the loss of hope. Much of our elder population feels right now they are without representation or being remembered in Washington as they wait to see if even social security checks will still be available. When the elders or matriarchs of any family begin feeling lost by the leadership they have put their trust in for decades, those feelings and sentiments flow throughout a whole lineage of a family. Watching 800 billion being dispensed and now being told because of a 29 billion dollar interest payment, they should pay by having what personal income they have cut off is only adding to an energy of devastation and loss.

    When the time comes when leadership is again an example to live by rather than decayed, maybe the course will change. Sadly, society is more willing to emulate the level of their focus rather than be accountable for as the person they are. We can play the blame game forever, or become more responsible.

  4. avatar Lila says:

    I agree with Joan and Bonnie – there has been some moral decay. I think it is closely related to self-absorption as well as outright, conscious selfishness. I have long said that selfishness is the root of all evil.

    The boom in electronic “connectedness” does not help. Too many people now interact only very superficially through an electronic device, while ignoring the people who are present – even at dinners, dates, etc. I think being connected through electronics, as opposed to through face-to-face contact, has a socially crippling effect; it stunts our ability to perceive and appreciate what another person is feeling.

    • avatar Linda Myers says:


      I think it is actually scarey the way people create false identities or electronic personalities which they can pull from a hat to represent who they are. Even in person I would wonder who they really are.

  5. avatar phyllis Doyle Pepe says:

    I’m going to go against the grain here and argue that our moral compass has been on a positive trajectory decade after decade. It doesn’t seem like that because we now have news coverage and insight into everything that we never had before. Some have touted the late forties and fifties as the golden era, and in some ways it certainly was, but it was also the era of the Japanese internment, the despicable devouring of Robert Oppenheimer, the McCarthy hearings that ruined countless lives and careers, the deplorable conditions of blacks in our schools and otherwise, the lack of women’s rights…not to mention our blunder in Iran, and I could go on, but the point has been made. As long as human beings are among the living we will have this “moral decay” but the big decays become the small ones as time goes on. It’s a slow slog especially when our Supreme court overturns California’s ban on violent videos for kids under 18. For the five in favor sex seems the horror here, but violence is considered ok. I also am alarmed at our lack of gun control, but so far we haven’t had the kind of JFK, Bobby and Martin assassinations that rocked our world. And today I read where Obama has overturned the long ban on presidents not responding to parents of military suicide victims. One example of that moral trajectory going in the right direction.

    • avatar D C says:

      I’m with Phyllis on this one.  “Moral Decay” is something that our ever-alert news outlets seize upon and flash to the world 24-7.  Once in a while we get some uplifting news, but that’s rare, or relegated to the community newspaper you get for free on Wednesdays. 

      What I see is the biggest problem in this world is “Reality” TV.  Young, impressionable people see the garbage that is presented as reality and BELIEVE that’s the way everyone acts, so they should act that way too.  Parents need to make sure they tell youngsters that Jersey Shore is NOT the way it is — it’s the way those people are told to behave to get higher ratings.  They may not have a script, but they are surely being directed on what to do to get more air time. 

      • avatar Lila says:

        What really chaps me about “Reality” TV is that all of those shows send a message that anyone can be a rich celebrity if they just act outrageous enough. And I fear that many parents don’t talk to their kids enough to make sure they understand that for the other 99.99% of us, we have to behave, stay clear of the law, and be civil to others if we expect to stay gainfully employed.

      • avatar Benign Czar says:

        I wass told this bit of info by my sister the other day….there is a show called “jerseylicious” about a group of “hair stylists”.  My sister goes to that shop and told me that all of the girls on the program aare actresses and do not actuaally work there.   So much for “reality” shows.

  6. avatar Mr. Wow says:

    Well, I hesitate to use the word “fun” in matters that concern dead children, divorce, betrayal, lying, reckless behavior and possible rape.  But…let’s face it, we’ve all had fun dissecting these events.

    Even our “outrage” is kind of fun.  Certainly takes our mind off our own problems, and we are wrapped up in the certainty that we are better people than alleged baby killers, alleged rapists, alleged conniving hotel maids, crazily exhibitionist politicians and a cheating, love-child-hiding ex-muscleman.

    Our purient interst is human nature.  Always has been.  Always will be.  Terrible scandals, murders and other black-hearted deeds are nothing new.  We hear more about it because there are now endless sources of “news.”

    The ancient Greeks talked about moral decay–the young were going to hell in a hand-basket and where were the good days?  You know–The Bronze Age. 

    I am disturbed by reality TV.  This is an abomination that has truly coarsened the culture, dumbed-down an entire generation and encourages rewards for bad behavior. But that’s another subject.  Honestly, we are essentially no more “morally decayed” than we ever were. Perhaps this is not much solace.  In that case, work on coming back as a cat in your next life.

    Our summer scandals?  When the autumn shit hits the fan, we’ll have forgotten all about these messy incidents. Remember–Tiger Woods fell into disgrace on Thanksgiving.

    We’ll all be gossiping and reading and passing judgement on whoever is caught in the cross-hairs of crime, infidelity or weiner-showing. 

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      “Schadenfreude, schadenfreude…”  Of late the schadenfreude has taken on a very perverse rather than merely prurient tone.  It is one thing when someone falls off their pedestal. Quite another when they are pushed off.  But of course you have to be doing something to warrant being pushed off, don’t you?

  7. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    And I have to comment about “Three Cups of Tea” and Greg Mortensen and how it has shaken up the philanthripic world which quite honestly needed to be shaken up. Fraud is fraud. And it is a fraud committed by quite a few charitable organizations that survive solely on the “aura” of the organization, often in the society pages, which as we have seen finally is often nothing more than slick marketing and good press.  He was the “partner” of Joanne King Herring, the “heroine” of Charlie Wilson’s War, in her “Marshall Plan” for Afghanistan. Personally I think she should find another country to save. She might start with her own.  The one thing I admired most about Elizabeth Taylor was her looking beyond the “aura” and instead looking at the books. Executive directors driving BMWs and having million dollar fundraising galas that only netted half a million dollars wasn’t her cup of tea. Pardon the pun with regard to the “Three Cups of Tea.” Very empty cups as it turned out. More people should look more closely.  More are as a result of Greg Mortensen.

    • avatar D C says:

      Simple greed.  People used to write stuff like that and call it what it was:  Fiction.  Now they write fiction, and swear it’s fact, to make more money.  Because fact just isn’t quite interesting enough.  Just ask the tabloids that print gigantic headlines along the lines of “BRAD AND ANGELINA EXPECTING QUINTUPLETS!!!  OCTOMOM IS JEALOUS OF NATURAL CONCEPTION!!!

      Maybe I should go write a memoir.  I’ll call it “My Name: A Memoir”, but I just won’t say it’s a fictional memoir of some fictional character’s life.  I’ll make millions and give it to a fraudulent charity — mine.  Nahhh… I think I’ll just go bake cookies instead. 

    • avatar Joan Larsen says:

      Snooks — With