Interesting thread, though I'm not sure it was Reality TV that did all the breaking. I think the 1980s-90s removal of all social safety catches on capitalism pushed us to 'everyone competes'

twitter.com/BWJones/status/103

<<Been pushing around some concepts about current culture today in my head, centered around reality television breaking our society. Notions of nuance, de-escalation, humility, and common service have been completely turned around by reality “TV” in favor of engineered conflict. >>

And I'm still not over my angry that it was the so-called *left*, as much as the right, that completely bought into the 'competition and individualism are good for the soul, y'all, cooperation just makes you weak and soft' mantra.

I know anger isn't helpful and so I want to be over it. But I'm not, yet.

But the OP's thesis that Reality TV is fundamentally bad for us, that it artificially creates conflict and makes conflict fun... that I agree with. It's why I avoid the genre wherever possible. I just hate seeing people fight each other when they could work together.

I am still completely gobsmacked each time I think about Ayn Rand and realise, again, that there was a dedicated, organised movement in American culture since the 1950s to literally *call empathy and altruism evil*. To make people less loving. And that very high ranking politicians, businesspeople.... and religious leaders, who know and teach better... bought into it.

That stuns me. Still does. Every time.

How. How did that happen? How did we let these people, this ideology, run our society?

@natecull Ayn Rand was just a cult leader and I think her influence is often overestimated. Ayn Rand herself was a creation of the anti-communism of the early 20th century.

@bob She certainly was just a cult leader, but a remarkably influential one (because of that existing anti-communist scene); not all cults include in their inner circle a future Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

It's that mix of very odd, extreme views ("altruism is literally evil") combined with followers who were eager to hear and in a position to teach and implement these ideas at the highest levels of government that make her more than just a crank with a couple of awful sci-fi books.

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@bob But you're right; it's not Ayn herself but the elite interest in her ideas that's the weird part.

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