‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ is another of those daft adages that add nothing at all to the sum of human knowledge. If a social or cultural group behaves contemptibly towards us, then yes, experiencing their dysfunction will make them repellent to genuinely liberal democrats.
But field-tested behaviour therapy has shown over and over again that being increasingly familiarised with anything or anyone not horrid produces acceptance. This truth lies at the core of modern, highly effective techniques of curing obsessively phobic behaviour: being ‘immersed’ in experience of the fear proves to the left cortex that the fear is unreal. Thus – as this brain region is in charge while we’re awake – the phobia can be eradicated remarkably quickly….and I speak as one whose life was transformed by this kind of treatment.
However, there is a problem when one applies this to the macro level of society where personal experience is not involved. The media enable the creation of this situation, and it is unique to the technological society. And when people view – via the Greek term tele remoteness – repeated exposure to the situation evokes not just acceptance, but (gradually) apathy.
I first saw this inuring process in action during the latter stages of the Vietnam War. The fine songwriter and social observer Don Maclean recorded this perfectly in his album Prime Time, when he described a junk-food family watching newsreel footage:
They shot him in the chest/pass the chicken breast/the General is saying how he’s still not impressed
The news then flips to a football game:
We interrupt this game for a news release/ a man has gone insane and been shot by police/ well this is life, this is prime time this is/ living the American Way.
Remote viewing technology allows us to view something utterly barbaric and abhorrent….and become, over time, apathetic about it. It’s on the telly, it’s a long way away, I don’t feel the pain in any true sense, ergo I don’t care.
When governments “compromise” in order to excuse this sort of behaviour, the feelng of ‘it doesn’t matter’ is reinforced. Trust me: they know this perfectly well.
This is why the Sky News report three days ago showing how cluster bombs falling on Yemeni hospitals housing already starving kids had such a powerful effect: it was not ‘normal’ news coverage about British weapons in action.
Compare and contrast the reaction to that of events in Aleppo. There, the human tragedy is far worse…but the British élite media have been bashing away at this for months, and with one blatant agenda: the tragedy is all down to Assad and Russia. Look – nobody is Snow White in all this; but that level of analysis takes a special kind of whore to go with it as an editorial line.
Nor are these examples rare. The new rail strike, the “no money left” drivel used against Waspi Women, the “all in the same boat” nonsense about austerity, the “vital” nature of QE, and “saving the world” with Zirp: in turn, rail profits at the expense of travellers, the DWP’s theft of pensions monies, the idea that austerity can stimulate consumption, the buying of worthless paper to save rich idiots and a ‘capitalist’ world where the ordinary citizen can’t get interest on hard-earned capital have all been rendered OK and perfectly logical by persistent repetition.
This is why the fight against pro-Establishment media in general and Murdoch in particular is so central to everything…..and why somebody somewhere needs to wake up the Alan Rusbridgers and Kevin MacGuires of this world up to what really motivates downtrodden and/or decent British citizens.
If Murdoch takes over Sky, broadcasts like the Yemeni scoop will be spiked ruthlessly.
Yet again (boring) I urge ideological stockade dwellers to unite against those about to take out your rain forest root and branch.