The real meaning of normal

One of the most absurd words to hit the vernacular in recent times is "normalise".

Does anyone really know what it means?  To make normal?  How can you make something "normal", or for that matter "not normal"?

It is one of the great words so beloved of the Puritans.  Just when they think they have somehow "denormalised" something they start worrying that it will somehow become "normalised" again.

We have seen this with e-cigarettes.  Somehow in that strange world of the Nanny State the sight of someone putting something to their mouths and emitting a cloud of vapour is supposed to "normalise" smoking.  Presumably normal breath vapour on a cold day will also "normalise" smoking in some strange surreal way?

I came across a classic one today [H/T @Dick_Puddlecote on Twitter].

Discount chain sparks fury for 'tempting children to alcohol' with Frozen themed champagne-style drink.

Now this is a normal non-alcoholic drink which is designed to appeal to children.  Nothing wrong with that?  But the Puritans are up in arms and screaming righteous indignation.

Why?

Because the bottles are corked and "shaped like champagne bottles" they somehow "normalise" drinking alcohol!

Bottle of pop

What.  The.  Fuck?

Kids are going to take one swig out of their new bottle and immediately have a hankering to go out and buy a bottle of Dom Perignon White Gold for a few thousand yoyos?

Do these [extremely] sad people really go through life examining objects to see if they resemble something else?  Are they going to raise their hands in horror at the sight of a candle because it may resemble a stick of dynamite and therefore might "normalise" terrorism?  Will the sight of a length of rope "normalise" suicide by hanging?

Personally I think the bottles concerned look like pins and so might "normalise" ten pin bowling.  Shock, horror!

Of course what the Puritans really mean by "normal" is "acceptable".  

The Puritans have this vision of a future world  where they have laid out the Path of Righteousness.  In that world, they have determined that some things are acceptable and some things aren't.  Naturally smoking, alcohol and fast-food are unacceptable and anything that remotely resembles any of them must be scorched from the face of the planet.

Any item or lifestyle which meets with their disapproval must be eradicated.  Photoshop Gurus will have a field day air-brushing cigarettes cigars and pipes from historical photographs.  Any film which glamorises smoking [i.e a non-approved activity] must be burned.  All paintings of portly people must be destroyed.  In this Brave New World we must only live approved lifestyles with no hint of times past.  Nothing must remind us of The Bad Old Days when we actually had the temerity to enjoy life.

In the future there will be no Right or Wrong.

There will only be Acceptable or Unacceptable.

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Comments

The real meaning of normal — 18 Comments

    • Heh!  I do indeed relate.  The problem is that we are all singing the same tune again and again over the years so there is inevitably going to be repetition of themes.  I suppose if we all keep hammering the same point maybe, just maybe a few will have their eyes opened?

      • Grandad,

        I guess we were lucky and grew up without these puritans. I'm sure they were there but usually restricted to 'that miserable old sod at number 45.' Then they got together and discovered there was free money to be had via funding, just to be annoyed by something. Anything.

  1. It really is fucking pathetic, is it not? You would honestly think they'd have better things to do. Obviously their lives are so devoid of meaning that they feel the need to interfere in other peoples lives to try and bring them down to the same level.

    I'm repeating myself here, but I really do despair.

    Just….why???? Why do they do it?

    • The case of the Frozen bottles is so far off the wall that I'm beginning to think it must all be an advertising gimmick?  Ask 1000 kids what they think of when they see that bottle and I will stake my life that 1000 will say the film, and that not one will mention champagne.  The trouble is that the Puritans are so fucking insane that it is very hard to distinguish fact from fiction these days.

  2. "Sure as I know anything, I know this – they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They'll swing back to the belief that they can make, people… better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin'. I aim to misbehave. "
    – Nathan Fillion 'Capt. Malcom Reynolds', Serenity, 2005

    Some believe this to be fiction, others understand the essential truth of it.

    Knock, knock, Neo.

    • Welcome Bruce!  Close to my philosophy – The more they push, the more I will resist.  I will be damned if anyone is going to tell me how to live my life.

    • An excellent quote and a fine series was Firefly (and the movie). And Fox, being the "puritans" that they are, canceled it "out-of-hand" due to the series coming a bit too close to reality as far as we humans and human society goes. In fact the series pretty much nailed it.

  3. I'm not sure there's anything 'normal' about puritans. In my experience they are the kind of freaks and oddballs no responsible adult would allow within 100 metres of a child or vulnerable person.

      • I guess I won't be seeing you there for a natter over a bevy, then?

        It's obviously aimed at the 'My-Body-is-a-Temple' crowd. Trouble is, as Mac so astutely points out, we only get one life; and although at the beginning it seems to stretch out endlessly. when you get to our end, you realise how brief a spell it really is.

        I'm really glad I've had a life of hedonistic mayhem. It may have been tricky at times, but by Jove, it was never boring!

        Je ne regrette rien!

        'I live the life I love, and I love the life I live'.

  4. They do it because they are otherwise pathetic individuals.  Being part of a group that can boss others around appeals because someone 'loves' them for doing 'it'.  I don't think they care about 'it' one way or another – it is just a job, an income stream, or simply something to do with a purpose.

    Oh, and I met a real life confabulist two weeks ago, he has made some friends of mine's lives a misery these past few months.  Now, these are dangerous people…

    • Welcome MWaPW!  What is the betting that these are the kids who were bullied in school and have lived with a burden of inadequacy ever since.  The only way they can get a sense of power is to bully others and get a nice income into the bargain.  Not nice people, and as you say – dangerous.

      • Yes – thanks.  Its been a while – three years or more since I regularly commented on blogs under the moniker of "Man With a Polish Wife" when work took over.  I became a teacher a couple "of years before that as a second 'career' –  it is so time consuming and stressful (for all the reasons you read about), I really don't know why I am doing it, other than my wife is also a teacher and one of our children is still at school now so we can have (well needed) holidays together – as we are now.  Yesterday, we visited the birthplace of Victor Hugo, tomorrow that of Karl Marx, and err, I hasten to add that we didn't know this when we booked some interesting old cities to visit en route home from our skiing holiday.  

        Being a Welsh Celt, I have always had an affinity for the Emerald Isle, and took in an Irish lodger when I first moved to London in the 80s.  The dearly departed Capt R was the source of me finding your blog.  I love your dry sense of humour which you keep moist in the best possible way.  Best wishes for 2016 and may you be blessed in your battles with bureaucracy.

        • I did have a couple of idle guesses as to the acronym [and was way out].  It would hve been easier if you had put MwaPW?

          I have been [briefly] a teacher myself in the past.  Thoroughly enjoyed it but it involved getting up at dark o'clock and traveling through the early rush hour across Dublin.  Not fun on a winter's morning.

          It is amazing how the Good Captain's influence lives on.  I still get a considerable number of visitors from his site nearly a year after his passing.  He is sorely missed.  Maybe he has achieved immortality?

        • "Yesterday, we visited the birthplace of Victor Hugo, tomorrow that of Karl Marx, and err, I hasten to add that we didn't know this…"

          Don't feel embarrassed about it… Hugo was probably more of a communist than Marx ever was, at least post 1850…

  5. Normalise, huh? Sounds like a bunch of "right-thinking" individuals versed in "right-think" and "good-speak". In other words, just a miserables bunch of clods who are out to do their very best to make everyone else as miserable as they are…or did you already say that?

    So what's normal?

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