Use of the human body (and illness) as metaphor isn’t new. Probably dates back to the moment when the first proto-hominid jumped out of a tree on the edge of the savannah, landed in the grass and said “That was one giant leap for mankind”.
Still, at the risk of seeming even more of a valetudinarian than I do already, I think there will be a lot more mining of medical metaphors on the old Watermelon blog before we extract the cannula and give them a rest.
Occurred to me that having what I have and receiving the treatment I am receiving is like being bullied. The old lymph cells have been bullying my body and now the nasty chemical cocktail I sit down to imbibe every 3 weeks is bullying me too. The latter though with the best possible intentions, rather in the way that a boy receiving a caning would be told that it was hurting the headmaster more than it did him.
Lot of bullying about these days. Bob Brown called the Press on bullying the Greens the other day, and immediately the other journalists all began bullying him even more for daring to suggest they were bullies. The radio and print shock jocks are of course nothing but a pack of bullies roaming at will. Heard one of them on a breakfast TV show the other day bullying Rob Oakeshott (not to his face of course) outraged, still, that the independents had supported, continued to support, in spite of all the shock jock bullying, the Trotskyite government led by Gillard. Shock jock-style bullies infest opinion threads on blogs everywhere, bullying the rest of us to ensure the planet warms up by at least 6 degrees.
There are bullies roaming school playgrounds, corporations bully their workers, mining companies and tobacco companies bully the government, police bully demonstrators, agnostics bully atheists, politicians bully refugees, creationists bully evolutionists, game show hosts bully contestants, gun owners bully non-gun owners, monarchists bully republicans, bloggers bully other bloggers, libertarians bully everybody.
Terrorists are the ultimate bullies with bombs. The IRA were at it again the other day – c’mon guys, really? – but there seem to be mad bombers everywhere determined to use terror to bully their way towards making the rest of the world agree with whatever it is they think they think. Using a wide definition indeed of “think”.
Which brings me naturally to religion. Natural home for bullies it seems. You join a religion and it comes with a kind of bully pulpit, a bully pass which not only allows, no encourages, you to bully anyone who isn’t religious, but all those who don’t belong to whatever splinter group of whatever religious myth you follow. If you can’t bully everyone else into doing what you think they should be doing you can at least bully them into not doing things you don’t want to do and don’t want them to do either. Especially women.
The other day, end of the world as it happened, some madman, with media echo chamber in tow, was bullying his followers so that they gave up jobs, gave him money, got rid of possessions, slaughtered pets, in some cases apparently tried to suicide and kill children, bullied them into believing that whatever madness was going on in his brain was real.
There are politicians too who seem determined to bully the real world into shape (Barnaby, Nick, looking at you). Bully the scientists first, especially climate scientists, taking a big stick the other day to Flannery and Steffen who had once again apparently failed to come up with the correct answer for how the real world works (c’mon guys, how many times does it take till we make you understand that the planet isn’t waming and if it was who cares). Some cardinal adopts the same approach. Apparently if you speak loud enough, carry a big enough sick, the conservative politicians, and their friends in high corporate places, believe, you can force the world to do your bidding. CO2 will stop being a greenhouse gas, the ice caps will cease to melt, the storms will turn into gentle breezes. But all the conservative politicians (on both “sides”of the mainstream political fence), adopt a bullying tone and manner towards any aspect of modern life with which they disagree. Poor people, schools, hospitals, refugees, workers, women, Aborigines are all bullied these days. No discussion of issues, just a hectoring of anyone who holds a contrary view on anything.
Which brings us, inevitably, to that Flashman-in-chief Rupert Murdoch. Story the other day, alongside ones about the Pope being a catholic, swallows flying south, and Queen Anne being dead, that “Rupert Murdoch has let it be known within his organisation that Australia needs change in Canberra and his editors were simply doing his bidding”. So all 21 million of us are going to be bullied by one man until we do what he wants and vote for Tony Abbott. Perhaps just enthrone him in a secret News Limited conclave, white smoke announcing that the new PM has been chosen. America has also been well and truly bullied by Murdoch and his Fox bully boys, which gave us George W Bush and the Iraq war, and, of course, no action on climate change. We were bullied into John Howard (himself a very able deputy bullier) and bullied into keeping him there for 100 years until Kevin Rudd dropped in on Flashman in New York in 2007 and handed over his lunch money, no argument.
They say that if you stand up to bullies they eventually see the error of their ways, take off the headlock, and hand back your lunch money with interest. Only, I think, if you have a current affairs camera team and bullying reporter in tow. Quite how you stop someone who owns 70% of the media outlets in a country bullying us all into submission I don’t know. All together now.