Silence of the Lamby … aka why Lena Dunham’s dog “mini crisis” tells me that Western civilisation is doomed

A few months ago, while I was getting my four-wheel drive serviced, I glanced upon a photographic history of the nearby suburb.
It pictured a group of stout men with grim faces and even grimmer axes, sporting the type of beards that real working-class men used to have before they became a hipster affectation of the soft-handed men of the middle classes.
“These men worked for 14 hours a day, seven days a week for years to clear the forests for the foundations of the suburb,” said the blurb underneath.
Holy shit, I thought. Fourteen-hour days for years on end … that’s some Japanese salaryman-style commitment. It reminded me of just the type of people who built the foundations of the modern world.
They were, to quote the Chinese phrase, folk who knew how to “Chi Ku” … to eat bitterness. To endure hardship and continue despite the most pressing of difficulties.
Like Grandpa Simpson once said, people were tougher in the old days: tough enough to fall 8000 feet onto a pile of jagged rocks and jitterbug that same night. They were people in horrible and grim and unrewarding circumstances who just stayed the course because … well … that’s what people of both sexes did in Grandpa Simpson’s day.
Which brings us to Lena Dunham and her dog Lamby. The Girls star is being excoriated on the interwebs for her decision to give up Lamby to a canine rehabilitation centre after “four years of challenging behaviour and aggression that could not be treated with training or medication or consistent loving dog ownership”.
I’m not here to pile on Dunham. Enough people are doing that already. Go read the full articles on the net.
Yet it does make me ponder about the modern world’s inability to endure the unendurable … to face the unpalatable … hell, to chow down on the rasher of shit that previous generations were served every day.
I’m thinking about the slaves that powered the first democracy of Athens and the first superpower of Rome.
The generations of waifs and orphans who had their fingers severed working the Spinny Jennies of the Industrial Revolution.
The workers buried alongside the railroad tracks and great bridges of the West.
The generation that dodged rats in the trenches and marched towards machine guns in World War I.
The soldiers and civilians that starved and froze in the foxholes of Stalingrad.
The factory drones who spent their entire lives working in soul-crushing and repetitive tasks.
The husbands and wives who stuck it out in loveless marriages, dulling the pain with Bex and sex and liquor, because that was just what one did.
They had no other option to endure.
And it is these people that are responsible for the success of societies all over the world. Today – and not just in the West – we seem to have lost the ability or willingness to eat bitterness.
Are we just not that tough anymore? Has peace and prosperity turned us from mighty Spartans to soft, pleasure-loving Athenians?
Are we addicted to the comforts of our iPhones, our plasma-screen TVs, Swedish furniture, Thai chicken green curries and non-iron shirts?
Or am I prematurely predicting the end of Western civilisation because of it?
You tell me.

My new thriller Game Of Thrones: The Spartan is now available here and Print On Demand here.

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