Wednesday, July 06, 2005


I’m getting a bit annoyed with the way the news media attribute emotions to the world when “the world” is made up of zillions of individuals, a large chunk of whom really couldn’t give a toss.

Remember when the new pope was being chosen and the “world waited with bated breath” to see a puff of smoke? I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t waiting with bated breath, I was going about my everyday life waiting with bated breath for the traffic light to change, waiting with bated breath for 4:30 Friday afternoon, and positively “on tenterhooks” for that dizzying moment when my paycheck hit my bank account before it started dissolving in front of my eyes. I had a passing interest in who they were going to choose as new pope, but my breathing throughout the event was remarkably deep and regular, and I don’t think I was the only one.

When someone dies, apparently the whole world mourns, whether it’s Mother Theresa, Princess Di or Ronald Reagan, there is a “huge outpouring of grief”. Really? I just think ag shame. I might turn down the corners of my mouth and think sad thoughts for a second or two, but my outpourings of grief are confined to close relatives, loved ones and the state of my bank balance. I can’t conjure up the actual tears without which mourning just isn’t complete, and it’s hard to squeeze out even half a drop for a politician.

I suppose in the old days people would have wept and gnashed their teeth when the king died because it had an enormous impact of their lives, but these huge public death-fests make me feel like a voyeur, people crying, people hugging each other, I’m sure it’s very emotional for the people concerned, but I’m left stone cold, especially if I didn’t like the person in the first place.

The world also shows lots of “outrage”, we’re often found to “watch in horror”, we’re frequently at “fever pitch”, which suggests that people are flooding into the streets and throwing rocks, whereas mostly they’re muttering to their friends and writing furious anonymous missives to the newspapers. I keep looking out of the window for the “firestorm of fury”, but people in my neighbourhood aren’t “voicing their anger” or “attacking” anything.

While I have no doubt that what the world needs now is love sweet love, quality cotton and a balanced international agenda, I’m not convinced that the world wants to work in India or that it looks to America for leadership. One portion does not a fruitcake make.

As for the useful habit of telling us what the world “loves” and “hates”, I don’t believe the entire world loves Bollywood movies or Orlando Florida, although I’m willing to grant that large parts of it might appreciate a good dick joke. I know that lots of people despise George Bush but I really can’t get up the energy to hate Americans, not when I’m wearing Levi’s, listening to Eminem and watching Johnny Depp.

The world watches … no it doesn’t, mostly the world yawns, scratches it’s bum and slopes off to the fridge for another beer.

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