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.