COMMENT | According to the publisher Oxford Dictionaries, who annually chooses the English word of the year based on the ‘sheer scope of its application’, the word of 2018 is ‘toxic’.
And it’s difficult to disagree with the choice, in view of the fact that ‘toxic’ has recently become a buzzword in almost countless contexts.
In the endless battle of the sexes, for example, or more ‘politically-correctly’ of the genders, unreformed males are no longer reviled as sexist swine or macho morons, but as travesties of toxic masculinity.
Places of employment plagued by all the traditional power struggles, corporate politics, back-stabbings, bullying and harassments are now known as toxic workplaces.
Planet Earth and all its life-forms are reliably reckoned to be threatened by increasingly toxic levels of air, soil and water pollution and global warming due to toxic atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases.
And on a more personal level, it seems to me that I’ve been seeing more and more young women around Sydney with Botoxic-looking lips.
Meanwhile, more and more conservatoxic governments around the world, far from striving to come up with a cure or even a tonic for any of these ills, are encouraged by the eco-toxic, socio-toxic and, above all, truth-toxic example of Donald Trump and his current Washingtoxic administration, plus Fox and similarly toxic media, and are hell-bent on making it worse.
As in the UK, for example, where the Tories have been preoccupied for the past two years, and will be for much longer, with their ridiculously Brexitoxic plan to leave the European Union.
As now in Brazil, where Jair Bolsonaro has been recently elected president on an Amazon rainforest-toxic platform.
And as currently in Australia, where the Liberal-National conservatoxic coalition is so hostile to emergent ecologically and economically-advanced forms of renewable energy as to insist on supporting and even subsidising a fossil-fuel-based wreckology.
While additionally, on the international front, the COALition’s Prime Minister Scott (Scottoxic?) Morrison has stupidly jeopardised a free-trade deal with Indonesia, and turned relations with both Indonesia and Malaysia from diplomatic to somewhat diplomatoxic by threatening to ape Trump’s move to shift the nation’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
And Australia’s treasurer, the Jewish Josh Frydenberg, didn’t exactly reduce the level of toxicity between his government and Malaysia’s by saying in a radio interview reported by Malaysiakini that “the Malaysian prime minister has (antisemitic) form. He has called Jews hook-nosed people. He has questioned the number of people killed in the Holocaust.”
Frydenberg may well have been, and in fact was, speaking truthfully, but his timing could have been better in light of the outcry that hasn’t yet died down following Scott Morrison’s comment concerning a recent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attack in Melbourne that the perpetrator’s mental illness was no excuse for his crime, and that Melbourne Muslim community should do more to prevent such incidents in future.
In any event, Frydenberg and his ruling-COALition should be highly aware and appreciative of the fact that Malaysia’s new Mahathir-led Pakatan Harapan administration is one of the very few governments in the world right now that is striving to be the opposite of toxic...