Archive for the ‘Amateur Anthropology’ Category

Crule Britannia!

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Yesterday's UNICEF report makes a "comprehensive assessment of the lives and well-being of children and adolescents in the economically advanced nations". It makes interesting reading. Unless you happen to live in the UK, in which case you'd shrivel up into a tiny ball of embarrassment and reel in jaw-dropping incredulity.

The report attempts to quantify "well-being" into six categories. Out of 21 countries studied, here's how us plucky Brits faired:

materialism: 18th
family and peer relationships: last
health and safety: 12th
education: 17th
behaviour and risks: last
subjective well-being: last

Overall we came, unsurprisingly, last, just below USA. Hardly a glowing endorsement of capitalism. If there was a league for capitalism, we'd both be at the top.

We've become a nation of "haves" and "have lots", which appears to have taught kids that success can be measured by the quantity of 'stuff' one can amass in a lifetime. It starts with a pair of trainers, then to mobile phones, iPods, holidays, cars and eventually houses (London in particular where it's not so much live-to-work but live-to-pay-the-bloody-mortgage). Capital subjugation that's hard to escape when your environment blasts you from every angle to expose your material inadequacies. The consequence infects family structure, culls aspirations and blunts social mobility.

From a kid's perspective, it's all quite clear: issues of morality can be replaced with concern of individual wealth. So for some green-eyed kid with phone envy, theft is, on balance, justified. The more wealth to taunt your peers, the higher your standing. I doubt this will have been missed by the Marxists.

And I wonder how much well-beingness will be apparent as consumerist kids grow into capitalist adults. What was started by Thatcher has been perfected by Blair, and between them they have made this country a pretty sorry place in which to live.


Thursday, February 24th, 2005

We feel more cautious and vulnerable as we get older because the feeling of protection and infallibility that we get from our parents diminishes with time.


Thursday, February 24th, 2005

Is it any surprise that racism exists across the world? For two reasons we have engrained racism into our culture. The first is a matter of human survival. Had the human race been in competition with some other life-form, our Darwinistic instinct would be to ensure that we kill them off in order that we may flourish as a race. Maybe one day aliens will land on Earth – thereby justifying all those clever American Independence Day plots – then we would have no scruples in developing a alien-busting weapon. Alien suffering would bother us no more than squashing a flee (sorry Buddhists), and extermination of the aliens is always hailed as a triumph of humanity over adversity. The equation is simple: if it poses a threat, squash it. So on one hand we have an instinct to protect ourselves.

But the problem is that our boundaries of who we are have suffered mission creep (I love that phrase). And the reason why is because we are also taught from a very young age that competition is good and is encouraged. This is also perpetuated throughout our lived from the media. England vs France in whatever sport is a grudge match and so is England vs Germany. We are actively encouraged to view the opposition as The Enemy, albeit in a civilised way, but we are told that They must win because They are English and conversely but more worryingly – They must loose because They are German. No one in the east London pubs starts cheering for Klaus Tvinkletoes of Munich just because he's having a great game! But this attitude and deliberate segregation exists not only across national borders, but across county borders (Yorkshire vs Lancashire, the War of the Roses for God's sake!) and then between city borders in Premiership football and eventually between school teams and then down different houses within the same school. Any damn excuse and we create rivalry. But at the same time we are also told that it is wrong to perceive people with different coloured skin as potential rivals. Why should this be so wrong? By denying there's a difference is admitting that there really is a difference other than that of colour. Are white people under the delusion that they are superior to black people genetically, such that its almost embarrassing. So so avoid the embarrassment, they pretend that they are colour blind whilst all along what they want to say it "You are black and you are different to me". It's the perception of superiority that is racism, not any physical, genetic or cultural difference. Could we ever have a football match between White United and Black City?

Nanny State

Thursday, October 7th, 2004

Are human beings designed to be autonomous? Can the "human spirit" be trusted to act without greed? Does this not contradict Darwin as we should all strive to ensure the strongest survive? Perhaps we need the stronger characters to take control of a society and dictate how we should live our lives. Humans are very good at saying "do as I say and not as I do", but so what? As long as what they say is beneficial for the society then who the hell cares about hipocracy! And how do you define "beneficial for society"? Is it to please the highest proportion within that society or is it to make the society as a unit more successful against other societies?
So perhaps having a Nanny state is a good thing. It's just a shame that it makes me ANGRY!

Today is Thursday 7th October 2004, the day the ISG (Iraq Survey Group) published its findings that there were no WMD in Iraq leading up to the war. The report found him guilty of wanting to rebuild his warmongering capabilities when sanctions had been lifted. Well, you can hardly blame him for wanting to rearm again – its pretty much all he knows! But what's unbelievable is that TB has tried to turn the whole thing around and say "Ha! Told you!! Ner-ner-na-ner-nerr! He wanted to rebuild his arms! So that's why he was such a massive threat and why we went to war!!" What the??…did I miss something? Has te world gone mad??? Most people are saying 'Ah, but no. I think you are wrong on this matter, Mr Prime Minister', when what they should be saying is 'HAVE YOU GONE TOTALLY FUCKING MAD??? YOU'RE TALKING COMPLETE BOLLOCKS!!!'.
For there to be a threat you need both capability and intent. He had no capability, that much we know. Intent? Against whom? The UK? I don't think so.