Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Maudlin Displays of Emotion

I can't explain why, but it really makes my skin crawl with disgust to witness almost any kind of maudlin display of emotion in public. Let me provide some examples.

I really can't stand it when news reporters talk to crying, babbling witnesses to acts of violence or to those who have suffered some kind of catastrophic loss, such as after a tornado or fire. It's not that I don't have any feelings for the victims; I just don't want to hear what we all already know - they're sad now.

I hate watching any kind of reunion of a military man with his family, especially when it is set up as a surprise. It's banal, uninteresting, and sappy. And it is nothing new to me to feel this way. I remember when I was a kid watching "Truth or Consequences" with host Bob Barker. I loved that show, but sometimes they would set up a stunt in which the surprise was a reunion with a soldier who had come home unexpectedly from Vietnam. When I knew what they were planning I immediately changed channels.

There are even some commercials now, especially hospital commercials, that show people tearing up because someone they expected to die is now fine thanks to some treatment or whatever. And when they show documentaries or extended news coverage of natural disasters I am always very much interested in the science of what caused it, but I become bored and completely disinterested when they start showing people moaning about the toll they've had to suffer.

I don't know these people. It is obvious they've suffered loss so they don't need to tell me about it. And personal stories of loss are not at all interesting to me. It's boring and it makes me uncomfortable. I can't help the way I feel about it and maybe there is something wrong with that part of my brain that produces empathy, but I don't think so. I can be very empathetic and sympathetic if something happens to people or things that I personally care about. But not strangers. Sorry, it's just who I am.

No comments: