Every morning I wake up to news. Not intense news, mind you. More “browse-the-headlines” news. If it looks stomach-turningly negative or hopeless, I take an ostrich-head pitch into the sands of Skip-It. But if its lead becomes curiouser and curiouser, I read.
Today the news was about December 26th. OK, it’s the Feast of St. Stephen, all right. But it’s “Boxing Day” in Jolly Olde, too, and even though that means “boxes” as in gifts or gratuities to those who serve you throughout the year and not float-like-a-butterfly sparring, boxing as in rumbles were the order of the day.
What Boxing Day was supposed to mean: tips for the help. Forget Upstairs, Downstairs or whatever they’re showing on PBS nowadays. We’re talking tips for the garbageman, the paperman (formerly “paperboy” until age did its number on him), or the USPS mailman who leaves your packages in the rain rather than walk an extra 30 feet to the protected porch.
What Boxing Day actually meant yesterday: another “victory” for social media. Apparently young people (what they call “hooligans” in the renascent Soviet Union) ran riot in dozens of shopping malls across the country. Fisticuffs. Stampeding. Shouting random words like, say, “Gun!” (So, so random.)
Kids will be kids, as the saying goes. But what it really provides is another example of the toxic mix or our age: the Internet and boredom. “Let’s see,” the young and the bored collectively typed. “Around three days into our vacation from school we’ll be bored silly. Can we all scream, run, and tussle in malls at 4 o’clock eastern, 3 o’clock Central, 2 o’clock Pacific? I’m almost sure it will go viral if we do!”
And we don’t need degrees in Communications 2016 to realize that there is no honor higher in life than having uploaded film from your cellphone go viral, garnering umpteen thousand hits from the masses slash great unwashed slash madding crowd.
Ho-hum. Off to our next headline, our next positive contribution to the greater good….