“They talk to us as if we were simpletons. Maybe we are


Cavanman’s Diary

A year and four months have passed since the day I grabbed a few seconds of Liveline on RTE Radio 1 and Joe Duffy came out with something that nearly took me over the ditch.

Now, Liveline is a show I very rarely listen to – never, in fact, if I can help it. I find it completely unbearable, a succession of attentions and offenders, strident and permanently outraged at nothing else to do (unlike this columnist, of course!).

Add the condescending tone of the host to the mix and there really is no show quite like a Joe show. Fortunately.

Anyway, on this particular day in April 2021, I happened to capture a few seconds of it. I was driving, flipping through the channels, when Joe invaded my eardrums.

Duffy would end a segment and encourage more of his primary target market – the busy and the disoriented – to ring.

“Contact us, wash your hands, on 1850 715 815,” he said.

For a moment I thought there had been some kind of interference on the frequency, but no, it turns out he really said that – and upon further investigation I discovered that it was something he said a little. An intelligent adult would surely deduce that the repetition of a statement nausea would result in losing its impact but, of course, it wasn’t about getting people to wash their hands. It was about being seen to tell people to do it.

It’s always been there, this desire to project a certain image, whether it’s in terms of godliness or otherwise, but I think in the age of social media it’s amplified.

Social media, however, is not real. Life doesn’t play out in 180-character, succinctly scripted acts designed generally to project a flattering poster image, one that probably bears little resemblance to the real thing. Who would take note of this stuff?

Unfortunately, many people do. Society has gone mad. Our focus spans have shortened and many people’s reading has been reduced to easy hashtags and emojis.

The messaging from above reflects this; they talk to us as if we were simpletons. Maybe we are.

Over the past two years, for example, we’ve been repeatedly told to “stay safe,” a phrase so dumb it was insulting. Yet he was relentlessly harassed, to what end, who knows. Some wanted to put themselves in a good light; others just repeated it because they heard everyone say it.

Now think back to Joe Duffy, that highly regarded on-air ally of the oppressed, and his nursery rhyme about handwashing. Did you spot a pattern?

We are spoken to and seen as something akin to toddlers. You do not believe me ? Watch how the weather, the biggest topic of conversation in the country, is reported these days. This is particularly relevant given the unusually warm temperatures we have enjoyed over the past two weeks.

There are no longer any weather events of any kind that are not flagged as a potential doomsday scenario. Sunday morning, in the same article, Independent.ie noted that measures had been put in place to “keep the water flowing” in taps and also that widespread torrential rain and potential flooding were on the way. What about, should we dry out with thirst or drown? In the hysteria, did it really matter?

It has also been noticed lately how weather records are “broken”, not broken, how the 30 degree mark is “broken”, like a perilous raid on a bank vault, and not exceeded or exceeded. Even the little digital graphics on the TV, which used to show cartoonish suns, are now replaced by spooky heatmaps, with fiery red being the dominant color.

We’re told to watch out for old people, most of whom have more sense than young people anyway. We are warned to protect our pets as if any responsible person would abuse an animal – and anyone who does so will not be deterred by a corny slogan on the internet or on TV.

The jargon used in relation to the weather has become almost militaristic. Simultaneously on Sunday, orange-status thunderstorm, yellow-status high temperature and orange-status forest fire warnings were put in place. The media swallows it, as do politicians; who can forget the Taoiseach standing flanked by high-ranking gardaí and army officers while addressing the nation in the face of high winds a few years ago, in a show of pageantry that was both absurd and hilarious .

Each storm now has a name, which makes things more convenient for title writers. The country finds itself whipped into a frenzy every winter – witness the ridiculous run for bread a few years ago – as we batten down the hatches and close the schools whenever there is a heavy snowfall or a dark night. gusts.

All the while, officials will tell us to be careful, to exercise caution. Refrain, for example, from trampolining at the top of Carrauntoohil.

The tendency to “bashing” has been greatly exacerbated during the pandemic. Last summer, during the heat wave, an article in the irish time began with the following: “State Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan said people should go outside this week to reduce exposure to Covid-19, but also to take advantage of the weather.

“However, he warned it was ‘important to do this in the safest way possible’.”

Dr. Holohan then advised people – I’m not making this up – to wear sunscreen, not to wear tight clothes and, most revolutionary of all, to stay cool and hydrated.

Fast forward 12 months and into the Irish Examiner last week it was advised: ‘People should contact their GP or hospital emergency department if they feel unwell and especially if they have signs of severe dehydration requiring urgent care’ , said the HSE.

Well, the adults have spoken. You could cut out the following lines and stick them on your refrigerator (be careful with the scissors): If you need urgent medical attention, call a doctor.

If you are too hot, drink a glass of water. If you’re too cold, put on a coat.

But for God’s sake, stay safe.


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