28 July 2007

modern love

What a low productivity Saturday! We have done bugger all, and not even particularly stylishly at that.

There was an article in qweekend (the colour insert for the Saturday Courier Mail) the about loss of freedom to explore and learn as children. The article drew from a book call
The Dangerous Book for Boys, a how-to-grow-up manual for the Xbox generation. The article attributed blame (blame! we must have some to blame! as Mrs VVB continually mocks me) to current policies that "undervalue childhood" and how all educational activities from childhood are aimed at employability. A Prue Walsh says, "When you hear politicians talking, they only talk about education as if it were some sort of sausage machine. You put the child in one end and out the other end come identical sausages that can go into the workforce and fulfil the requirements of the economy."

As much as I can identify with that statement given some parts of my work, I'm more inclined to look at the legislative environment that now operationalises (aaah... that feels better) the growing proclivity to (a) protect children, but more importantly (b) sue if anything goes wrong. My child fell over! You must pay me!

But Prue Walsh's comment about how politicians view education also strikes a chord. Once again, it's the marketisation of life. Yes, it's always been important since hunter-gatherer days to get a job. But if you define everything in life around market signals, guess what you get?

The article's conclusions about the potential effect on future generations, such as obesity and inability to do very simple things, seems pretty much spot on, though. But if we can't go back to those carefree days, do we need to be able to replicate the experience? Or do we invent something else?

And I was also most taken with
this article that take some recent events in Britain (you can induce some idea from reading the article, but the examples are nothing I was aware of) that have destroyed people's confidence in public institutions, namely the BBC. Except it doesn't seem to mention the BBC very much. But losing faith in "premium phone lines", as mentioned in the article. Yes...when I talk about the marketisation of everyday life as the most pernicious effect of two decades of economic liberalism (fundamentalism more like), it's stuff like this I am talking about. I wonder whether whoever said that went home and spent any time reflecting on the ludicrousness of the statement? Not if you're in marketing, I guess.

Finally, a little personal story. An ad appeared on our office intranet the other day, someone's elderly parents were moving from the family abode after many decades, the father had been a home brewer and had a stack of tallies to get rid of which would not fit in the new unit. I put my hand up (electronically) and so last weekend I went around to collect these bottles.

All well and good , there were about five dozen, the interesting point was that most of them were full. That's the thing about home brewing - unless you have a sizable, ready supply of friends to take the stuff or are an utter alcoholic, you can't drink as much as you can brew.

He was a lovely old bloke, born and raised out the back of Broken Hill but had lived in a number of outback towns. He'd never had a brewing failure.

So I've just had one of his products. It's five years old according to the carefully printed label. Held an excellent head (more than mine do, bugger) and tastes fine.

I won't be brewing for a while, I think.

And tags! I hadn't 'got' tags, but that
other Latin bloke up the road in Toowoomba gave me the drum. Except I keep forgetting to put them on each post. Dogs, age, tricks, and their mutual incompatibility.

I'm running out of photos that don't include the two offspring as adorable infants or stuff that I would prefer didn't identify me more than using my real first name already does. Don't expect it to make sense, I must listen to my own imprecations more often. Anyway, this is the Hotel St George in Algiers, it's probably got a more Arabic and less French name now. We used to go there for a meal occasionally, it was a rare oasis of stuff we understood, in a city where we really understood bugger all. Algiers was our first time overseas, what an introduction. The restaurant meals weren't anything amazing but it was a night out. The main feature was the cats - you couldn't have a meal without 3 or 4 cats rubbing your legs and hanging about waiting for a feed.

PS, just a bit later: Thinking about the marketisation of life, I heard on the TV news tonight George W Bush talking up the US economy to the punters (whatever the American equivalent of punters is). No doubt because of the recent falls in stock prices. From memory, the President said that the US economy was "large". Do you reckon that was the case before he became President? He asked Americans to "look at the economy." He said it was "flexible", and "resilient."

So do you reckon they looked at the economy? Where do you think they found it? Do you, perhaps, think that maybe Americans couldn't find "the economy" out there, but did in fact reflect on their own circumstances? And perhaps couldn't, in all cases, draw a correlation?

"Look at the economy." Sausage machines. And so on.

I rest my case.

1 comment:

JahTeh said...

Worst thing they did in Victoria was combine Tech and Secondary schools. It doesn't give kids a choice to find out which way they're inclined. My son was determined to go to tech school but ended up changing to a small secondary school where he flourished but he had the chance to have a go at both. Son and nephew had no need of a book to get into trouble, it came naturally to them.

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