New Internationalist

Eleven ways to leave your Mummy and Daddy

Issue 405

ONE Never vote for, patronize, do business with or be pleasant to anyone who uses the words ‘ordinary people’. The invariable assumptions are a) that they, my dear, are far from ordinary and b) the ordinary people are infants, fools, gulls and fodder.

TWO Never do business with a company offering ‘solutions’. It is a pernicious weasel word not just because it is pompous and self-aggrandizing but also because it is telling us that we have a problem. As grown-ups, we should decide that.

THREE Mistrust anything catchy whether it’s the Axis of Evil, advertising slogans or blatant branding. Catchiness exists to prevent thought and disguise motives. Grown-ups can think for themselves.

FOUR Ignore celebrities, except when they are doing what they are celebrated for doing: acting, playing sports, singing etc.

FIVE Don’t assume that market forces will decide wisely. The market is rigged by manipulation and infantilization.

SIX Suspect administration. Its purpose is to free the organization to do what it is meant to do… but many organizations believe that what they are meant to do is to administer themselves. Only the infantile believe that the world is there for them.

SEVEN Do not love yourself unconditionally. Unconditional love is for babies and comes from their mothers. When we try to love ourselves unconditionally we go in for self-aggrandizing – like Paul Wolfowitz or Tony Blair – and end up with quite a babyish sense of entitlement.

EIGHT Ignore fashion, particularly in clothes and music.

NINE We should distrust those who believe they have found Jesus Christ. Can they prove it? Otherwise they are just describing an imaginary friend, of which there is nothing more infantile.

TEN Don’t fear seriousness. Babies aren’t allowed to be serious and the infantilized adolescents confuse it with po-faced solemnity. Big babies are often earnest about trivia, but not serious things. Far better to make jokes about important things – a good way of being serious.

ELEVEN Hide. Grown-ups are not required to be perpetually accountable, while the instinct of those two great infantilizers, Government and Big Business, is to keep an eye on everyone all the time.

Paraphrased, with thanks to Michael Bywater, author of Big Babies or Why can’t we just grow up? Granta Books, London 2006.

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