It’s hardly controversial to comment that our media peddle fear. Nor uncontroversial to comment that a cowed individual is a controllable individual.
Many remark on our 6 O’Clock News leading with, lingering over and sensationalising the random stabbing or shooting and also that on our fictional TV programmes are increasingly dominated by fearful scenarios such as murder, violence, kidnappings and such like.
Linda Clark reflected an all too prevalent mentality resulting from this culture of fear on Sat when she and her guest discussed the overbearing supervision and molly coddling of today’s kids. Although stating her awareness that she does not allow her kids the same freedoms she herself enjoyed as a kid, she tied herself in knots attempting to understand her own actions. She eventually pleaded â€˜Everyone else does it’ or words to that effect as a justification and explanation for having them on a short leash.
So far, so bad, but according to these studies it is not simply the case that being presented with â€˜unsafety’ will, over time make people boring, fearful and malleable.
Fearful people are denied, both by others and themselves, experiences that might allow them to draw their own conclusions on the veracity of any stated danger or threat. Their perceptions are received, not developed. Because of this, the legitimacy of a growing negative orthodoxy that insists, for example, that we must be tough on crime, that homeless people are intrinsically bad, that kids are the enemy, that Muslims are dangerous, that immigration is bad and so on, cannot be questioned.
As the fearfulness and its concomitant measures of cotton candy wool safety measures dance in a vortex of decreasing, reinforcing spirals, it gets expressed in wider and ever more encompassing contexts from TV News to TV programmes to school rules to government policy to every day â€˜everybody knows that!’ scenarios. And the narrowing parameters of orthodoxy constrict the discourse of both the left and right of the social democratic spectrum and brings us closer to, well a â€˜wonderful’ One World wrapped up shit smeared cotton candy wool, I guess.