What’s the point of “setting people up?”

Okay, I have a big rant coming. On the news the other night THIS was on. They call these things “social experiments.”

“A social experiment is a real field experimentation of how people/society react to situations both real/hypothetical. With it you gain an understanding of how people/cultures work.

For example, Americans generally have a need for space between others (i.e, personal bubble) and do not like it when that space is invaded. So for example, someone testing might just go up to a total stranger and strike a conversation with them but be really close to them, or go to a men’s urinal and take the urinal right next to the other guy instead of the farthest away like guy code stipulates.

There’s lots of observation and note taking while this is going on and from this we can gather understanding of cultural norms.”

What I’d like to know is WHY do these? I think the way society has become that this is just asking for a fight AND it’s sticking your nose into something that’s NONE of your business. Why would you want someone to get into a fight with a pregnant woman at the fair? How is it any of our business? I didn’t drink more than a couple of beers when I was pregnant but that’s MY business and not the patrons of a restaurant or store OR FAIR.

Then you add in this show, “What Would You Do?” You can go over there and check them out. I’ve never once seen this show and when I went to the website it almost made me feel ill. Here are a few of the topics: Gay Parents Bashed. Interracial Couple Harassed. Pregnant Teen Dilemma. White Mother Adopted Black Daughter. This list goes ON and ON.


I just want to know what anyone thinks stuff like this accomplishes? I did watch that one clip of the Gay Parents Bashed and it made me want to cry. That waitress harassed them while they were eating WITH THEIR CHILDREN! When it affected those two kids, my heart broke for them and then they started defending their two moms. How sad is that?

The other thing that bothers me is this is done on a LOT of blogs. I know Laura, SKL and I go to other blogs. I don’t know if the rest of you do but subjects like these are tossed around every single day and then we, like a bunch of ninny’s, fight about these issues. And usually the title is WAY OVER THE TOP so a lot of times, people are arguing over a title that the post really isn’t even about.

I guess what I want to know #1 is why do people want to watch other people fight? What’s fun about that? I hate it. I get very uncomfortable when people fight around me and #2, how is this stuff any of our business and where should that line be drawn? So if you don’t like gay people, so what? What’s it your business if someone eating next to you is gay? How is it your business if someone breast or bottle feeds or if they circumcise their son? How is it if you don’t like Obama you’re a racist? How come if you don’t like the new line up for Dancing With The Stars you’re a bigot?

Where do people get these idea’s that just because they do one thing, it’s  the “right and only way” to do things. We all have our own choices to make and it’s NONE of anyone else’s business?

Do you watch these shows? Do you think you have any right to go up to a pregnant woman and tell her off in a public place? Do you feel you have the right to blast a family eating out because they’re gay or they’ve adopted a child of another race? What’s okay with you to confront someone over?

Do you feel like I do? It’s to me like you toss a bone to a bunch of dogs just to watch them fight it out? I guess some people get turned on by fighting but I’m not one of them. Not about personal issues.

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26 Responses to What’s the point of “setting people up?”

  1. Laura says:

    Here’s one where it’s ok to butt in… I hope. HS Football Game, Friday night. Our team sucks. There’s no other way to put it. When teams see our name on their schedule, they cheer, because First String knows they’re getting a break, and Third/Fourth string is ecstatic because they finally get to play. So we fans go, and know where we stand. We watch to see improvement in our team, not to see our guys scoring. It’s still fun.

    So, we’re sitting in the stands (after having gotten SOAKED during the JV game, which ended 26-0, them), and our QB drops back to pass. Nobody’s open, he’s looking, looking, looking, and the “gentleman” behind me yells, “Throw the ball, you DumbA**!!” I turned around and gave him the hairy eyeball, as his wife patted his knee, shushing him.

    Couple plays later, our guys get an “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” penalty. (to be fair, the other team should have got it, too. Their guy threw a late hit. Our guy just got caught when he pushed back while getting up) Guy behind me screams a few more obscenities at the ref, and I turned around and yelled, “KNOCK IT OFF!!!”

    He shoots back with, “But the ref is a jackass! We shouldn’t have got that penalty!!”

    I said, “You’re right, but we don’t want to hear you swearing about it!!”

    So, yeah, I guess I do think that there are times when it’s appropriate to step in. But it’s got to be for a good reason. This guy was disrupting the game for everyone – there were kids there, including mine, listening to his drunken (?) yelling, an nobody liked it.

    I would never, however, just walk up to him, if he was swearing in a private conversation, and tell him to knock it off. I think that’s the line – if someone’s behavior is obviously affecting other people, you step in. If not, keep quiet.

    • Joy says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more. Especially a high school game where kids are. Let’s just say though that it was all a “set up” and they wanted to see if this “drunk” would piss anyone off and “what would happen” if they did. It’s the “setting people up” that really bothers me.Then they have a video of you yelling at the high school game.

  2. Ellen says:

    And the most sad part of this is, people like it when other people get set up and react. It is to me sick and you do not have any empathy with your fellow human being. Only your own “pleasure” count. They think it is okay to laugh at other people. I think it is a lack of personality. I am also afraid it already started when children are young. Some (a lot) parents think it is okay when their children laugh at other children or even animals when they “suffer”. The parents just say, oh, they are children, they do not mean it that bad. I do not agree with that kind of child behavior approval. And our wonderful media plays into this mentality and makes tv shows about it. As I said, I think it is sick.

  3. Phyllis says:

    I’m with Laura on the swearing in public issue. I was with my mom at one of our favorite little restaurants when four men (older than I) were seated in a booth behind us. I listened to a this one man using vulgarities every other word for a few minutes. I tried giving them “looks” to shush up the language buy when that didn’t work, I excused myself, went to their table and (quietly) informed them that my 86 yr old mother and I were here for a nice lunch, and neither of us appreciated being exposed to his vulgarities, reminding him that a “family restaurant” wasn’t the appropriate place to speaking in that manner. Believe it or not, the man actually apologized and stopped after that. Later our waitress came over to say that they (the workers) really appreciated me speaking to him since they can’t and he’s usually like that when he’s in. I don’t think the “general public” needs to be exposed to loud, obnoxious people who resort to bad language.

    As for the issue of the original question…. I don’t believe that ANYONE has a right to do these “social experiments” or express their opinions where they haven’t be invited to express them. Let’s get a grip here…. a waitress bashing a gay couple should have been fired on the spot! No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

  4. SKL says:

    The pregnant lady “experiment” and the comments afterwards disturbed me. They think our world would be a better place if busybodies went up to strangers and told them off more often? For doing something that isn’t illegal and isn’t hurting the other person? Even if that were appropriate, how does any passer-by know how much this woman is drinking? Does one sip of beer cause FAS? Is it up to me to declare what a stranger’s alcohol limit is? No. So they say, “we have some work to do,” i.e., we need to educate people to be more obnoxious to pregnant ladies.

    Personally I hate confrontation in real life. When my boss brings up some argument or potential legal issue, I tell her I don’t even want to hear about it, because it puts me in such a bad mood. On the internet, I don’t mind speaking my piece on an issue, but I try to avoid making it personal (though I’ve been known to hit back at others who have themselves made it personal).

    I thought everyone basically wanted a friendly world where confrontations are avoided by rising above, moving along, keeping it to oneself, etc. It’s disturbing to see a movement toward encouraging the opposite. I hope it doesn’t catch on.

    As for whether I would tell someone off in public (who wasn’t messing with me first) – I think the most I’ve ever done is give someone a long stare, usually when they are doing something completely inappropriate with kids around. Or sometimes when they are being an ass to another person (e.g., a guy verbally abusing his wife/date).

  5. mssc54 says:

    “Hi, my name is Michael and I am the King of Butt Inners…and I am proud of it!” How else are people going to know when they are screwing up if I don’t tell them? Minding your own business is way over rated.

    And yes (if you are a guy) don’t be standing at the urinal adjacent to my urinal if there are ten other urinals open. Yes, it’s amazng but you don’t need to be peeking over the wall to see.

    “What I’d like to know is WHY do these?” Unemployment is high. Let people get work where they can find it. 😉

  6. Nikki says:

    When I saw this on the news, I wasn’t at all surprised that no one said anything to her. It’s no ones business, and maybe us Minnesotans get that! What would it have done? If this was real, and she was really drinking while pregnant, nothing I say would change that. People know what’s good for them, and what’s not. They make their own decisions.

    Experiments like this are just asking for trouble. Lets set some people up, and see if they start an argument?! What would be the point in that? What would it really solve? People are going to do what they want.

  7. Laura says:

    That pregnancy thing that you referred to, and that we discussed “over there” really irritated me. Especially the comment from whatever group it was that said that “we have more work to do” – not just in educating people about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which is fine, but in encouraging people to go up and harass those that they see drinking while pregnant.

    So here’s my deal with that. I’m a big girl. I have a few blousy shirts that make me look pregnant. I even wear them on occasion when the laundry is taking over the house and I need to make a quick getaway. So let’s say that I’ve decided to wear one of these ‘maternity’ shirts to the Fair, and I’ve ordered myself a nice sparkling cider (non alcoholic), and I’m standing with my friend drinking it.

    I look pregnant. I’m drinking what appears to be a beer or other alcoholic drink, even though it’s NA. What right does anybody have to walk up to me and start lecturing me about how I’m killing my child? I’m not pregnant, and I’m not drinking alcohol!!! If that happened, if I was on one of my “quick-on-the-uptake” days, oh, BOY would I lead that busybody on a merry chase. And then I’d tell them off about how wrong they are to make ASSumptions.

    Most of the time, the best policy is to just butt out. You don’t know what’s going on there. This kind of “it’s my business to make sure you’re doing right – by my standards” crap is what’s causing people to be AFRAID to discipline their children in public! Josh *really* got out of line at that same football game. Spanking offense for sure. BUT, I wouldn’t spank him. Why? Because not only was I in public, I noticed a police officer standing nearby watching me. As far as I know, there’s no law against spanking around here. But I wouldn’t put it past him, or any one of those people in that crowd, to come up to me and lecture me about how I was “abusing” my son, even though when I tried to verbally discipline him, he laughed in my face and ran away.

    So, unless there’s some infraction that’s affecting the public in general, or unless you witness TRUE abuse – butt the heck out. My family, my responsibility.

    • SKL says:

      I HATE when people interfere with my parenting! The other day I gave someone a consequence, only to be told in the child’s hearing that I was wrong and mean and so on. Awesome! Then we wonder why kids don’t respect their parents.

  8. SKL says:

    By the way, is it just me, or does that pregnant belly look totally fake anyway? And doesn’t that lady’s face look too happy for someone lugging around a baby that big? And finally, if your kid’s going to get FAS, it’s not going to happen when you’re 8.5mos pregnant, but a lot earlier than that. Maybe the passersby were simply more intelligent (and civilized) than the people who designed the “experiment.”

    • Laura says:

      I thought the same thing… “nice basketball, there, chickie!!” (I promise to hang my head in shame if I find out that she really IS pregnant and just carrying high, and wearing an ill-fitting shirt)

    • Joy says:

      No, they showed the pad on the news and I could make a better one. It had a HUGE seam right across the middle of it like they sewed something together. Maybe it was a yarnbomb!!!

  9. Karen Joy says:

    Well I actually like the show What would you do.I am always interested to see who has the guts to stand up to the bullies.The ones”being attacked”are always actors and are expecting it(yes,even the children in the gay famlily clip),the waitress being an actor too.I applaud the people who step into a situation to help when it is obvious someone is being attacked!Sort of showing what kind of people we have in this world!

    • Joy says:

      I don’t like it because of the possibility of fighting. You never if know someone is going to pull out a knife or gun. What would the actors do then? People are just crazy and it seems to me, setting people up is just wrong. If I was out to a nice place for a meal and this went on, I’d be pissed right off. I hate fighting. It might be from hearing my parents but Darryl hates it too.

  10. Karen Joy says:

    I do see your point.I hadnt put myself in the restaurant so to speak.I wouldnt like that either.

  11. Joy says:

    I guess this is part of the reason this bothers me so much. First, there were almost 2 million people at the fair. This was done in front of a beer garden. Don’t you think that’s taking a huge risk? Putting a woman there and putting her at this kind of risk with a bunk of people half tanked up? Besides it’s nobody else’s business. I do think attacking people for what they do isn’t right.

    So this show takes these people and pits them against everyone else? So if some crazy person pulls out a gun, who saves the day? Is there a SWAT team on hand? Then what happens to the people who fight? Is that taken into consideration since it’s a “fake” bully it should be a fake arrest? There are plenty of people who have a permits to carry. I wonder if any thought is put into “where” these people have these “set ups because I saw one in a store where they followed a black woman around like she was going to steal something. You have no idea whose going to go into that store. I find it so dangerous in some situations. Take LA or NYC. I can’t even begin to think if a couple of gangs were in there or a drugged up nut. Don’t any of you see all the dangers here? I’m not sure I see the entertainment value into it but I must be in the minority because there are a LOT of clips.

    • Karen Joy says:

      I didnt like the experiment at the fair with the pregnant women.Its her choice and I would NEVER butt in in that senerio.What I dont think would happen,or at least it NEVER crossed my mind that some one would pull a gun out in defense of some one else,a stranger!.I havent watched all these clips but the shows I have seen its good people coming to the defense of those(playing the role)of some one in need.Why would any of them pull a gun?I dont see how they are pitting them against everyone else.Its usually a scene that would bother most sane/rash/normal people and I would only hope more people would act like that if I ever was in need.Its only a shock when I see a stranger actually agree with the(actor)who is the bully.Im sure they would have pulled the show if there was that kind of danger involved,you’d think anyhow.These shows make me take a step back and think how I treat people and I wonder would I step up and help someone who is being treated unjustly.I think to often people dont do it enough,dont want to “get involved” because what might it mean for them then.Its easier to walk away and pretend we didnt see/hear anything.

    • Joy says:

      Karen, I tried finding a clip for you that I saw on 60 Minutes but I have no idea how old it was and I’m not coming up with it. Anyway, this host, John Quinones was in some little cafe in the deep south and a racial thing started and some people (I’m not sure what to call them, hillbillies, hicks, uneducated, racist) started really going at it with a black woman and white man so that host stepped in and one of the guys got all stupid with him and shoved him aside and told him to “go back to his own country” and he said “I am in my own country, I was born here” and camera’s got dropped and people were shoving and knocking people down and we never did see the end. Now who goes in the deep south and does this? It was very poor of this show to take this to that extreme. I don’t think people are thinking. When it comes to homosexuality, race, religion and things that are very controversial, people get very heated. It’s not like sending someone in to do something funny.

      I also remember when Geraldo Rivera used to do stuff like this. He’d go undercover and mess with people’s heads and his nose got broken more times than I can tell you and boy, was he ever a hothead. It’s like they rile people up and then wonder why they fight. I just don’t get it.

    • Joy says:

      I can really see how this show could be really good IF they were helping people out like if someone didn’t have enough money and you helped or found a lost child or someone’s pet but I think some of these subjects are too controversial and times are different than they used to be. Some people have really goofy ideas. It’s very sad though.

  12. I don’t think it’s about the setup; that would be more on the show “Punked”. 😛

    I think it’s more about pointing out how disconnected our society has become. Shining a little light on how little we care about one another. We live in fear, locking every door every time, not even knowing our next door neighbor’s name.

    Maybe we should care a little more about other people. Maybe we should step out of our comfort zone more often. Sure there is a fine line between being a caring person and being an intrusive jerk, but it’s better to flirt with that fine line than to be a hermit in a sea of millions.

    I’m not saying to start fights or arguments. I’m saying don’t sit idly by while abuse, harassment, neglect or hate crimes take place. Speak up when need be; ask for help, call for back-up or the police when necessary. But to do nothing is a crime against humanity and society.

    • Joy says:

      Karen really made me think hard about this and I like when she said when she sees this show it reminds her to treat people different/better. Now with you saying this, maybe it’s not such a bad show but I really don’t like the personal choice or the really dangerous ones. I would stick up for someone and some of the people who I feel the most sorry for is kids. I’ve seen kids be in a line and the clerk has no idea who’s next and they never pick the kid and I always say “so and so was here first.”

      Good insight.

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