As people might have noticed ... well, maybe not, actually, now that I come to think of it ... anyway, my point was I haven't been around much. And it's a pity, because my flist grew a good bit over the last month (mainly thanks to geoviki, or, one of those random bursts of rose-petal kitten-frolicking dancing-in-the-rain crazy-goodness that the universe throws at you to disguise the fact that it's a cruel bastard really). I really want to get to know everyone. I remember a few ... well, more than a few ... months ago, when I had about thirty people on my flist and I knew quite a lot of them really well. I scan my flist now, without filters, and it's like whoa, who are you? It's fun, though, in a stalkerish sort of way.
However, I have exams; and when there are people in your class getting 18/18 on flag tests where you got, erm ... quite a bit less than 18 ... study is imperative. However, I have Plans for 15th December, when they're over. 1) See GOF (again) 2) See Narnia (yes, on the same day) 3) Catch up on my flist! I mean hardcore! And continue to do so for at least the next two weeks of my holliers. Oh, and fics. Er, Big Bang? Er. Er.
Well, posting at two pm, no one's going to even read this entry (rightly so, reciprocating favours is what internets is all about ... life too). For my own satisfaction, I'm posting my second published article. Got a whole page to myself this time. Heh.
There are many good things to be said about the study of ethics. However, the multiple bad things -- the utter dishevelling boredom of the subject, for one -- often rule out any net gain from its study. However, if you wake up enough in lectures to take in more than one word (such as “Kant,” or “Mills,” or “Gosh, did you hear what he got up to last night?”), you may find that it can supply the answer to all of society’s problems! (The fact that so many people nowadays are hoes in the garden of life is, however, a social conundrum that would’ve given even Aristotle a migraine.)
Take utilitarianism. When you first squint at that word -- with a hangover strumming in your head in time to the cymbals of the all-out-placard-carrying-strike of your liver -- several epithets spring to mind, none of them strikingly complementary. After that, you may cogitate enough to suspect that ‘utilitarianism’ means something to do with Stalin, or with that natty new line in combat fashion clothing. (And you’d be right. Only, not really.)
Utilitarianism roughly means “The greatest good for the greatest number of people.” Aka “Go the majority, you rock this casbah!” In other words, when you’ve outlived your use to society, then you cease to matter to this brand of ethics. Ultimately, ethics aren’t all that ethical, in the same way that democracy isn’t all that democratic and dance music isn’t musical under any possible permutation of the word.
One American statesman, who shall remain nameless because I can’t remember his name, even went as far as deciding, in public, to remove funding from people aged over sixty in his state. This was because, basically, he wanted to trade them in for newer models and no shops would accept them back without a receipt and he got a leetle annoyed. (That was the nub and gist of it, anyway.) However disgusting (or laudatory) you find his policies, there’s no denying that ‘The older person in society’ is an issue that’s becoming more prevalent, as the percentage of over sixties in the population increases. In Germany, for example, the number of people drawing pensions will soon far outweigh the number of people paying the taxes that supply the pensions.
This is where your basic ethic can have real, honest-to-God practical applications. Obviously, the ‘use to society’ of, say, a twenty-year-old nurse or a thirty-year-old builder -- or even a forty-year-old lecturer -- is technically far greater than that of a sixty- or seventy-year-old whose working life has drawn to a close. Therefore, under utilitarian ethics, improving their worth to society means changing a few things. This can be achieved in any number of simple and easy steps, which come under the general heading of: “Power to the (old) People!”
1. Old people are often the target for violence. To rectify this, the solution is not to divert resources into more police presence in areas where a large number of old people live. By utilitarian ethics, this is hardly the best solution for the ‘majority.’ Instead, old people should group together and collectively pool their Zimmer frames for use as an offensive arsenal. Next, they should recruit someone like James Bond to teach them how to use guns and weapons of mass destruction. Bond is ideal for this task, as he is about one hundred and twenty-four years old at this point; also, his enormous … experience in foiling mad men with white cats who want to take over the world will surely have provided him with some insight into how their nefarious weapons work. At the very least, one of his love-children has to be intelligent -- by the law of averages -- and may be prevailed upon to help. (Some of the Bond girls also came with brains (detachable), you see.)
2. It’s not in the best interest of the government to be forking out for free dental care for old people. Governments have far better things to be spending taxes on: education, roads and off-shore accounts spring to mind. However, there is a straightforward way out of this impasse. If old people took up the redundant post of tooth fairies, they could kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, they would gather enough real, fresh teeth to replace their own. Secondly, and more importantly for the good of society, they would scare the wits out of any poor child unfortunate to wake up and find a cat-burglar, who’s not getting any younger, hovering over their mouths with an avaricious expression. Thus, much future teenage delinquency and crime could be averted, and children would grow up with a healthy abject terror of their elders.
3. It is a medical fact that the older you get, the slower you move. This can be attributed to several factors, such as the degradation of hyaline articular cartilage between joints, the growing fragility of bones and the increasing immobility of viscera. Not to mention, a general attitude consisting of: “Things were better in the old days, when young people showed some respect and had less piercings and didn’t loaf about so much, and I possess a comprehensive realisation of exactly how annoying I’m being to everyone behind me in the queue, but watch me not caring! Muhaha!” However satisfying this attitude may be to the individual, the overall effect on society is one of most impressively detailed murderous impulses towards the old person involved. Ergo, old people must be sure to use their powers for good! They could form conglomerations around bus stops to encourage the adding of more routes. Alternatively, they could hog the bathroom in Merchant’s Quay until someone realises that having a single paid toilet for the whole arcade is showing a contempt for the ordinary decencies of human existence that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.
4. Start a fashion revolution! There is much latent chic potential festering behind the breast of your average blue-rinsed, tartan-clad senior citizen. They could truly show us how it’s done. Forget blonde streaks, low-cut tops and tight jeans (and that’s just the boys). What we really, really want is comfort before style, and for the ‘just fell out of bed’ look to mean that you just fell out of bed, and not that you spent five hours carefully cultivating a bed-head look and ironing crumples into your clothes. Not to mention that old people could be of immeasurable use to society in initiating the end of the Age of Stick-Thin Models. When you are sixty-five, being whip-thin is actually a bad thing; you start to understand the benefit of adipose tissue to protect you from easy bruising and haemorrhage. I can think of nothing more salaciously satisfying than sending Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell off to join Mischa Barton on a production line making sensible woolly vests, can you? Now that’s what’s really meant by ‘benefit to society.’ And trust me on the sunscreen.geoviki