Saturday, September 16, 2006

Shallow Questions...a shallow culture?

Brew of the Day ~ Pukka’s Ginger & Lemongrass Tea, for clarity.

Ok, so here it is. I spend most of my days with my back firmly facing towards humanity. The craziness of what we’re doing to each other, to ourselves, to the planet has me shaking my head and walking away.

Cursed as I am with a curiosity that courses deep in my veins, I tend to look back over my shoulder from time to time to see if ‘we’ have learnt anything. And then, before I know it, I find myself walking back into the melting pot wanting to do something, ANYTHING, that might help to bring some answers.

I’m realising though, that perhaps my role in life isn’t to offer answers, but to encourage others to ask questions?! Not helpful, when one’s inclination is towards being a hermit.

Two things happened this week to bring home to me the lack of in-depth questioning which happens in our so called ‘intelligent’ culture.

Firstly, I was a signatory to a 110 name-strong letter/petition to our ‘culture’ against the toxicity of childhood. It was printed in the Daily Telegraph (which will now be taking it on as a campaign) and the basis of a front page article and an editorial! Waheeeeeeeeeeeee. Or so I thought!

It certainly got people talking. To my disappointment though, the questioning by all the journalists I heard on this important topic was so shallow I was left putting my shoes on ready to walk away again.

During a TV interview and also a radio interview, the issue was trivialised and dismissed by the journalists and guests, as if the signatories were just a bunch of middle-class liberals with nothing better to do. Huh??? Because OF COURSE today’s kids are so well off. Can’t us Muesli Knitters see that? Their lives are better than kids lives have ever been...and wow, isn’t it GREAT that they have mobile phones so mummy and daddy know where they are all the time! Why doesn’t any journalist ask the obvious questions like, “WHY is junk food not ideal for growing bodies? Why is breast better than formula? What advantages are there of feeding a child till they self-wean? What harm do mobile phones do? How does watching six hours of television (or computer) a day limit creativity/use of imagination?! Why is it better for a child to be raised by a loving parent rather than a DVD?!”

AND THEN, if we ever get a journalist able to think outside the box a wee bit, hopefully they’ll have the respect to allow their guests to answer the questions! What came through loud and clear in the interviewing, was how defensive the journalists were about the points raised in the Daily Telegraph. Their reaction was not unlike that of a grandmother who had bottle-fed her own children when confronted by the obvious multifarious benefits of breastfeeding would have for her grandchildren.

People just don’t *get* what our techno-culture, junk-food diets and lack of quality family time are doing to children. I’ll happily keep my kids as part of a *controlled experiment* against Toxic Childhood and all its insidious and life-depleting consequences.

Here’s an irony. My kids aren’t journalists, but their daily questions on life are so in-depth (possibly because they’ve not been raised on mind-numbing tv) that they could be giving courses to the new breed of tv and radio ‘personalities’.

I was invited to go on a new tv show, called Real Lives, which will air in November on ITV. Filmed in front of a studio audience, I came home realising that I didn’t actually get to say anything *intelligent* that would help to open people’s eyes to the biological and anthropological NORM of full-term breastfeeding. WHY? Because of the shallow questioning! For example, some macho Latino guy in the audience said to me, “Is it true that your breasts get bigger when you’re breastfeeding?”

“er, yeah”


I assured Mr 4 foot-nothing Macho Man that I’d have been quite happy with an A cup! Seriously though, where can you even go with such questioning, especially when the camera is off searching for an equally useless question.

I’m realising that, as frustrating as it is for me to spend 8 hours in train travel and umpteen hours hanging about London for just 15 minutes air time, that despite all the shallow questions, what IS happening is that for each tv or radio interview I do, at some level I (and other women/men like me) am slowly (painfully slowly) chipping away at our culture’s judgements, insecurities and phobias about breastfeeding and more soulful living and lifestyle choices.

But I don’t want to chip away!!!!!! I want a massive bloody bulldozer and to clear a path which will allow broadcasters and tv presenters to ask in-depth questions and for them to not be scared of the answers, or to be protecting their audience from having their brains stretched. You see, once we open to and accept a new idea, there simply is no turning back. A person can’t ‘unstretch’. What do you have to do to get your own tv show? Thing is, our culture doesn’t DEMAND intelligent broadcasting. It wants car crash tv because it has been so desensitised by its own technology and food processing choices.

It is said that when 20% of a culture has taken on a view, then it becomes a society ‘norm’. A critical mass. This gives me hope.

That means, even for my shite maths, only 1 in 5 people need to embrace a more expansive, holistic view for it to be accepted as the done thing. Isn’t that so empowering to know we don’t have to have everyone on board? Clearly I’m a see the glass half-full, rather than empty, sorta girl!!

Things are changing in our culture. Others are chipping away too. I had a couple of nice surprises this week. At Dublin airport there was an amazing juice and smoothie bar ~ so many fresh juices and juice combinations to choose from. And at Euston station is the Camden Food Co. ~ an organic and fair trade take-away with fresh juices, smoothies, fruit, dried fruits, nuts and healthy sandwiches.

A few years ago businesses like these would have had difficulty surviving. The time is right now. If people are starting to make the connection with their food choices, then hopefully they’ll make the connection with what they’re putting into the minds, hearts and souls of their children.

At the moment, however, most of our culture’s children are having their soul murdered in the toxic landscape we’ve collectively created or ‘allowed’ to happen. Speak up, and don’t be afraid to ask deep questions. Ever.


Star Khechara said...

You say it how it is syster!!! Go girl! Am utterly shocked by peoples apathy and unwillingness to go against the social norm. I guess we need to start puttin rockets under peoples backsides eh!!
It's a chilling and bleak future for us all if people don't take care of the needs of our next generation eh.
Why can't sky tv do a holistic lifestyle channel? afterall they've got several channels of absolute crap. Blimey would it hurt them to bung in somet decent.
Love as always
xxxx star

mardi_k said...

Hi Veronika, my name is Mardi and I was wondering if you could contact me about your blog from this week, nothing sinister. my email address is

mighty acorns said...

hello veronika. have just subscribed to Mother via i also have a confession. i have taken some of the editorial you wrote and forwarded it on to friends....wonder if it will ever make it round the world. now titled 'stuff the mushroom' i felt obliged to remind my nearest and dearest to slow down!!!! i am considered a bit 'out there' by many...(thought for another day - what exactly is 'alternative' - me or them???)

Veronika said...

gosh, imagine that? Stuff a mushroom being emailed around the world :-))

kate parker said...

Hi Veronika,
As you say it only needs 1 in 5 of us to take on an expansive and holistic lifestyle to make a difference. In fact, the more we just focus on making our own individual life and the lives of our children more loving, respectful and nurturing, the more I believe this will have an overall impact on all of us who share this beautiful planet! Well done for making people aware that there is another way ....
Love kate xxx