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Saturday, August 24, 2002

The Awful Human Costs of Globalization

Here's the "Hecker" column from the July 11 Sydney Morning Herald. The "Heckler" is a regular feature written by various people, and that day they turned over some of Australia's prime punditry real estate to a 17-year-old girl high school girl named Cayla Dengate.

It's about the running of the bulls in Pamplona, and contains some fairly predictable crap about bull-running being the preserve of macho airheads, and how the lack of modern opportunities to stalk and kill mammoths leads men to exhaust their testosterone in foolish and pointless activities, which only highlights the sickness of contemporary etc etc etc. Actually, it's not quite as humorless as all that, but it is that unoriginal.

Possibly also unoriginal, but interesting, are these lines:

In our globalised world there is no longer a struggle for survival, food, or water.

...we are desperately trying to re-create a life that isn't governed by multinational corporations or the stock market.

And later, after mewling that we are too addicted to our creature comforts, etc:

So is our globalised world increasing the quality of life or hindering it?

While the whole article is just an exercise in Profundity 101 (Week 3: Write a hand-wringing essay about the direction Our Modern Society is heading.), the particular bogeyman she employs is telling. It's globalization that's draining the Precious Bodily Fluids of our young people, sapping their manly vigor by denying them opportunities to starve to death. Seems to me that would make globalization a good thing, and that a whole lot of countries where people still do starve to death would benefit from a good dose of globalization. They might even be willing to trade places with young Cayla and her friends, and risk the horrors of boredom and stupidity for the chance to eat three squares a day.

Unfortunately, she doesn't quite make this connection. But globalization as such doesn't really come into it, it's just the Evil du Jour. At some time in the past she might have inserted "alienation", or "materialism" (same gripe, different year), or (popular for a long time) "the threat of nuclear annihilation". "The constant threat of nuclear annihilation teaches our young people that they do not have a future, that they may as well go out and live now, because they will be dead tomorrow. Therefore they waste their lives on pointless activities such as drag racing, rock and roll, and sex."---That's the sort of thing you heard a lot of in the '50s.

Enjoy some other choice cuts from this brisket:

"...we are all victims of the TV dinner culture"

Remember, class, we are all victims. These things have been forced upon us, and we have no option to reject them. Our will is helpless in the face of the dread TV dinners! O Swanson! O Birdseye!

(Australian TV dinners suck, by the way. They taste OK, but Aussies are still safe from the awful burden of variety that plagues the American frozen food consumer. The Hot Pockets in the freezer oppress me.)

"Every year the running of the bulls will take place, and every year there will be countless people desperate to parade heroically in front of some poor bull who has become a victim...

More victims, class! There can never be too many victims!

She also offers this little nugget of information:

"...girls I know are 'getting back to their roots' through tacky farm experience bed and breakfasts, where you actually pay to shovel manure."

As opposed to getting paid to shovel it at the Sydney Morning Herald. Poor dumb dopes.