Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Shame! Come back Shame!

See that's a twist on final line from a movie famous to people who are old enough to join AARP.

It's a well made film with Van Heflin, Jean Arthur, Jack Palance and Alan Ladd as the eponymous 'Shane.' Now eponymous? That just means there's a guy in the movie
named Shane, and the movie is called Shane. So it's eponymous. I like to throw in words like that now & then to prove I managed to stay awake during some of my night school classes.

The old TV show 'Kung Fu' owes a lot to the plot of 'Shane' actually. I watched that David Carradine show a lot as a kid. As an adult, I have some issues with 'Kung Fu.'

First, 'Kung Fu' likely won loads of Emmys, Golden Globes, etc. back in the day for being "bold... cutting edge... takes the Western genre to new places." Bold would've been hiring a Chinese actor for the lead role. I bet Bruce Lee would've taken that job.

Second, we should respect our elders. And sometimes that includes indulging in things they find entertaining. But I just wouldn't spend 15 years of my life trying to snatch a pebble from a blind guy, all right?

Third, I accept the Chinese are a wise and ancient race. But there just HAS to be a better way to take the BBQ grille out to the patio than one that leaves David Carradine's forearms horribly scarred. However, it's their culture, so none of my biz really.

So this movie 'Shane' was doing the 'Kung Fu' basic plot in the 1950's. This guy has death dealing skills but is now a 'man of peace.' That means you have to wait until the end of the show for him to dispatch the bad guys.

But that's not what I wanted to tell you about...

This culture along the way seems to have lost the concept of Shame, and I wish it'd come back. So look, we're friends here right? We can talk. There was no looting in Japan after the recent tragedy because that culture is very tight knit and everything you do reflects on your entire family.

It used to be like that in US culture too, only less vigorously regimented. Like back in the 1960's for example? If your son got his girlfriend pregnant, and then burned his draft card and ran off to Montreal? People would treat YOU noticeably different at Church, or the grocery store, etc.

Well that was wrong too, but it happened. Not to me personally; I've never been to Canada, but things like that happened. You do bad, people shun your entire family.

I'm not advocating a return to such Draconian levels, but Shame has value in a culture. And Shame hasn't ridden into the Sunset by any means. It's still here.

When Congressman Weiner's relatives walk into crowded rooms these days, I bet some people start talking about the weather, rather abruptly. Shame is still here, except as a behavioral deterrent for the individuals engaging in stuff that will totally embarrass a lot of good people once the weasel gets out of the box... or cat out of the bag if you insist on those pedestrian metaphors.

Shame! Come back Shame!

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