Saturday, 19 December 2015


One of the great changes over my lifetime has been the spread of flippancy into every corner of life. There is hardly any subject which cannot be treated flippantly and hardly any person who lacks the capability to be flippant. It isn’t new but along with being conspicuously offended it seems to be one of the great social trends of our age. Fortunately one cannot be flippantly offended although many poseurs seem willing to give it a go.

I am often too flippant and almost all of my generation are capable of being flippant in virtually any social situation. To my mind television must shoulder most of the blame with its endless diet of comedy, light entertainment and general dumbing down of everything it soils with its attention. So what is the point in encouraging an entire population to be flippant?

A clue seems to be the obvious link between flippant and infantile behaviour. Acceptable flippancy has created a pervasive superficial miasma, a semi-serious public domain where the infantile viewpoint is barely distinguished from serious commentary. In other words it facilitates a superficial take on even the weightiest matters because it is easy and acceptable.

I’m certainly conscious of the problem with flippancy as a double edged sword. On the one hand it allows one to dismiss hordes of poseurs, political worms, celebrities and other assorted trash.

On the other hand it is not easy to take seriously those genuinely malign trends which take away our freedoms brick by brick, stone by stone.

Coming full circle one might also say that flippancy is an enabler. It saves time and allows full rein to the bon mot, the flippant dismissal which too often is all an issue deserves. So where does that leave us in the maze? The same place as usual – nowhere - he mused flippantly.


Sackerson said...

Perhaps is't a symptom of the growing and prevasive sens of powerlessness. We have nothing left but trivia and vicarious living. As Jim says: "The media is no longer about who, what, why, where, and when; it's all about the rise to prominence and then the fall from grace." -

Demetrius said...

Flippant? Moi?

Derek said...

I thin flippancy in language has always been with us, though the language of youth (anyone under the age of fifty) has become so Americanised through film and soap, that it's almost another language.

What gets my goat is the manner in which one is addressed by service personnel, especially on the telephone. Addressing one by a Christian name was once the prerogative of family and close friends, now it seems I am Derek to sales and insurance agents. Perhaps it's partly my own fault, as I often sign off with my full name and not Mr. D. Reynolds. But then, so many applications require the full name. I find it an imposition, it implies a lack of respect. The irony is, if someone was to address me as "Reynolds!", I might also feel affronted in part. I guess it's all down to education, both formal and parental, and peer pressure must also play no small part.

PS: Call me Derek. (Have we gone soft in our old age?).

A K Haart said...

Sackers - sounds about right to me too, although I'm not so sure that it is new.

Demetrius - mais non.

Derek - I'm niggled when computers such as Amazon's use my first name as if they are not computers at all.