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Rise of po-faced moralising?

(81 Posts)
geekesse Tue 28-Apr-20 21:20:02

I’ve been following threads here and discussions elsewhere, and I’m seeing something rather curious. Whilst we are all required by law, common sense and care for others to follow lockdown rules meticulously, some people are turning it into a kind of moral crusade against any kind of pleasure. A couple of examples:

— Some TV doctor has said people should not wash cars, even on their own properties and observing social distancing. Now, assuming cars are on people’s own property, and those washing are observing social distancing, what possible reason can there be for making it morally wrong?

— There have been many who seem to think that it’s better to insist people take daily exercise tramping the streets instead of walking round a local park or wood, even if both are accessible on foot. Again, assuming social distancing is rigorously observed, I can see no virtue in walking round dull surroundings instead of lovely ones.

I have this theory that the pandemic makes people feel powerless. So they are starting to apply an irrational and medieval kind of superstition in their thinking which goes something like this: the pandemic is some kind of ‘punishment’ and to make it go away, everybody has to suffer and deprive themselves of all sources of pleasure as a penance. If everyone suffers enough, the virus will be driven away. I’m fascinated to observe how many people who reject traditional religion seem to fall into this pattern of thinking.

Goodness knows, life is hard enough for those who are fearful, lonely and frightened. I’d like to see us all wishing everyone what joy they can squeeze out of life just now, as long as they don’t put themselves or anyone else at risk of infection, and as long as they remain within the law.

notanan2 Tue 28-Apr-20 21:32:12

Oh some people are LOVING the rules!

I feel sorry for the police getting calls about someone walking 190cms away from others!

lemongrove Tue 28-Apr-20 21:32:56

I think you may well be right geekesse
To add to that, there have been cases of naming and shaming
On FB and neighbourhood sites of somebody who didn’t take part in the clapping for the NHS.What next, pitchforks and
Ducking stools?
Common sense must be applied to social distancing, and driving for ten minutes to go for a woodland walk is far better than walking the local streets.

suziewoozie Tue 28-Apr-20 21:35:48

Well I clearly live in a different world - where on earth did you pick up these unsubstantiated incidents?

Grammaretto Tue 28-Apr-20 21:40:07

You did make me smile geekesse smile
I have been saying that it's OK to do almost anything as along as you don't look as if you are enjoying yourself. No fun. No sunbathing. No smiling or laughing.

let's hope it doesn't get more sinister than that. lemongrove

Hetty58 Tue 28-Apr-20 21:41:09

suziewoozie, unless geekesse comes back with sources, I think she imagined them. I never realised that washing a car was fun! I'm totally flummoxed and unaware of any criticism of park walkers/exercisers myself. It's a puzzle!

SueDonim Tue 28-Apr-20 21:42:42

I think this is what’s now called a ‘purity spiral’. There’s only way of doing things and anything else is just wrong. hmm

geekesse Tue 28-Apr-20 21:45:26

The car thing:

Other stuff - plenty of GN posts.

geekesse Tue 28-Apr-20 21:48:23

Hetty58, you have clearly never enjoyed the glint of sunshine on a newly waxed car, while you sit and sip a long G&T and stretch your aching arms. (Was on, wax off...)

SirChenjin Tue 28-Apr-20 21:50:33

The car washing thing was the idiot Dr Hilary - but where are the reports of the many people who insist others tramp the streets instead of walking round a local park providing its easily accessible by foot and you can keep 2m away from others? confused

Doodledog Tue 28-Apr-20 21:57:40

Hetty, just because you haven't seen something doesn't mean it's not happening, any more than geekesse having seen it proves that it has! grin.

The best (or worst) place for this sort of thing is local Facebook pages. Mine is a toxic place at best, where local busybodies like nothing better than to name and shame 'transgressors', and signal their own virtue from the highest towers. Since the virus, things have got even worse. I can't post sources, as it is a private group, but a couple of examples include a woman complaining that people 'who didn't need them' were 'taking' delivery slots for groceries. When it was all unpicked, it turned out that she had been unable to get one, despite never having used the service before, and was annoyed at her neighbour for carrying on as she had always shopped. The complainer had no idea about the circumstances of those using the service anyway. Without access to medical records, she couldn't possibly know whether people had underlying conditions, and neither could she know about other circumstances, such as access to a car for click and collect etc.

Another example is someone complaining about a woman who didn't go out to clap. The woman had her reasons, which are nobody's business but her own, but still, she was publicly called to account. It makes my blood boil, really - who do these moralists think they are? And why is 'their way' the only one that is 'morally right'?

The virus has made me realise just how easily a sinister government could get people to turn against one another, and how close we are to puritans with pillories for 'moral transgressors'.

Starblaze Tue 28-Apr-20 22:10:42

Wow that's such an interesting thought! I live in a village where a lot of extended families live and I see parents leaning over fences to talk to their kids all the time from some, and angry Facebook rants from others who also have seen that. Do people really expect people to stay in doors if they live next door to loved ones? If they aren't within 2 meters what is the problem? It's exhausting.

FarNorth Tue 28-Apr-20 22:18:16

I saw someone local to me asking on Facebook if they are allowed to wash their car or cut their grass.
Everyone said whyever not, as long as you are socially distanced.
I thought the person who asked was just being very nervous, but perhaps they had come across some of this ridiculous advice.

Curlywhirly Tue 28-Apr-20 22:21:53

Nontana2 oh, I so agree with you - some people are definitely loving the rules! Sadly, The Handmaid's Tale no longer looks so far fetched ?

Chewbacca Tue 28-Apr-20 22:39:55

geekesse do you live in Cheshire by any chance? Because it would be a shame if there was more than one area that seems to have grasped the rules, clutched them closely and derives great delight in naming and shaming anyone that they precieve to have breached them. These include people walking across fields that are not within a 5 minute walk from their homes --there are public footpaths across them--; walking through the woods --they're open to the public--; riding their bicycles along the cycle track confused. These, and many more, have been named and complained about on our local Facebook pages time and time again. And then they complain that there are too many people walking down the streets and because they're so narrow, people are having to step in the road! You can't win! It's actually been suggested that a set of stocks and a ducking stool be set up at the village pond. And I'm not at all sure that they're joking.

Chewbacca Tue 28-Apr-20 22:42:29

Perceive not precieve blush

allsortsofbags Tue 28-Apr-20 22:52:56

People being pillared on FB is real.

My DD was named and shamed last week and bless her she got on the page.

She asked " which one of you Moral Entrepreneurs would stop a call from a friend in New Zealand who's mother had been taken into ICU in Manchester UK. Asking me call the hospital and find out as much as I can just because that call came in at 7:56 so I could clap along with the rest of my family.

Oh and Thank You for asking how my friends Mum is. She had a stroke and is doing better than expected incase any of you are interested".

Her friend called DD, gave her name as person to liaise with because she knew she was the closest person to Manchester. Friends Mum lives alone and other relatives are older, live further away and would only start to worry.

Good choice to call DD she's very clam and business like when needed but DD wasn't on the doorstep when "They" thought she should be. Don't think people on DD's local FB had ever known DD go into business mode. LOL

We non of us know what is happening in the lives of others but I do think this situation has given some people permission to take the high ground.

Oh and I washed my car, on my property, because I could :-) Haven't done much else even though I have lots to do.

Starblaze Tue 28-Apr-20 23:04:26

I read somewhere and I can't remember where so maybe it was here (lol) that a lady was named and shamed on a Facebook page for not clapping for the NHS. Poor woman had fallen asleep.

Oopsminty Tue 28-Apr-20 23:06:53

People can be extremely cruel

90 year old man sent a poison pen letter

Starblaze Tue 28-Apr-20 23:13:26

Oopsminty I thought it couldn't get worse! That's made me tearful

Callistemon Tue 28-Apr-20 23:19:30

Certainly the 'jobsworths' moralisers and Nosy Parkers are enjoying this.

I can't see anything wrong with cleaning the car. It's not something I would do if I could help it but there is no harm if someone wants to do so.

I posted on another thread that the police were stopping motorists near my friend's house and asking them the reason they were out driving - fair enough. But the policeman started quizzing my friend, who was just going for a walk, about where she was going, how far and then told her exactly how far she should go - about a ten minute walk. No more.

That is nasty, Oopsminty.
Instead of offering a helping hand to a neighbour in need someone feels the need to be nasty. I hope they're named and shamed.

Hetty58 Tue 28-Apr-20 23:23:46

I never watch that angry Piers Moron and avoid Facebook like the plague - so that explains it!

boheminan Tue 28-Apr-20 23:41:47

What a refreshing thread! I thought it was just me, maybe getting paranoid.

The other week I was walking (on my own) around my local park (allocated exercise). There was a young lad walking across the grassy area in the middle within about 20ft of me and (from behind me) two policemen came over to him, stopped him and asked him questions ('where are you going', etc). What I found strange is that the police were standing shoulder to shoulder. What is happening?

Starblaze Tue 28-Apr-20 23:45:38

I had a police car behind me going to the vet last week. I was literally so stressed that I would be in some sort of trouble going somewhere other than work or shopping that I had to do an abrupt stop when I suddenly realised I was at a temporary red light. I don't know why he didn't pull me over. I'm such an idiot sometimes.

rosecarmel Wed 29-Apr-20 07:52:56

Today, the vice president toured the Mayo Clinic and refused to wear a mask when asked to-

He's the head of the Coronavirus Task Force-

I think that deserves 4 pitchforks-