17 December 2020

Alchemy and Hugs and Infantilising the Elderly

I just heard a journalist describing (with some emphasis) a Coronavirus Vaccine as "Literally liquid gold." Were he confronted with real liquid gold, how would he ... having neutered the word 'literally' ... describe it? Do we then move on to "really literally", for a decade or so, until that in turn needs reinforcement? And why do these public voices now, increasingly, refer to "fellow colleagues"? The evisceration of real words means that endless reinforcement mumble mumble mumble you know what I was going on to say.

But what is most in my mind at the moment is the habit among our rarely more-than-semi-educated journalists of constantly talking about 'hugs'. 

In their strange world, Coronavirus has meant that, because of 'distancing', I and millions of other poor old people of my age are sitting in loneliness longing to be able to 'hug' their grandchildren or 'be hugged' by them. You try counting how often this offensive trope is paraded on the TV screen by some dim cutie.

There are all sorts of things I would love to feel easy doing ... strolling into Blackwells to see what new books there are ... listening to a paper in a symposium ... accepting invitations to go and preach or lecture or conduct retreats ... finding a country church unlocked and poking around inside to unearth the story of that community ... borrowing a cottage for a fortnight on an interesting coastline, or taking a midweek weekend in a hotel ... checking something in the Patrologia in Bodley ... sauntering into a good cafe for a good coffee and a good pastry ... a quick Guinness (Beamish would be a real treat) in a friendly passing pub ... Saltimbocca alla Romana in our local Italian ... checking whether 'our' Cornish choughs nested this year in the blow-hole near ... ...

But, well ... 'comorbidities' ... I am overweight and diabetic (it's the pastries and the veal) and, even if our de facto regime allowed them, such pleasures would be attenuated by the fear that the waiters or the choughs might infect me with you-know-what. 

And I missed the fortnight on Lake Garda at the 'Roman Forum' Conference ... Verdi in the open air at Verona as the July sky darkens ...

Yes; God has been very good to me. And even under Covid, my life is a million times more pleasurable and fulfilled than that of so many others whose suffering is very real. I accept the way things are with, I hope, very thankful and grateful resignation to the unmerited goodness of God. 

But the absence of Hugs is the least of my deprivations..

Our grandchildren are intelligent, nuanced, witty, perceptive, and affectionate, and we have greatly missed being able to take advantage of occasional lunches with the very admirable grandson who has just finished his first term at the University ... how we had looked forward to having him Up!

But Hugs? The journalistic trope that we senilities just live and long for hugs?? This is the degree of contempt which the self-assured TV voices, as they stumble ungrammatically through their six-fillers-per-sentence illiterate woffle, feel for us over-seventy-fives.

It brings on my Fr Jack Hegarty mood. I feel like throwing something at the TV screen.

But I suppose that would simply provide objective evidence of my senile decrepitude. I would be dragged off to hospital where each day would start with a bright and youthful female voice saying "Come along, John, sit up straight and take your pills, there's a good boy  ..."

Heaven knows, this fallen world is full of different forms of abuse, all of them reprehensible. But the ruthless infantilisation of us, the defenceless elderly, is well up among the front runners.


philipjohnson said...

Fr i would join you for a pint of Beamish when they let us out of bondage!

Richard said...

Even worse than huggers, love proclaimers. "I love you, mummy/daddy/ auntie/uncle."

I'm with Cordelia - I cannot heave my heart into my mouth.

frjustin said...

The huggophile crowd is not limited to semi-educated journalists. It apparently includes at least one episcopal eminence of dubious taste. Years ago, while driving behind what I presume was an episcopal vehicle, I saw a sign on the back which read, "Have you hugged your bishop today?" I am afraid my vocal response would not be appropriate for a liturgical blog.

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

Euge, euge!

Pelerin said...

Sorry to disagree but hugs are what I have missed most from family and friends this year. I have not seen any of my grandchildren and long to hug them. Not having touched another human being for almost a year is painful if one is living on ones own.

John Patrick said...

Actually we are all being infantilized by the substitution of emotion for thought, too much thought being considered double-plus-ungood by the Authorities, move along now, nothing to see, just trust us because Science, you know. Just sit back and watch the TV commercials/adverts with the nice multiracial-ethnic-multigendered families all hugging each other while sharing diabetes inducing soft drinks.

Actually us elderly are supposed to opt for "death with dignity" as soon as our frailty becomes manifest and our societal usefulness is over, thereby decreasing the surplus population and reducing "wasteful" health care and pension expenses.

Arthur Gallagher said...

I am not one for hugs myself, but the absurd restrictions imposed by the China Virus lockdown has deprived me of company.

I miss saying hello to the secretaries and receptionist at my office as I walk in the door, morning news from the most senior of the attorneys there, my walk to the court house, my coffee in the bar association, and seeing the regulars in the library, and all the people that I meet along the way, and all of my colleagues who, like me have business before the court.

I miss the shouts from people I know on my way to the commuter train, policemen,shop assistants, and neighborhood folks, and the friendly regulars on the early train home.

I missed seeing cousins and aunts and family in-laws at thanksgiving, and was very pleased to find my cousin's husband unexpectedly turning up on my doorstep with a large turkey dinner wrappped in tinfoil.

My mind is getting weak, and working at home is impossible.

All of these misfortunes are imposed on me by a government medical establishment that has ignored the science and done a great deal to hasten many of my friends and colleagues into the grave.

Oliver Nicholson said...

"very real". Verily ?

Zephyrinus said...

Dear Reverend Fr Hunwicke. You have encapsulated everything that I would/could say about your subject matter. A marvellous tour-de-force. Thank You.

My solution ? I was/am so upset and angry with the Meeja, and its cohorts and apparatchiks, that, a few years ago, I took the Ultimate Sanction and “cancelled my recurring TV Licence Fee”. To date, I have saved myself about £1,000 and given myself freedom to do many, many, other things of worth.

In addition, when Auntie Beeb and her less-than-well-educated Meeja chappies/chappesses come on the Wireless, I TURN IT OFF.

Result ? Lovely silence, bereft of illiterate interruptions and aggravation, and a massive saving of loads of dosh.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. Kudos on a great post.

As to the LIARs (Low Information Activist Readers) it does a body well to remember that they can not get and hold their positions unless they go along with the thoughtless sloganeering they are expected to read to their listeners.

Oncet, Late Night Comedy in America was fun - Johnny Carson, the early David Letterman,etc - but unless one is an addled activist (Stephen Colbert for instance) of the extreme left, one does not get a late night gig.

Folks ought to remind themselves that those who describe themselves as journalists are not as professional as a Hair Salon worker.

A Salon owner/employee has to go complete a series of acredited courses and receive a license and be subject to fines/termination/license loss by regional boards.

A journalist is not licensed, is likely a former campaign operative for a liberal, and is not subject to any fine - only an increase in salary and status- when they lie to the public.

fitzhamilton said...

I'm not quite sure I'd dismiss you as defenseless yet, Father. The mind and tongue precede the sword, directing its power. Almost all struggles between men are over far before anyone maims or kills anyone. Your mind and tongue are both quite sharp.

I imagine that I am thirty or so years younger than you, and if we were in a boxing ring I'd probably quickly beat you.. But that's nearly immaterial to our circumstance isn't it? If there were to be any conflict between us, I'd guess that on the abstract level (prior to specifying any particulars to what is an almost unimaginable hypothetical) that you hold significantly more power and cards than I do..

To put it bluntly in our 'Murkin idiom: I would never want to screw with you, Father.. Not even now, you nearing your dotage.

We live in an oligarchic gerontocracy for this reason. Youth has been ironically idolized in deliberate fashion just as we approach gnostic transcendence, because the true god of this age is agelessness. The youth are being conditioned ("educated") according to the occulted agenda of their elders, just as they always have.. Which explains their (our) docility before the ruling order.

The sole rational reason those COVID rules you mention exist is to protect you, your generation. Not mine, my children's and your grandchildren's. You've got all us little ones firm by our cojones, Father. Please don't squeeze us too hard..

Greyman 82 said...

I've always been averse to hugs: when I was a small child I used to push my mother away and refuse to co-operate when she tried to embrace me! The Covid-1984 so-called crisis has given me the perfect excuse to avoid hugs and kisses. I have particularly appreciated being able to avoid the handshake (and more) of peace at Mass, and was glad to be able to avoid any consolatory hugs from well-meaning relations at my mother's funeral back in June this year.

Bryan P said...

I am shocked to learn that you have a TV.