Saturday, September 17, 2005

The new reformation

Lots of significant things are happening in the world. Iraq is a nightmare of murderous/suicidal mayhem - poor labourers being massacred as they prepare for work, worshippers slaughtered as they leave their mosques...
New Orleans is a sewer and Ophelia is threatening New England. Mark Latham is the toyboy of the rightist media because he is slagging off against his former colleagues in Labor. It's all a mess.
And I am stuck upon a word.
That word, which once had positive implications, has become a word of absolute and disasterous negativity. It is the spin word of the economic rationalists. The spin word of ruthless and destructive politicians. Today's reform is job loss. Today's reform is tax burdens. The moment the word reform is used, the news is bad.
When I was a girl, bad children were sent to reformatories - and reform was frightening, although it was meant as a word to make things better. But it was a punishment. Perhaps it is the boys of those reformatories who now have mutilated the word.
For sure as hell, any reform today is going to punish us.

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