Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The oblivious class

I don't really like to talk about people in terms of class.

Australia often likes to pride itself as being a 'classless' society - two minutes on either side of the fence, and you yourself will quickly discover that there is at least a disparity between the lower and upper classes.

The truth is, is that Australians love, and perhaps cannot even help themselves, to distance themselves from the classes beneath them. It's almost a carryover from our British heritage.

The television shows that frequent commercial television exploit this. They encourage the status-seeking Australian to aspire to bigger things; to be a singer, for example. But when did you last hear them mention what's her name that won the last big singing game show thing... The Voice, was it? That disappeared fairly quickly.

Oh, I don't know.

But yes folks, I'm here to talk about the oblivious classes. Who are the oblivious classes?

Well as the name suggests, they're the people that are completely tuned out from political discussion, or even the general news.

They're busy with their lives; busy with raising a family; busy with work, and busy with making sure enough food is on the table to feed their family.

So you may very well surmise correctly - they are everyday Australians.

They can afford little if anything attention to the general political discussion that our chattering classes can avail to concern themselves with.

And that's who I would like to contrast this class with - the chattering classes.

The chattering classes are those who are locked onto ABC Canberra all day; not 2Day FM, or any other of the myriad of commercial radio stations that the oblivious class is listening to as they hurry to work along our congested arterial roads, forever worrying if they will make it on time to keep their employment.

They are too full at the brim of the glass to worry about political discussion.

The commercial radio may well tell them that the carbon tax is bad, that Julia Gillard is bad, that anything is bad, but they don't have the luxury of time, or even the drive to look into the matter further.

Which is sort of a double edged sword.

Our politicians here in Australia absolutely thrive on the soundbite grab - a tiny 10 second snippet that might make the evening news, either on television or radio, that might have an inkling of a chance to reach the ears of the oblivious class.

They play to the audience, and the capacity for discussion is greatly reduced by this aim for the 10 second soundbite.

"Stop the boats," may be one, for instance.

You're there, in your overheating automobile, rushing home from work to make sure the kids aren't going all Cory Worthington on you, and holding a sexual orgy back home in your absence.

What time do you have to worry about issues? None. You have no time, but God damn it, if someone on a boat is going to get something you might miss out on while busting your hump, you might damn well want to hear about it, even if it is only 10 seconds worth.

And so that forms the basis of your opinion.

So perhaps the chattering classes need to look beyond themselves - the oblivious classes make up most of the popultion, and they're opinion deserves to be paid attention to, or at least be swayed.

The majority rules.

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