There’s an ABC show called “What Would You Do?” that I occasionally watch with sick fascination when I’m in the mood for feeling despair about the state of our culture.
The show is similar to “Candid Camera” but instead of setting up embarrasing situations tries to mess with people by setting up moral dilemmas for them.
My despair is not because of the ordinary people who fail the moral tests, but because of those who pass them. The show’s version of the right thing to do is frequently appalling.
Here’s a particularly egregious example:
A woman with two middle school kids is planted in a grocery store. She induces one of her kids to clumsily steal a wallet out of a purse in a grocery cart in front of other shoppers. The shoppers initially rat the brat out. When the female Fagin denies possession of the wallet, the faux victim has a hissy fit and stalks off to get the manager. Here’s where it gets interesting.
The second the victim is out of sight, Bad Mom starts claiming victimhood, saying she’s hungry and just couldn’t think of another way to get food for her brood. Without exception, the shoppers melt and “help.” Not a single one even mentions how horrible it is for a parent to actively teach her kids to steal. Not one person does one goddamn thing to help those kids.
This is not a Jean Valjean situation. Bad Mom is attractive, wearing nice clothes and obviously nowhere near desperation or starvation. And Jean Valjean wouldn’t have chickened out and pimped out his kids.
Now, I know it’s possible that they didn’t show people who reacted differently. According to a crawl on the screen, nobody did. To be fair, and to make sure that I’m not cherry picking, I’m going to objectively summarize what was shown:
- Vignette #1: After the victim stalks off to find the manager, Bad Mom says “Look, I’m hungry” to the shopper who busted her. Voice over: “And with those simple words, all is forgiven.” Shopper says “You know what, just put it…give it to me and go, take your kids.” (emphasis added, I mean what the fuck, what the fucking fuck!). Shopper interview afterward: “I understood, maybe it was wrong for me to tell her to go, but I just felt like if I did that both people kind of sort of win.” (both people? what about the kids, you stupid bitch? Oh, and she’s holding a baby while being interviewed.)
- Vignette #2: “We’re just hungry. We’re just hungry. I need to feed my kids.” Shopper #2 pays her $20 to give back the wallet and “Just go.” Post-interview, the host says, “…but she was teaching her kids how to steal.” Response: “I didn’t think about that. I looked at the kids and I thought of these times and what’s going on in the world. In my own heart I know I did the right thing…but now I want my twenty dollars back!” (fucking Obama voter).
- Vignette #3: Shopper is pretty aggressive when she sees the theft, confronting Bad Mom and her brats. After victim stalks off, “Just put it somewhere where no one can see it. Put it in the meat.” “We’re so hungry.” Voice over: “and then [shopper] does something extraordinary.” “I’ll buy your groceries, come on.” Hug. “It’s ok, just go shop, go get a cart and get what you need. Have fun, get things you want!” “Really?” “Yeah, really!” (really? I mean, fucking really?) Then the stupid shopper starts telling Bad Mom how to get government cheese. “Go to Rockland Count Social Services, call them.” Then blah blah the economy, you’re hardly alone, sympathy, I’d vomit if I typed it. Trying to keep it down, I am, but I need to type this because it matters for the next botched moral abortion, the post-interview ends with this: “I’m just trying to help her get help, yeah. To help herself.”
- Vignette #4: Leslie Geary (sp?–didn’t find her on google), a former TV reporter. I list her name only because she should be arrested as an accomplice. Bad Mom, after victim stalks off, on j’accuse: “Do I look like I need to steal a wallet?” Then “Please don’t tell.” “Why did you do that? Do you need help? I have dedicated my life to try to help. I get it…” “Help me how?” “I don’t know. You seem like a really nice woman.” (and a card carrying member of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Shoplifting Thieving Cunts Who Pimp Out their Kids). After that, they bond and exchange phone numbers and you can almost hear Elton John and Dionne Warwick singing in the background. Seriously, if I typed it, not only would I vomit but my eyes would bleed. Why do I say Leslie Geary (sp) is an accomplice? She didn’t even try to get the wallet back to the victim. Post-interview was just as inane and amoral as everything else she said. The screen crawl wraps it all up: No one called the police on the pickpockets.
- Written onscreen tag for the segment: At the end of the day, while everyone knew that stealing the wallet was wrong, most were willing to bend the rules, some even reached into their own pockets and hearts to help a family in need.
Not one of these stupid shopping bitches even noticed, much less helped, the kids. John Quinones, the ABC host, pro forma, asked once about the effect on the kids, and didn’t follow up. That makes him worse. Seriously what a horrible little amoral bitch he is.
Anyone who says “get help” should be punched in the face. That’s Liberal dog whistle code for excusing and abetting evil. A mom in America who teaches her kids to steal is evil. A person or corporation in America who feels sympathy for her, instead of outrage and a burning desire to protect her kids from her, has no working moral compass.
UPDATE 2016: The What Would You Do show on ABC is even more appalling and anti-moral, not just amoral. I am very proud of this post and stand behind every c-word.