Sunday, February 11, 2007

It's that fear thing again!

The latest round in the great British 'get scared until we feel alive' game is the announcement today in The Times that doctors will require police or military protection when they walk around deciding who gets to live and who will be left to die once the Great Epidemic takes place - all this due to some dead turkeys south of the border in England. That the virus which will kill us hasn't even evolved yet is apparently just a detail. It's been a slow week for global warming. The latest roundup of muslim terrorists is a week old and starting to go green around the edges like something left in the fridge for too long. The second article in the Times this morning went one step farther. Doctors, it appears, will need their own guns. Will it be this bad? Of course it will. The British public clearly has no control. The people who survived the Blitz and the IRA and Margaret Thatcher were another race of men who bear no resemblance to the weaker and less worthy crowd which presently inhabits our island and can be depended on to murder any doctor who makes hard decisions.

When I was ten or eleven there was an American serial horror show on television called Dark Shadows. My sister and I weren't allowed to watch it because our youngest sister Ruth would have wanted to watch it as well and she was far too young. The show was genuinely scary and therefore far too good to miss so we simply invented homework parties at the homes of a couple of feral children we knew whose parents wouldn't take any notice. Feral friends are, of course, the salvation of bored suburban youngsters but that's the subject of another post.

So when Barnabas Collins was about to bite the neck of one of his victims or when Quentin Collins had finally been turned into a zombie and appeared from behind the door we children were able to feel something queer and primitive rising up in us. Something akin to what our ancestors would have felt in the presence of a genuine opponent or a wild animal. Fear is a thrill and we are short on bona fide thrills these days. With more money to spend than we've had before and with life expectancy rising we would need a frisson or two. The only thing falling as quickly as the genuine crime rate is the percentage of people who vote. You see, we're not passionate about very much and therein, I think, is the problem.

A problem which the media (like a helpful call-girl with nimble fingers) has identified and will be pleased to help us with.

Also: We could all fall into the sea!

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