As a trapped society are we now chewing off our own leg to survive?
Amidst the dumbing down and de-waging of America, are we now also agreeing that if a child is raised in a household where excuses are the norm, this in itself is insurance from liability? Holy crap! Are there no limits to the a-hole ethics and diminished expectations we’ll sign off on?
Whatever your answer, we’re probably still going to be arguing about this five years from now, so get used to the term “affluenza.”
Welcome to Where Excuses Go to Die’s 2013 Excuse of the Year.
After killing four people, Ethan Couch –a lethally spoiled 16-year-old drunk driver– got off essentially scot-free: not because he’s rich, but because of complications resulting from wealth. What complications? Well, for starters, mom and dad never taught him right from wrong. Also, being raised in a monstrously overprivileged environment provided freedoms that Ethan’s child brain was incapable of processing. Unsupervised access to disposable income and empty luxury homes didn’t help, as they conditioned Ethan to remain separate from his peers, i.e. immune to the lessons learned in moral training grounds teenagers tend to create for themselves. The kicker, far as I see it, is that, as a child, Ethan learned if you hurt someone you sent them money.
Couch’s high-dollar attorney successfully argued that accountability for one’s actions was a lesson never explained to Ethan because his rotten-to-the-core parents were too busy using him against each other as a tool of emotional manipulation. Ethan, therefore, can’t be responsible for the deaths of the four people he struck with his car: he has no understanding of consequences because he’s never faced any. In other words, his criminal defense comes down to his unawareness that our actions affect those around us. It is sickening in its brilliance; its simplicity is full of vile cynicism.
As we’re all learning, the presiding judge actually agreed with the defense’s argument. He gave Ethan probation and “counseling” at Newport Academy, a resort for little Caligulas that markets itself as a big-ticket treatment center.
The whole affair smacks of a moral free-for-all, especially since it began in a household where excuses are, uh, good manners. The conditions created by that household then became an excuse. It’s like opening up a medicine cabinet mirror onto the mirror it’s mounted next to. Good luck trying to find the bottom. Or have we hit it?
Ethan Couch went from facing a 20 year prison sentence to probation because he didn’t know right from wrong. This is a kid who had his own mansion, money to burn, cabbage-headed parents, and no guilt. Yet most of us are richer than he’ll ever be. Will he ever have a chance to know this?
As a society, we’ve gotta ask ourselves: what Pandora’s Excuse Box have we opened?
Here’s some examples:
Wednesday 18 December 2013 – Shia LaBeouf’s plagiarism may be a case of cultural ‘affluenza’