The way we hate

Nearly two days have passed since the leaked footage appeared online, and by next week I doubt that most of the people who watched it will remember. But I think it’s worth asking ourselves why the video was published in the first place, why there was an audience for it, and why so many of us were eager to waste eight minutes of our lives in the hope of getting that little jolt of moral superiority that comes with watching someone else do a thing that each of us has done a million times.

Are any of us actually under the impression that we have never been rude, that we have all lived lives in which we have done nothing of which we should be ashamed? Why is it equally easy to enjoy the spectacle of watching others do or say something stupid and to justify or simply to avoid thinking about all the times when we have failed to be kind? There is something especially absurd about taking to Twitter, a website that seems to exist solely for the purpose of being vicious to strangers, in order to congratulate ourselves on not being whoever is the latest victim of our group exercise in reverse-goodwill.