The Wilding of America: Money, Mayham, and the New American Dream (4th Ed.).
“Wilding.” Before we look at the entire word, let’s break it down. The root of wilding is obviously wild. According to Dictionary.com, wild is an adjective, an adverb and a noun and it has an idiom of run wild as follows:
a) to grow unchecked;
b) to show lack of restraint or control.
Now, by adding the “ing” does it become a whole new meaning, or is it right on course? Is it a way of life? Is it fulfillment of the American Dream? Is it criminal? Is it only inflicted on individuals? Is it political? Does it happen in corporations? In churches? The answer: All the above. Wilding holds no bars. It is the extreme selfishness at best, a form of narcissism, with total disregard for individuals, communities, churches, parents, or even children.
The term wilding was first introduced in 1989 after a rich, white woman, who was jogging in Central Park, was attacked and raped by black teenage boys from the inner city. “According to the press reports, it was a term the youths themselves used to describe their behavior...” (Darber 2). The term wilding was then associated with wealth, class, and race. It would soon take a shocking and not so subtle turn.
Is it wilding if a husband of the same race and class kills his wife? Is this were ultimate selfishness kicks in? The Charles and Carol Stuart story answers these questions. On October 23, 1998, just six months after the attack at Central Park, Charles and Carol Stuart, then 8 months pregnant, were walking to their car after attending a birthing class. They got in their car and minutes later Mrs. Stuart was shot dead. Charles Stuart proclaimed that it was a black man who had shot his wife. To corroborate his story, Charles Stuart went so far as to shoot himself in the stomach. Months later, the nation was stunned. The murderer, her husband. The motive, he had the American Dream to open a restaurant using the life insurance money (Darber 4). So now wilding is compacted into the family unit.
The Stuart case kicked off what I call “Family Unit Wilding.” Let’s not forget that soon to follow were the Menendez brothers who were of a wealthy family. They killed their parents and lived the high life they longed for until they were caught and convicted. Susan Smith, she was the white mother who took her children, strapped them to the back seat of her car, and drove her car into a lake. Killing - drowning her own children. Why? Her rich boyfriend did not want children. (She also blamed this heinous act on a black man.) Scott Peterson, he killed his pregnant wife, Lacy, in order to continue an affair he was having with Amber Frey. Locally, we have well known sportscaster Vince Marinello. He disguised himself, wrote a “to do list” and killed his wife because she was divorcing him due to bigamy. “Family Unit Wilding” has run amok.
Although wilding was coined in America in 1989, Anthropologist Colin Turnbull experienced wilding first hand in 1964 when he lived among the Ik people of Uganda (Darber 5). However, for the Ik, wilding was more of a form of survival. They would lie for food or medicine and they would consider anyone, even family, who was sick or malnourished as a threat or a waste of food. The Ik all but partied when a family member would die because that would mean more food, etc. for them. They even went so far as to kill their own children, family members for food.
Aside from violent wilding, we have corporate or economic wilding. We have the corporations of Merrill Lynch, Enron, and Martha Stewart, who all played the stock market at the expense of others to personally gain a profit. I am sure that if one looked hard enough they would discover that corporate wilding existed with the Rockefellers and even the Kennedys. Now, recently, we have Bernard Madoff who admitted to defrauding clients for billions of dollars in a massive Ponzi scheme...
Cited: “Wild.” Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 20 Mar. 2009. .
Darber, Charles. The Wilding of America; Money, Mayhem and the New American Dream. New York; Worth Publishers, 2006.
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