A FEARFUL RANT
Don't our betters like a bit of fear, eh?
Not as much as they like a lot of fear, mind.
We buy skin-softeners, penis-enhancers, boob-jobs, bum-tucks, tummy-suctions, dodgy vitamins (I'm still not sure they did more than make my pee shine in the dark), and Grecian 2000. Coz we're scared. Of ourselves, apparently. Of our nature.
Magazines sombrely clinicise us and point us at our unsavoury habits and inadequate constituents. 90% of us walk abnormally, the vendors of athletic shoes tell us. No-one asks how 10% can constitute a norm. We just buy the shoes. 75% of us have eating disorders. 25% are 'normal. The more numerate or resolute - or dissolute - among us don't actually buy the diet. We just quietly loathe our weakness. We bathe the house in noxious liquids that kill 99% of all household germs (at least 99% of which are the same germs that gave us no trouble when we were kids) because we're scared.
1500 Australians lie dying of influenza every year. This year they'll lie there quaking in fear of SARS, which has yet to kill a single Australian.
We threw an $800-million lemon called AUSSAT into the sky, privatised the communications system, unrolled tens of thousands of miles (and billions of dollars) of destined-never-to-light-up fibre optics across the landscape, and imagined huge 'multi-function polises' all because we were scared of 'being left behind'. By-whom, in-what and coz-why we never even thought to ask.
We were just scared.
And we slammed desperate families of hopeful escapees from untold horrors into concentration camps, turned away ship-loads of same, allowed the government to change the law to entitle Australian military personel to shoot Australian citizens, plan to allow weekend-warrior teenagers the same privilege, helped invade a pathetic country on the other side of the world, and find ourselves suddenly seriously discussing conscription. Coz we're scared.
Our kids leave home without ever having even walked to school on their own. In a world of child-molesters, drug-dealers and drunk drivers, how could it be otherwise? That teenagers with a history of claustrophobic coddling go absolutely spare when they do finally leave home isn't something we've learned to be scared about. Yet.
And it's not as if we can breathe any easier when we nail the door shut behind our kids when we get 'em home either. We know that's where most accidents, murders, assaults and rapes occur.
We know we're not good parents if we don't buy our kids the clothes and gadgets they'll need to be socially acceptable in this conspicuous-consumption-led world. So we work harder. Coz we're scared.
We feel guilty at work because our kids aren't getting the parental care they need. So we're scared at work, too.
We give our teenagers mobile phones. Just in case there's trouble. What, like a five-hundred-dollar phone bill?
So we hate ourselves, buy lots of stuff, and place our trust in governments that we wouldn't trust to lie straight in bed if it wasn't for the fact we need 'em to keep the wogs out.