Scapegoating seems to be a pretty popular activity these days, but what is a scapegoat?
Scapegoat: Noun. One that is made to bear the blame of others. Typically a human, as it is difficult to build a viable lawsuit against nonhuman beings and inanimate objects.
To me this concept is absolutely ridiculous. Why should something be made to bear the blame of others? I'm all for people taking accountability for their own actions, but I am only one man, and people don't really like to hear about their mistakes. Take for example the Columbine incident. The public wanted to blame the parents, the school bullies, video games, and Marilyn Manson. This confuses me, because I, and any intelligent human being, can list off every person responsible for this tragedy.
That's it. No one else is responsible. So why is it that something so blatantly obvious can be so difficult to accept? I'm no psychologist, but I'm fairly convinced that people do this to dissociate themselves from the situation as much as possible. The general public doesn't create video games; therefore they can feel safe and distant, fielding blame toward game manufacturers. Also, the general public isn't Marilyn Manson, so it's open season on angry singers who happen to popular at the time.
Though it isn't just celebrities that are victims of scapegoating. Almost anyone with a marginal amount of notoriety can be made to bear blame. I recently had the misfortune of learning about the group MAM, Mothers Against Maddox. Apparently some woman found her kid surfing Maddox's site, saw that her kid was acting chauvinistic, and thus began her crusade to rid the internet of Maddox forever. I guess it never occurred to her that her son was probably an asshole all along, most likely a behaviour developed over a much longer time by a closer sphere of influences, such as his father, and his friends. The fact that people seem to be oblivious to, is that no one can convince a person to do something they aren't already willing to do. I once knew a guy named Jimmy, (who was a bit of a chauvinist himself), who said that he would never change a diaper as long as he lived. One day we had a group hypnotist come to our school and Jimmy was part of the group that hypnotized. After performing some thoroughly embarrassing tasks, the group was told that aliens had landed and left their baby, who was now crying with a dirty diaper. While the other group members busily tried changing the alien's diaper, Jimmy simply shook his head and placed the crying baby under his seat. The situation involving Mothers Against Maddox is not without irony though. They created an online petition, and the majority of those who signed it, found the link through Maddox's site. If MAM had a newsletter, it would be called a MAM-o-gram, because you'd have to be a boob to receive one.
Another type of scapegoating that rubs me the wrong way is trying to make someone else look wrong to cover up one's own indiscretions. I heard about this guy, who told people that his wife was in an irreversible state of catatonia, but a lot of people didn't believe him. People said he was just trying to obtain a large windfall, and even said that when the vegetative woman saw them walk into the room, her eyes lit up, and she expressed happiness.
Later the woman died, and it was discovered that she had been blind the entire time. A crushing blow to the opposition right? Not quite. To save face, it was then alleged that the man was responsible for the woman being in the state she was in, and an investigation into the matter was demanded.
Where does the buck stop? The buck stops on the person who is unable to pass it off to someone else. Will people ever decide to take responsibility and admit when they are wrong? Probably not on any large scale. You're probably more likely to see someone let one rip in a crowded elevator and blame it on the blind deaf-mute standing behind them.