Thursday, 8 September 2011

I do rather wish Guardian columnists would stop treating the working class as imbeciles


It is well known among the cognoscenti that the adverts we see contains special powers that make it nearly impossible for the innocent viewer – especially if that innocent viewer is from the lower socio-economic classes – to resist the blandishments of the business present products or services before them.

“The current crisis of public health is not in any case about the collapse of personal responsibility but a reflection of a toxic environment in which making healthy choices has become increasingly difficult, particularly if you are on a tight budget or work long hours.”

Scuttling from a back-breaking job cleaning toilets to collect the kids followed by a desperate search for some affordable grub to silence the rumblings in those kids tummies, these poor folk from lower socio-economic groups are society’s victims – dragged into McDonalds no doubt by a special advertising pheromone affecting only working class people on less than twenty grand a year (and detectable only by Guardian columnists).

This is all utter and complete tripe and Felicity Lawrence reveals both her prejudice and her patronising nature by suggesting that nothing in the so-called “obesity epidemic” has anything at all to do with personal choice or responsibility:

“...the fact that your risk of being obese relates closely to your socio-economic status is not a question of social justice but a problem of the feckless poor being too ignorant or spineless to make good choices.”

Now – leaving aside that the obesity epidemic, rather like the alcohol pandemic, is something of a New Puritan fiction – it still remains the fact that whether Mary-Jo is grossly overweight is a concern for Mary-Jo and for no-one else. And it remains the fact that most people who eat pizza, who pop in for a McD or who guzzle the occasional fizzy drink are not obese and present no health problem as a result of their diet.

Yet people who write in self-regarding journals such as the Guardian persist in pointing at the working classes – with their drinking, smoking and fatty foods – and saying that they are the blameless victims of mass marketing. I hate to disappoint Ms Lawrence but she – and all her righteous, lentil-knitting, whole foods munching mates – are wrong.

Those ‘lower socio-economic groups’ that the Guardian so likes to patronise smoke, drink and eat burgers because they like smoking, drinking and eating burgers. These things give them pleasure – as does having lots of sex and watching reality TV shows. If you want to change their behaviour, you have to offer them affordable alternative pleasures that are as good.

And anyway the whole argument collapses when we’re presented with the real facts:

The actual that the trend from 2002 has actually been flat. For 2009 ... the proportion of all men who were obese was 22.1 per cent, the same as in 2002.

So Ms Lawrence, just shut up and go away. Leave the working classes to the pleasures they choose and stop patronising them.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When she has gone, she might try to obtain a real job.