Bigotry doesn’t grow on its own. Not only must it be nurtured and cared for, but it requires massive doses of the fertilizer of anxiety and fear before can reach its full potential. This is why we have a media, to insure an unlimited supply of said fertilizer.
However, not any old fertilizer will do. An efficient fertilizer is one that pushes one of the many hot buttons within the public’s psyche. For decades, Communism was a great fertilizer, but not because it offered an alternative to capitalism. What incensed the public about the communists was that they were “godless,” and nobody messes with God.
(Before going any further, we must distinguish between hard bigotry—overt racism—and soft bigotry, which has the benevolent aim of elevating our “lesser beings.” Hard bigotry sneers; soft bigotry smiles. Hard is for the lower classes; soft is for the educated classes.)
After the fall of the Soviet Union, bigotry fell on hard times. With 9/11, it looked as if terrorism would fill the void. Unfortunately, while collapsing buildings make one hell of a media show, terrorists and Islamofascist simply didn’t touch any of our hot buttons. And without an inflamed hot button, there can be little or no bigotry.
All of this is about to change. The media is now churning out a new fertilizer that approaches perfection. It doesn’t just push one hot button, it pushes multiple buttons.
A recent phenomenon is the appearance in supermarkets of sanitary wipes so shoppers can swab down the handles of their shopping carts to protect themselves from the crud left on the handle by the previous low-life shopper.
The wipes feed into America’s chronic germophobia, bacillophobia and bacterophobia. However, all of these are but symptoms of the mother of all phobias, mysophobia, an irrational fear of dirt. These are all media produced phobias that have the public popping antibiotics at the first appearance of a runny nose, while scrubbing themselves down with antibacterial soap as they slather antibacterial lotion on their hands.
Thus was the public primed for the appearance of The Swine Flu Threat.
It doesn’t get much better than this because it feeds into the public’s mysophobia. Pigs are dirty; dirt carries germs. Therefore, where other types of flu are benign, swine flu must be virulent because it comes from dirty, germy pigs.
Even better, it comes from the land of illegal immigrants, Mexico.
Already we are hearing cries to seal the border to protect the American people from this threat to our well being. We’re not prejudice; we just want to stay healthy so we can enjoy the good life.
It makes no difference that swine flu differs little from the garden variety flu, or that every year 36,000 Americans die from this garden variety. Swine flu rocks as a media event! Cable anchors are breathless as media medical consultants intone. The numbers are duly tallied for each state as Obama calls for $1.5 billion to prepare the nation for the pandemic he says is not a threat.
Schools are closed; flights are cancelled; suspected victims are quarantined; restaurants and theaters are shuttered.
And America eyes the border over which hordes of infected illegal immigrants pour.
Bigotry is such fun when it surfaces. Thanks God for our pigs.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
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