Is it me or are we getting dumber? Do the powers that be believe that we are so stupid that we need to be protected from any possible risk of harm, that our brains are not capable of distinguishing reality from imitation, or is it just that ignorant people have greater access to the media these days and people do need greater protection?
Everywhere that you go now there is a proliferation of signs warning you of things, highlighting the obvious, removing any possible doubt that could have crept into your mind and really diluting any sense of self-choice in life. In our nannying culture we have been emasculated by the cult of the warning sign and the disclaimer.
It’s not a new phenomenon, it’s just been getting worse latterly either because of the threat of litigation or because we are indeed becoming more stupid. A couple of examples on television have recently reminded me of how bad we have become.
The first I saw was on a programme about the American civil war in which a meeting of the army generals was portrayed. I forget which side they were on but this is not important to the tale. As the generals gathered around a table, pointing at a collection of maps, the word reconstruction appeared in the bottom left hand corner of the screen. Can we really not work out that in the 1860s there was no such thing as the motion picture, they didn’t come for another twenty years, let alone in colour with sound and in high definition?
The second was a programme about the Voyager unmanned space probes. The (moving) picture showed Voyager 1 passing by the outer planets on its way to interstellar space and immortality. Once again a word appeared in the bottom left hand corner of the screen only this time it said simulation. Does anyone really believe that a second space probe was sent up with the sole purpose of filming the first probe and beaming the said images back to earth?
I accept that we need to informed and not misled, I accept that there are real dangers out there that we need to be protected from but the over-use of warning signs and disclaimers does nothing but water down any effect that they were supposed to have.
In the spirit of good will and ensuring the health and welfare of my fellow mankind, however, I attach a handy guide to safety warnings:
Things that are meant to be hot can be hot. This includes kettles, pans, ovens, heaters, cups of coffee etc.
Things that are attached to an electric circuit may electrocute you such as, toasters, light bulbs, televisions, vacuum cleaners etc.
Things with moving parts may hurt you including, fans, food processors, shredders, engines, mangles etc.
If you are up high then there is a risk that you might fall to somewhere lower. This can include working on a roof, being up a ladder, standing at the edge of a cliff, leaning out of a window etc.
Please note, stay safe and use your own mind to keep up with reality.