O MacGuffin: A arte da crónica (4)

sábado, maio 10, 2008

A arte da crónica (4)

Peter Simple
(Michael Wharton)


The government is to spend more than £4 million on a scheme to give every primary and secondary school on this country a computer of its own. ‘Children entering primary schools now’, says Mr William Shelton, junior Education Minister, ‘will still be contributing to the productivity of this country in the year 2040. It is essential that they develop the tools of the future in the schools of today.’

Amid the roar of adult cheering, mingled with the shrill piping of the poor little monsters who have already been enslaved by this gadgets (which they naturally find great fun), I can hardly expect any words of mine to be heard or even processed.

But what does the government’s proposal really mean? It means that these instruments of auto-hypnosis will be furthering at school the tendency by which children, already seduced by menticidal flickering-machines at home, are to be robbed of their childhood – and thereby of then adulthood as well.

This is a scheme for producing a whole generations of morons and slaves of the machine, without a sense of wonder, without any true sense of the real world in which they live. In place of thoughts and sensations they will have numbers, symbols, formulae.

And how does Mr Shelton know that computers will be the tools of the future? The tools of the future may be the spade, the fork and the scythe. How does he know what life in the year 2040 will be like? Why does he think the children of today should be systematically processed for a future which nobody can possible forsee?

A computer in every school? Can it be that the ‘midless vandals’ who specialise in dealing with schools will prove to be the unconscious friends and benefactors of humanity, at least throwing the occasional spanner in the wheel of computerised progress even if they cannot stop it altogether?

A terrible Thought

As I read a report of a debate in the Commons on rules about immigration, with Mr Hattersley, the Shadow Home Secretary, in full flood and accusations of ‘racism’ flying about the place, a terrible thought came into my mind.

What is ‘racism’ (or ‘racialism’, as it was called before it became, according to the liberal consensus, the one sin which may not be forgiven either in this world or the next)? If it means ‘racial discrimination’ it can be anything form the crankish theories of Alfred Rosenburg, the Nazi expert on ‘racial science’, to an instinctive and generally harmless human preference for people of one’s own kind; a belief, until recently unquestioned by the sane, that there are differences, not necessarily implying superiority or inferiority, between one race and another.

In this latter sense almost everybody in the world is a ‘racist’. My terrible thought was this: that one day, just once, as one of the periodical orgies of cant on this subject was raging, some Member of the Parliament might get to his feet and say: ‘I am a racist. And so, you hypocrites, are you’.

It might be the end of the world. On the other hand, it might make everybody feel a great deal better.

Bedroom Horrors

According to a survey, 46 per cent of homes in this country have two or more television sets and a majority of their owners have their second sets in their bedrooms. Six per cent of this people said that bedroom television ‘inhibited sexual intercourse’. They were men and women in roughly equal numbers but mainly of the lower middle class.

Seventeen per cent, found that other bedroom activities inhibited by television were, firstly, reading, followed by games of Scrabble, knitting and pillow-fighting. As for the programmes, horror films were said to be more popular in the bedrooms of the Midlands, documentaries in London and Scotland and old films in the North of England.

What is one to make of such findings (an even more horrific one emerged in another survey which showed that 18 per cent of children had their own television sets)?

Here is a picture of a nation debauched by continual, passive exposure to visual and verbal rubbish and in danger of being reduced to total, drooling imbecility. What hope is there of stopping or reversing this process?

Many – soon perhaps a majority – of the children are already lost. Nor is it much comfort that some of these doomed people manage to read, play Scrabble, knit and have pillow-fights in their bedrooms while the television set is on, and that some manage to have sexual intercourse. What proportion, by the way, do all these things at the same time, and what class do they belong?

As for those, mainly of the lower middle class, who cannot have sexual intercourse while watching television, this may be a blessing. Even today, and even among the lower middle class, or so experts believe, sexual intercourse sometimes results in conception and the birth of children.

Are people of the lower middle class who are so addicted to television, the worst of modern evils, that they have allowed it to invade their bedrooms, fit to have children, let alone bring them up?

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