My particular chunk of the world went nuts on Sunday night just after the Olympic gold medal men's hockey game ended. Canada is a country truly, deeply infatuated with hockey and our team won the gold medal in overtime against the United States. That gets a big -shrug, whatever- from me, but the people of Toronto by and large went completely bonkers.
I live right near one of the major intersections of the city, Yonge and Eglinton. Shortly after the game ended a group of people ran out into the middle of the intersection and started blocking traffic. They were shrieking, waving flags and having a bit of a mosh pit in the middle of the intersection. As time went on more and more people joined them and the corners of the sidewalks began to spill out into the street. Eventually the intersection was more or less full and traffic was completely borked. Cars were slowly pushing their way through the crowd as people literally hurled themselves in front of vehicles to try to stop or slow their progress. I ended up calling the police to try to make sure someone got in there to keep an eye on things. Certainly the police had no hope of actually stopping the party but at least they needed to get in there and make sure no one got run over. Eventually they blocked off the streets so that the party could continue without the risk of cars hitting anyone.
A picture of the same insanity downtown: (I didn't get a picture of my intersection unfortunately, but it was the same)
I read a little news coverage of this and the portrayal disappointed me. In particular the news reports calling it the 'Defining moment of a generation' made my shrivel up a little inside. The thing right at my intersection that really bugged me is this: There is a large, empty plaza directly beside the intersection; you can see it clearly in the picture above. If the celebrants had wanted a place to party where they would not interfere with others they could have moved 20 meters over there and had a giant mosh pit flag waving to-do and no one else would have minded or been inconvenienced. They chose as a group to run into the intersection and deliberately block vehicles trying to get through instead.
The attitude that anyone who isn't involved in my chosen activity needs to be forcibly delayed or inconvenienced to enforce the importance of my activity is certainly unethical and selfish. I am sad to think that not only are there huge numbers of people who think that it is necessary or beneficial to junk up everyone else's life as part of their celebration but also that these attitudes are supported by both the media and the government. People want others to take part in their celebrations as it is a justification of their own actions. That desire is not the problem, but the assumption that it is morally acceptable to give others grief when there is absolutely no cost to yourself to avoid doing so is regrettable.
Wanting to have a huge party after watching a hockey game? Fine.
Deciding to be a jerk to anyone not taking part in your party? Unethical.
Feeling like this is the most important thing to happen during your generation? Pathetic.