Sunday, 18 April 2010

Binge-drinking: What happened to our sense of shame?

... none of this properly explains why so many people are prepared to set out for a night’s boozing utterly determined to get so drunk they will no longer be in control of themselves and remain utterly unashamed by it. Which takes me back to where I started: the absence of shame.

That’s the big change, isn’t it? We seem no longer to be as constrained by the social mores as we once were.

We want to let it all hang out. Everything. Grief is a public commodity and no longer a private emotion. It may have started with the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, but it’s come a long way since.

You wonder about our sense of dignity when a supermarket has to ban its customers from shopping in their nighties. And when “housemates” on Big Brother are happy to be viewed having sex. And when you are as likely to hear the sort of foul language in the park that would once have been restricted to the football terraces.

Maybe the new shamelessness is connected to what some perceive as a breakdown in discipline in so many areas, especially schools. The reluctance to respect authority converts easily into a reluctance to respect each other and, ultimately, to respect ourselves. Read more
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