Monday, April 05, 2010


I credit years without television for my ability to still be appalled. Fed a near constant rubbish diet of the sort in the corporate media, I'd almost certainly shrug off the majority of seemingly innocent comments which convince me, generally, that we're essentially fucked. Oh, we are. Sometimes, I wish these things eluded me.

A few days ago, I glanced at an article about poverty, and was shocked to read, "They live in a rented house..." used as a recognised, charged phrase. Oh goodness, not the filthy poor in their rented homes! Respectable middle class people take on a mortgage, even if they end up underwater. Personally, I don't think the use of "rented house" is subtle at all, though admittedly hearing this reinforced daily through media would perhaps skew they way such seemingly offhand things are received.

Today, an article on breastfeeding* that caught my eye. A doctor was complaining that not enough women (in his opinion) are breastfeeding. The alarming quote was:

"Dr. Larry Gray, a University of Chicago pediatrician, called the analysis compelling and said it's reasonable to strive for 90 percent compliance."

Compliance. Think about that for a minute. Go on, I'll wait.

This is the same language used to justify zapping disobedient ten year olds with stun guns ("he wasn't in compliance"), parolees attending mandated counseling (to be "in compliance with the terms of release")or even investment banking ("They must be in compliance with SEC guidelines").The term is used far too casually, for the seriousness of the meaning. Properly, it should be read as "Obedience." While I expect obedience with SEC guidelines from investment bankers, I get a little uncomfortable with the application of the term to a woman's breasts. I understand that over time, meanings become diluted, or change significantly-but I'll go out on a limb and suggest I'm reading this accurately. I only hope we don't start hitting formula feeding parents with stun guns.

"You! You are not in compliance! Go back to your rented house you filthy poor person."

*I personally don't care how, or what you feed your child so please don't bother with passionate arguments as to the benefits of either in the comment section-I will delete them. I do not care, and that's not the point of this post.

No comments: