Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Generation F*cked: How Britain is Eating Its Young

“According to the Unicef report, which measured 40 indicators of quality of life – including the strength of relationships with friends and family, educational achievements and personal aspirations, and exposure to drinking, drug taking and other risky behaviour – British children have the most miserable upbringing in the developed world. American children come next, second from the bottom… The downward spiral of our progeny has been done to death in glorious tabloid Technicolor, but rather than dwelling on the carnage in order to understand our own part in this tragedy, we’ve instead moved to the role of cynical observer. Now we are busily examining the new life that has emerged from the wreckage: the Chav, Britain’s very own white trash… the label is thought to derive from ‘charva’ – the Roma word for child… Mocked for their expanding waistlines, plummeting vocabularies, ‘Croydon facelift’ hairstyles, and a slavish devotion to gold jewellery and knocked-off Burberry sportswear, Chavs have become figures of chortlingly ironic ridicule by the media. But only from a distance. Because make no mistake, these most marginalised of children are neither poor nor noble savages. They throw dogs from bridges in front of trains. They beat fathers into comas to make mobile phone videos for YouTube. They are every bit as unpleasant as they are damaged… Chavs are the foot soldiers of corporate consumerism… They own expensive sports gear, expensive mobiles, watch Murdoch satellite channels on large flatscreen TVs, and aspire to a souped-up motor with a massive stereo system. They are not so much poor as culturally and imaginatively impoverished, because the main characteristic of Chavs is not social class but an utter lack of hope… That Chavs seek the more crass and vulgar ostentations of material wealth is just a refection having been colonized by consumer capitalism. The Chavs are Thatcher’s revenge.” [Adbusters]


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