COVID-19 and the infantilisation of the masses

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It’s highly infectious and spreading like wildfire. It’s transmitted through sight and sound, across airwaves and via underground cables. The only escape: complete shutdown of all broadcast media.

Yet, it all started innocently enough. People sending one another genuine messages of goodwill, and offering help and assurance as the seriousness of the pandemic became uppermost in people’s minds.

But soon businesses, broadcasters and narcissists worldwide took over. Not content with causing thousands of deaths and crippling economies; the Coronavirus has spawned another epidemic:

The infantilisation of everybody

I can’t be the only one who fears death by molly-coddling. But don’t worry:

I’m with you and I’ll help you get through it.”

Did you feel it? The tightening of your stomach? The nausea?

Yep, me too. Every freaking day as corporate bodies and media outlets take advantage of the Coronavirus in order to snuggle up to me. Take the Tetley Tea advertising campaign with the horrifically cloying title: ‘Cuppas Taste Better Together’. Followed by nauseating footage of real people (allegedly) enjoying tea together.

Tetley’s stated aim is to “help reduce loneliness by bringing people together over a cuppa.” Who knows, maybe an advert showing people drinking Tetley soundtracked by an excruciating Rick Astley cover will help people overcome their feelings of isolation?

But I’m not so sure.

It’s just one example from a carnival of cringe which is growing by the day. You can’t watch any TV programme or listen to any radio show without someone saying they are ‘with you’ or ‘here to cheer you up’.

The BBC, with typical self-importance, have a new slogan which tells us they are: “…Here when you need us most.” ITV proclaim that “…We’ve never needed each other more” as part of some mental health initiative.


Everyone seems to assume I have a mental health problem. Or that I’m lonely. Or need help. I’m not one for conspiracy theories but I’m starting to wonder if Covid-19 was sponsored by Prozac.

But don’t worry: social media is here!!

The Great Comfort Blanket is not confined to media organisations or big corporations. It also spans that cesspit of narcissism, social media.

Everywhere you look people are promising to cheer you up with self-made videos. Let me be clear: I’m happy for people to dress up, dance around and generally be willing to make an ass of themselves. But why pretend it’s about helping others? Be honest. You’re doing it because you’re bored and you want to lark about. Spare the excuses. As Ben Folds once sang:

‘Do it anyway.

Worse are the people banging on about how hard they find working from home and staying indoors (though I give a pass to those without gardens). They often sign-off with the hashtag #IGotThis or #GiveMeAPatOnTheBack.

While it is wonderful to see how ‘brave’ and ‘strong’ everyone is being, it does make me wonder what happened to quiet resolve. But I guess you never hear about that. You’ll never see an NHS nurse take part in a backslap-athon or a doctor wallow in the self-pity bathing contest. I haven’t seen any NHS workers sign-off with #IGotThis. (Though that’s partly because they are probably praying that they haven’t.)

I suspect there are many others, like me, who are cringing more and more by the day. Perhaps you too are suffering with increased muscle tightness? I suffered the worst jolt of cramp while watching Gal Gadot and celeb chums gurn their way through John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’.

If that didn’t break the internet, then nothing will.

I digress…

Hold that bucket!

There are, of course, people genuinely finding it tough out there. Whether it’s elderly people scared witless of catching the virus, or the mentally enfeebled struggling with maladies of the mind. There are a wide range of reasons why people might be struggling right now — not to mention those who have lost loved-ones.

But do any of them yearn to be infantilised? Does it actually help? And what about those who are… dare I say it… feeling ok?

I certainly don’t need people constantly saying they are ‘with me’ like some deranged stalker. Reassuring? Reassuringly creepy more like.

The relentless message of ‘you’re anxious, worried and need of help’ becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Anyone with an easygoing countenance is persuaded to feel otherwise by the bombardment. Anyone in a deep dark hole is routinely reminded of their turmoil.

However, the media hoard are right about one thing. We will get through this. But that’s not the question. The question is: will we get through this with our dignity intact? It’s not looking good. The bog roll hoarders were just the start. Now it’s the self-pity porn party who are gathered around to hammer the final nail into the coffin that holds our collective dignity.

I’ve shamefully started stockpiling buckets in order to collect the vomit that I’m heaving on a daily basis. I thought I’d get ahead of the inevitable demand as this multi-media cringe-fest wears on.

And all the while the Government’s message repeats:


I know I certainly will. But I make no promises on behalf of my stomach acids.

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay.

Written by

Freelance writer and copywriter who occasionally opinionates.

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