Wildeblood wrote:We're discussin' how feeble and wussified modern society has become.
There's also the issue of advertising. Most of the marketing industry revolves around making people feel nervous and/or inadequate, and then selling them the solution to the problem they didn't know they had until they watched the advert. The modern origin of this was probably deodorant:
deleted scene from Mad Men wrote:"Psst! You smell!"
"This is the 1950s: we all smell."
"Yeah, but you smell really bad. Other people are talking about it behind your back."
"Really? Oh no, how embarrassing! What can I do?"
"Buy this stuff and spray it all over yourself every day - then people will stop reeling backwards and gagging when you approach."
I'm not saying all this was necessarily a bad thing, you understand. But once the real (or at least aesthetic) issues have been marketed and monetised, things start getting silly. I keep seeing adverts encouraging parents (mothers, specifically - in a male-dominated society it's easier to make women worry) to chemically sterilise their entire home on at least a daily basis. The pinnacle of this kind of stupidity has to be the hands-free soap pump for the home
- because no-one should risk getting a germ on their hands immediately before they wash them.
The media also gets in on this game. Fear sells - and so does hope, especially once you've generated the fear. Hence things like the Daily Mail Oncological Ontology Project
, dividing the natural world into things which either cause or cure cancer (sometimes both).
We're drenched in this stuff, all the time, in ways in which previous generations weren't. We are constantly being fed information about all the things we should do (for which read: spend money doing) that we're doing wrong, or not enough, or not doing at all. A hundred years ago there were a handful of snakeoil merchants in wagons, and enough tar and feathers to go around if they lingered too long in one place. Now we are surrounded at all times by animated screens pumping anxieties at us 24/7: in many respects, the bulk of the Western economy is based on consumers trying to fulfil needs they didn't know they had until five minutes ago. In these circumstances, it's hardly surprising that people are behaving in irrationally hyperdefensive ways - especially those with children, who are a) designed by evolution to be protective of their children anyway, and b) sleep-deprived.