I believe the time has come to discuss the painful subject of public opinion.
We all know that the public is fickle and easily convinced to turn its opinions in a completely opposite direction as easily and quickly as the wind does, apparently as long as that change involves moving from acclamation to condemnation. However it seems that the same public is very reluctant to recognize its mistakes when a change from vicious attacks to approval is required. A shift of such a sort appears to be undesirable, and therefore to be ignored, at least as a general rule.
One might search for the underlying reason for such behavior, and the answers are usually rather discouraging. It seems that the public is instinctively prone to heavy criticism and also predisposed to vilify personal characters, rather than to approve and respect. In other words, the public loves to hate and hurt others, especially when it comes to people in any kind of lime light, rather than express love and show favor or understanding, possibly accompanied by a helping hand, according to the teachings of the religious organization of their choice.
In the same context, one may ask why the public is ready and willing to give credit, as well as to accept, slanderous accusations without investigation of their veracity; but it is activating the suspicious side of its personality, when “laude” has been proven to be appropriate?
Is it because a load of dirty laundry is more interesting than a squeaky clean one? In other words, because honesty is uninteresting? Or is it because the act of recognizing achievements stirs envy?
I sincerely hope this last one is not the true answer. However, if that is in fact the case, consider the well known saying: “Only the strong survive!”, and I am not referring to a physical attribute.
Also consider what Samuel Johnson, the 18th Century poet, essayist and critic said about “vilification” in his Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1755:
“Nothing has more retarded the advancement of learning than the disposition of vulgar minds to ridicule and vilify what they cannot comprehend. “
This last statement is specifically dedicated to a handful of trolls on the web, busy vilifying yours truly.
-Antonella Carpenter, PhD