The other week I picked up the latest issue of Coles Health Plus, a freebie magazine which was lying on the conveyer belt at my local supermarket.
I wouldn’t suggest you rush out and get a copy -“ the word tedious doesn’t begin to describe its mix of glorified advertorials -“ but what really struck me about the magazine was the tense and faintly hysterical way it used the word health.
On the first page alone, three short welcoming editorials include the words health, healthy and healthier a total of 29 times.
We’re told that healthy food choices are important, that the magazine has been designed to help us make better health and beauty choices for happier, healthier lives, and, best of all, that the magazine will provide us and our families with a healthy start to a healthier lifestyle.
It got me wondering about this word, health, and the way it seems to have become imbued, through its reiteration, with such a sense of anxiety these days.
No longer is health viewed as an automatic by-product of living moderately well and being disease-free; nowadays, health is something we have to strive for: a goal.
-¦ And so this brings me to the Queensland AIDS Council, and their recently-announced decision to fuse this word health with that other over-used, tortured clich?community, and re-badge the organisation Queensland Association for Healthy Communities.
Can somebody please tell me what the fuck it’s all about? Who are these Communities, and why are they Healthy? And what does the title really mean -“ to anybody?
Who’s going to find a listing for the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities in the White Pages and guess that it has anything to do with poofters? Or indeed, dykes, or injecting drug users, or even AIDS?
I dare say the well-meaning proponents of this name-change would claim that people weren’t connecting -“ sorry, engaging -“ with something called an AIDS Council. But who’s going to engage with a concept as banal, as weak and as happy-clappy as an association for a healthy community?
Anybody who does engage with a concept like that belongs to a community that I don’t want to be part of.
They’d probably also be the type of morons who’d get a lot out of a magazine like Coles Health Plus.