- Kevin James’ short film mocks coronavirus minders
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Kevin James’ short film mocks coronavirus minders
John SextonPosted at 3:01 pm on May 12, 2020
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Actor Kevin James has released a short film mocking some of the extremes of the lock down lifestyle. The official title is “Out of Touch” and the subheading on YouTube reads, “Run for your life.” Here’s the short, which is about 2 minutes long:
It seems like it was intended as a response to the “Karen” phenomenon that is being mocked online, i.e. the petty tyrants who seem to get a real kick out of demanding everyone else follow the new rules (or else). Others are mining this same territory for comedy:
I was contacted by a friend yesterday who pointed out that what we’re seeing with the “Karen” phenomenon is something I’ve written about before: Altruistic punishment. The idea, very simply, is that we’re all wired to take some pleasure from punishing people who are free-riders. This is something the probably evolved as part of out social make-up to prevent a few people from dragging down an entire community by doing nothing. And you can see how that would have made sense in a small group of hunter-gatherers where everyone needed to work to help the group survive.
The modern day version of altruistic punishment happens on Twitter and other social media sites. It’s best exemplified by the mobs of social justice warriors you see ganging up to cancel someone for a bad joke or a statement that’s not sufficiently woke. The secret of altruistic punishment is that there’s a small psychic reward for the people who engage in it. It feels good, which is how these outrage mobs form so easily.
What the coronavirus has done is, over a very brief period of time, create a bunch of new rules with life or death consequences. That has brought out the Karen in many people. In fact it’s not just happening online now, it’s happening in the real world. People are getting into shouting matches over other people refusing to wear masks. You’ve probably seen some of the clips.
To be clear, there are real consequences to this and I think everyone should wear a mask. I wear a mask when I go out. But the Karen phenomenon, shaming strangers online or in real life, goes beyond discussions of what we should do to taking pleasure in calling out those who aren’t meeting our expectations. It’s really a distinct thing and not a good one.