Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:January 16th, 2008 13:50 EST

Sadistic Voyeurs of the Tabloid

By Sean Stubblefield


LaShelle Turner`s recent post on bad publicity brings up an excellent point that deserves attention: Schadenfreude. That`s a German word meaning finding pleasure in the pain, suffering or misfortune of others ". A truly evil attitude. What a pitiable and pathetic specimen you must be to relish the suffering of others. Shame on you for laughing at and kicking a guy when he`s down. Isn`t that the definition of sociopath?

There are a disturbing number of people in this world who do enjoy when people are hurting, failing, messing up or messed up. They get some perverse amusement and satisfaction from the misery and discomfort of others. Sadistic voyeurs of the tabloid. Would you think it so funny or entertaining if that happened to you?

I am taking a stand and saying there is something fundamentally wrong with this.

We should be discouraging less and encouraging more. Punishing less and rewarding more. Standing by less and standing up and out more.

The competitive capitalist dogma of our society teaches us to appreciate and celebrate our own achievement, at the expense of the victories of others. We are conditioned to help ourselves, not others. When others fail, it makes despicable folk feel better about themselves because it`s like raising themselves by putting someone down, and because it seems to excuse or momentarily obscure their own failure.

Furthermore, there are many people who are so accustomed to unhappiness that to witness happiness openly exhibited in others is strange, uncomfortable and annoying for them. So typically passionless are they, that observing genuine, exuberant passion from others about anything is totally alien and confounding. So typically apathetic and selfish, that an individual who sincerely cares about being a better person, and helping/ wanting others to succeed (as well as or instead of himself) is considered a bizarre concept " shunned and ridiculed as weird.

So regularly compromising and insecure in their beliefs they are " because they haven`t really thought about what they think, that encountering someone profoundly secure, confident and uncompromising " because they have thought about what they think -- is shocking, offensive, intimidating " to be condemned. Such a person must be crazy!

It`s not normal (i.e.- wrong/ bad).

People just don`t behave that way (which would be unfortunate, if true), at least not in polite company.

But maybe more of us should.

There are some people who just don`t like to see other people happy. They try to actively stop it. They find that sort of happiness ugly. "

I know that we have an opportunity to really help " effectively change people`s lives and I am dedicated to that. "

I just want to help. "

I want a world without war, a world without insanity. I want to see people do well. I don`t even think it`s as much as what I want for myself. It`s more what I want for the people around me. That`s what I want. "

Sounds a lot like Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek.

But it was Tom Cruise I`m quoting here. Clearly, he is crazy.

I mean, how dare he want people to be and do better, living happier, more productive lives?! What is he thinking?

Perhaps what is really so obnoxious to his detractors is their own inadequacies in light of the kind of daring public displays of affection and purpose he has expressed.

The attitude revealed in these quotes is one of the reasons I admire and respect him.

Tom`s vigorous devotion to Scientology as a means of helping others may seem rather enthusiastic and over-zealous. But replace the Scientology framework with Christianity, and see what happens. There are a great many Christians promoting their religion so eagerly and boldly.

If a Christian were advocating such idealistic beneficence distributed through the platform of God/ Jesus/ the Bible, would so many people be so bothered, incredulous and mocking? We routinely accept and compliment the Christian.

Whether Scientology or Christianity, the intention is the same and is commendable.

Sure, mock someone for being a Scientologist or Christian if you must, but not for being benevolent and wanting to help others in need.

I don`t condone either religion, but if they can be used as a vehicle for philanthropy and random acts of kindness, then let them proceed with our blessing. Apparently, there is much work to do and we can use all the help we can get.