Family Planet

The strange Family designator is by no means confined to religious organisations. The strange Family designator is by no means confined to religious organisations. The American for “general practitioner” is “family physician”. I expect that Americans are so used to that term that they fail to notice how peculiar it really is. A British person without a family may even ask himself whether he is supposed to go to the family physician or seek out another kind.

A Wikipedia definition reads as follows: “A family physician is board-certified in family medicine. Training is focused on treating an individual throughout all of his or her life stages. Family physicians will see anyone with any problem, but are experts in common problems. Many family physicians deliver babies as well as taking care of patients of all ages. Family physicians complete undergraduate school, medical school, and three more years of specialized medical residency training in Family Medicine.”

This pushes the peculiarity from the practitioner to the discipline. What is “family medicine”? It might look as if it means doctoring families, but let us note that the word “many” implies that you can be a “family physician” who refuses to deliver babies; which rather spoils that impression. The page for “family medicine” reads: “the aim of family medicine is to provide personal, comprehensive and continuing care for the individual in the context of the family and the community” and goes on to note that the European term emphasises the general nature of the discipline rather than its roots in the family.

Another way of putting it would be to note that the Americans have taken the emphasis on general medicine and gratuitously rewritten it in terms of families – as if the individual and the family member are the same thing. But this is not the case. Why should it be necessary, or perhaps even only possible, to care for the individual in the context of the family that he or she may not have – or even want?

So too in the corporate world. A Microsoft director once proudly announced: “Families all over the world have tested (Vista).” One wonders whether single people were also allowed to test it. Perhaps that is why it was so astonishingly slow; the testers were all changing diapers, cleaning spills and separating fighting children while an application was loading, and so never noticed the speed. This is a paradox, because, had our ancestors believed in Hollywood family-values orthodoxy, they would have spent quality time with their wife and kids instead of discovering fire and the wheel, much less the computer.

Writes the FCC, in the summer of 2006: “Millions of parents, as well as Congress, understand what CBS does not: Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ was indeed indecent.” Oh, so the arbiters of public morality are two in number: parents, and Congress. The opinion of non-parents carries no weight. This provokes the question: Do non-parents matter even when they are also Senators and Representatives? And what is the separation of powers within this moral government; who has the veto, and can Congress impeach a sitting parent? Enquiring minds want to know.

Posted on February 23, 2010 at 10:37 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: THE LONGEST CON, 'Family Values'

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  1. Written by Infidel753
    on February 23, 2010 at 17:41
    Permalink

    the arbiters of public morality are two in number: parents, and Congress.

    That’s the most frightening thought I’ve seen in quite a while.

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