Monday, 2 June 2014

Community Disservice


After a number of disaffected Marks and Spencer’s shareholders apprehended in the women’s wear department were found to be carrying packets of chili powder, members of the M&S-knicker-wearing community were advised to exercise caution, especially if they were also members of the bicycle-riding community.

House-to-house checks by Social Services as part of a scheme to eradicate solitude and privacy are causing concern in the Hermit Community.

Not long ago a wooden-headed moral imbecile ‘rose’, if that’s the word, to become Prime Minister of my home country. Fair enough: given a certain level of democracy people get the Prime Ministers they deserve. Notoriously, she informed us that ‘There is no such thing as Society’ and then proceeded to destroy all evidence to the contrary. One of the many resulting cruelties was the closure of the big old Victorian Asyla, which, for all their faults, were the only homes thousands of helpless people had ever known. What was to become of these people? ‘Society’ couldn’t look after them because it didn’t exist any more.

‘Community’ drifted into the cavernous hollow of her mind. The word of course, not the thing, which has less existence than society does. That was it, yes! They would be cared for in the ‘Community’! Since then, entirely imaginary ‘communities’ have proliferated in all directions. The word has lost all meaning, except perhaps the highly abstract one of ‘Any group of people, regardless of its members’ actual social relationships, that can be defined by one or more common characteristics.’ Thus a Scotsman, an Israeli, and a jungle villager in North Borneo are now fellow-members of a ‘community’ because all three happen to have, for example, red hair.

Those of us who thought we knew what ‘community’ meant will have to find a new word.

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