Thursday, 28 October 2010

Frightening children for fun and profit.

Just finding the blogging mood again after the end-of-project exhaustion session. I thought I'd start with something amusing.

When I was little, there was a bogeyman. He lived in the cupboard under the stairs and if we went in there, we might not come back out again. If we were naughty, he might come out at night with his bag and steal us away, never to be seen again.

As children, we were terrified by the bogeyman but he wasn't there for fun. There was a reasoning behind him. Under the stairs was where the cleaning stuff and other dangerous household chemicals were kept. If you tell a child 'don't go in there' then the child will be irresistibly drawn to the place. If you tell a child 'there's a monster in the shadows at the back of the cupboard and he eats children who get too close' then the child will stay well away. As for the threat of the bogeyman emerging, well there's nothing like a sleepless night or two to discourage bad behaviour. Back then we weren't all equipped with bedside lamps and night lights. If you wanted to turn the light on you had to get out of bed. So strange noises were not likely to be investigated.

My parents knew these tricks fifty years ago. Their parents told them, and so on all the way back to the caveman days. My father worked as a coal miner, at the coal face. He was equipped with sufficient musculature that, if used in anger, could break bones. He very rarely used physical punishments. He used psychological means of discipline and subtle ways of teaching that had been unchanged for generations - and yet have all but vanished in a decade.

The tooth fairy and Santa, for example, did not work for free. If you wanted that sixpence you had to trade a tooth for it. If you wanted Christmas presents, you had to behave yourself and Santa expected a tip when he arrived. A bottle of beer, a mince pie and a cigar for him, a carrot for the reindeer and we were left in no doubt that if Santa didn't get them, those presents would go straight back in the sack. We'd always inspect the crumbs on the plate and the cigar butt in the ashtray and the empty bottle next morning and oddly enough, there was always carrot involved somewhere in Christmas dinner. Maybe the reindeer weren't hungry. The presents were there, so Santa was happy with our offering.

In that way, we learned that nothing is free. Not even the imaginary.

Now, Santa is denied his cigar. He can't even take it and smoke it on the roof in case he deposits third-hand smoke in the next house. He can't have alcohol because all that booze in one night is binge drinking. He can't have the mince pie because he's too fat. This year, when he spies one dry low-fat biscuit, a glass of water and a pack of Nicorette gum, there might be a few Christmas stockings with coal in them. You want that fancy game, kids? Booze, tobacco and sugary cake. Otherwise, no deal.

Children are taught to be terrified of smokers. If their parents smoke, they are told they will have to watch those parents die in horrible agony. That bogeyman is still under the stairs but he's not coming for children any more. What purpose does it serve to terrify children in this way? It serves the purposes of tyrants like ASH and the profits of the Pharmers. It's done for money.

Children are taught that drink is evil, that their parents will turn into something so evil Hell wouldn't want them, just to keep Don Shenker in a job and to keep their parents under control. Child abuse is profitable for these people. I'm sure they also derive immense pleasure from it.

Now, children are being taught that Santa is going to get diabetes and die because he's overweight. That's assuming he avoids lung cancer and liver failure, of course. No wonder all those local authorities are getting us used to the idea of not having Christmas. Santa is on his death bed. He'll be lucky if he can manage this year and if he does, kids, you'll know when he's around. Listen for heavy staggery sounds accompanied by wheezing and coughing. Perhaps, on Christmas Eve, you might be so good as to leave out some Setlers, cough medicine and a syringe of insulin.

This one is also to keep the health nuts employed. Santa has been targeted by smokophobes, booze puritans and the chubby-haters. Next he'll be branded a terrorist because he has a beard and a paedophile because he sneaks into children's rooms in the dead of night. All these pressure groups really need to realise something.

Santa isn't real. Santa is not a role model. No child grows up wanting Santa's job. Mythical characters can look like anything they please, eat and drink and smoke all they want and they come to no harm because they don't actually exist. There is no point in regulating the imaginary.

But then, they did away with Tom and Jerry...

Now it seems Halloween is considered too scary. Only it's not the ghosts and devils and tricks that are scary - it's the apples.

Children are advised to wear safety goggles when ducking for apples. Remove the stalk too - you could have someone's eye out with that thing. The bowl must be sterilised and the water purified.

Consultant ophthalmologist Parwez Hossain, from Southampton General Hospital, Hampshire, said dunking your head into a bowl of water to bite an apple was fraught with danger.

This is an allegedly educated man. A consultant. The top of the profession. Keep that in mind.

Where there is a chance of a high velocity impact, for example with an apple, you need to wear eye protection such as goggles.

What do they do these days, dive off the high board into a pool full of apples? It was a long time ago but I don't recall any high velocities being involved. All that would achieve is a nose full of water.

'It is also advisable to remove stalks because they could poke you in the eye, especially if you are playing in the dark and can't see what you are doing.

We used to do it blindfolded. You know, with a cloth covering our... eyes.

'I would suggest using bottled mineral water or boiling tap water and waiting for it to cool down, like we do for clinical trials.

'This is because stagnant water and tap water could contain water-borne organisms, which may lead to infection.'

This tap water is the same stuff you wash your face with every day. The same stuff you use to rinse fruit and salads and cook food. You shower in it and lie in baths full of it for ages. Some people swim in it and I have heard tell that there are those who even routinely drink it.

It's treated. With chlorine/chloramine to kill water-borne nasties. Before that, it's filtered through sand beds to take out any lurking lumps of horrible stuff. By the time it comes out of the tap, it's so safe you can even drink it. I wouldn't bother, it's pretty tasteless and it's zero ABV, but it's certainly safe enough for your child to wash his face in. Even if it does have apples floating in it.

And stagnant water? What kind of moron would go out and look for some stagnant water for the ducking apple bowl, rather than just filling it from the tap? Who would want any apples that might be bobbing about in that?

I repeat - this man is a consultant. He's at the top of his profession. What are the ones below him like? And they expect me to listen to anything they say? Really? When the head man is telling us tap water is deadly and apples attack children?

This is going to be a dull Halloween. No candles in pumpkins - fire hazard, and they give off smoke. No masks - face coverings mean you have something to hide. No sweets - instant diabetes. No small toys - idiots might eat them and choke. No scary things - someone might be frightened.

Well, there's always bonfire night. Not that there's a great deal of fun left in that one either. Although this year, there might be some fires out there with two guys on them.

One with a cigarette in his mouth and one with a potato head.


sparklers kill ? said...

I see the govt is now scared of sparklers. We've got to throw them in a bucket of water when they go out. Wear gloves when they are lit and don't put them near our eyes. According to the safety advert on tv this week.
We used to use them to light bangers and jumping jacks which we then threw at each other when we were kids. Not sure how we survived.

Magnetic said...

Re: Antismoking.
The propagandists are instructed by TC manuals (e.g., see Godber Blueprint) to maintain a high media profile for antismoking. This means hijacking anything – literally anything - to manipulate it back to making antismoking claims. For example, Big Jarn the ⅓’s latest press release is a hijacking of Halloween. He takes the opportunity to tell folk, i.e., propaganda, that Halloween should be an opportunity to “instruct” The Children™ of the dangers of SHS exposure to The Children™. A failure to do so is obviously an act of “neglect”. Big Jarn the ⅓ wants everyone to know of the danger of smoking in the [royal] presence of The [eugenics-owned] Children™. Furthermore, Big Jarn’s statistical claims for the day of Halloween add further derangement to an already perverse circumstance.

Thus proclaimeth Big Jarn the ⅓:
“This Halloween millions of parents - and perhaps many grandparents, friends, and neighbors - will warn children about the dangers of motor vehicle accidents, or of eating candy which hasn't been inspected. But most will fail to warn about the biggest risk, one which may kill more children this Halloween than all of the others combined: smoking in their presence by adults.

On average, only a handful of children are killed in auto accidents every Halloween in the United States. Although this reportedly is sometimes higher than any other night, the number still pales in comparison to the death toll from tobacco smoke.”

Big Jarn or another of the antismoking cult will most probably hijack Christmas, tsunami, earthquakes, etc, etc, to proclaim the antismoking “message”.

One of the most bald-faced examples of this hijacking is:

Leg-iron said...

Sparklers - we've been told to be terrified of those for some time.

Once, we all had coal fires. We knew how to act around burning things because everyone had one in the living room.

Once, we could play in the dirt and our immune systems developed because of low level exposure to all kinds of things.

Once, we had to get out of bed before the fire had been lit so wen knew how to deal with cold.

All those things are gone now. People expect everything to be always warm but not too warm, they don't equate fire with pain and they think the slightest contamination will kill them.

Humans worry about every other species' extinction but their own but if you look at the generation forming now, we are next.

Leg-iron said...

magnetic -

“This Halloween millions of parents - and perhaps many grandparents, friends, and neighbors - will warn children about the dangers of motor vehicle accidents, or of eating candy which hasn't been inspected.

Does Big Jarn really believe that? Do parents really do that? Mine didn't. I mean, 'eating candy which hasn't been inspected'? We used to eat worms that hadn't been inspected. Also hazelnuts, blackberries, raspberries, crababbles, anything we could get. Some of those habits are still with me (not the worms, but if it came down to it...).

The antismoker and anti-everything shriek is now at banshee level and sounds just as desperate. They aren't losing.

They've already lost.

They just don't know it yet.

banned said...

Parwez Hossain forgot to warn us that the kiddies might also drown.

On the subject of Halloween, in my local Tesco there is a sign above their pile of festive tat "Under 25?" which I did not read but no doubt it is some insulting infantilising tripe aimed at fully grown adults.

Diesel said...

I don't normally smoke, but I always carry a HUGE cigar in a cigar caddy to any meeting that someone might possibly speak about anti-smoking, just so I can spark up and produce huge clouds.

My three year old calls people that try to ban or restrict freedoms "silly".

Its huge fun when we go into shops, and she points out the no-smoking sign and says really loudly "that sign is silly, daddy".

I'm so proud of her.

Jeff Wood said...

Leg-Iron, one of your best fisks.

My dear Diesel, congratulations on your daughter. I hope they don't get her when she goes to school.

My WV is Extric. Sounds like Diesel Minor.

Paul said...

Bonfire Night can be fun. If you make a nice big effigy up like we're planning to do of José Manuel Barroso (suitably draped in the EU flag, natch) or our good friend Don Shenker. Top it off with a load of booze and sausages, fireworks and a bonfire and you've got quite a night.

Ray Nerslane said...


Be careful who or what you burn in effigy.

A few years ago a bonfire society, fed up with the thieving, antisocial activities of the local 'travelling community', burned a caravan, registration number P1 KEY.

They narrowly avoided prosecution for hate crime. I dare say there's a similar European law protecting Barroso against such heinous offence.

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

Sadly, RN, you are probably right. Living in a 'free country' nowadays means you are free to do anything the government approves of.

Leg-iron said...

Banned - they won't drown unless you hold them under or smack them on the back of the head with a Golden Delicious. So I'm told.

I haven't looked at Tesco's latest pile of tat. Next time I'm in, I'll see if that sign is here too.

Leg-iron said...

Diesel - guard that child well. She is our hope for the future.

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