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The Listening Tube Podcast with Bob Woodley (Season 8, Episode 6). Tall Poppy Syndrome 101.

Doug Garland
Doug Garland
3 min read
The Listening Tube Podcast with Bob Woodley (Season 8, Episode 6). Tall Poppy Syndrome 101.
Photo by author.

Table of Contents

The wicked envy and hate; it is their way of admiring. Victor Hugo
The Listening Tube Podcast (Excerpt)

Mr. Woodley has been in the media business his entire adult life - radio, television, newspapers, disc jockey, newscaster, reporter, writer, press operator, and editor - all evident by listening to him. He believes all news organizations are led by agenda rather than information. They all claim to seek the truth as does Bob.

His podcasts begin by examining historical points of relevance from the week, and how they influence today's world.  The Epilogue covers what's on Bob's mind during any given week, followed by a featured guest.

In our episode, Bob covers disappearing donkeys, decreasing EV sales, the history of May Day, and the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp. The latter discussion permitted him to segue into the Israeli-Gaza War and demonstrating-rioting on college campuses. Tres Bien.

Bob cleverly brought up O.J. Simpson which transitioned into the Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS) and our discussion began after his twenty-minute musings. Woodley immediately disclosed that someone cut down his wife's poppies in their front yard and wondered if it was an example of TPS. I assured him it was since I view much of life through the TPS lens.

Cutting someone's flower bed may be a subtle example of TPS. A walk through the schematic drawing aids the analysis. The behavior of the cutter and cuttee must be evaluated to assign proper bad or egregious behavior to its rightful owner.

Cutter bad behavior usually involves bad envy or anger. The cutter covets what another possesses and/or may desire to destroy their happiness. Perhaps this person lives in the same neighborhood as Mrs. Woodley's pride of ownership home and wants to cut her flowers down since he has no such decorum or knows this would make Mrs. Woodley sad. Or he could be angry over a past encounter and is seeking revenge.

Since I was Mr. Woodley's guest, I assumed Mrs. Woodley's behavior was without doubt. What if her pride of ownership included hubris - excessive decor for a middle-class neighborhood? Greed or lust is probably a stretch here. Mr. Woodley appeared to be in his autumn years and likely his wife. What if Mrs. Woodley is a Karen? Our cutter may feel justified because of Mrs. Karen Woodley's self-righteousness and hypocrisy.

Karen has gained cultural significance as a pejorative term often used to describe a woman, typically white, perceived as entitled, demanding, or overly aggressive, especially when dealing with service workers or people in customer service roles. The stereotype associated with "Karen" often involves a sense of entitlement, privilege, and a tendency to complain or make unreasonable demands.
It's important to note that the term "Karen" has been criticized for its potential to perpetuate stereotypes and for its gendered and racial connotations. Some argue that its usage can overlook individual circumstances and unfairly target women.
It's worth considering the broader societal context and the implications of using such terms, as they can reinforce harmful stereotypes and distract from addressing underlying issues. Additionally, it's essential to approach discussions about behavior and attitudes with empathy and understanding, recognizing the complexity of human interactions and experiences.

Bob could be the provocator. Maybe he was the source of a raucous in the neighborhood or said something on one of his podcasts which a neighbor took exception to.

In the final analysis, my educated guess is that cutting down Mrs. Woodley's poppies is an example of TPS. However, I give her the benefit of the doubt although I cannot attribute blame without more information.  

Enjoy the episode.

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Douglas Garland, M.D. practiced orthopedic surgery for 37 years in Southern California. Doug was also a Clinical Professor of Orthopedics at the University of Southern California.