How Neoliberal Mentality Is Disseminated

So Law & Order: SVU, ok? The most recent episode.

Amanda is a cop and a single mother who for some mysterious reason decided not to maintain a relationship with the baby’s father, a stunningly attractive police with a cute Irish accent. In a feat of horrifying self-centeredness, she never even informed him of the pregnancy or given him a choice to be present for the birth.

Now Amanda is pregnant again. The father is a rich doctor. Cute, although nothing like the truly sensational Irish guy. The doctor proposes to Amanda and offers a diamond as big as my head as she goes into labor but she says no. Because she doesn’t love him.

It’s a TV show, so let’s forget how unrealistic it is to have rich doctors desperate to marry single mothers who work as cops and throwing gigantic diamonds at them. Or to have police who look like Amanda and like baby daddy #1. What I find curious is the aggressive peddling on so many TV shows of this ridiculous neoliberal mentality of women running around arresting dangerous psychopaths and looking for “looove” while literally being in labor. The idea that maybe the baby would prefer the nearly middle-aged mother not to put herself in danger while heavily pregnant or to have daddy in the house never occurs to anybody.

The episode ends with Amanda holding the newborn while surrounded by her “real family” of coworkers. The actual blood relatives of the baby, like the father and the grandma, are conspicuously absent.

Yes, it’s just TV. But that’s how this mentality gets normalized and disseminated among the masses. There is nothing more important than work, you have to be working constantly, if you want a maternity leave something is deeply wrong with you, human beings are disposable if they are not completely perfect, children are consumer objects, there’s always a better love object out there, there’s nothing more important than individual whims, taking into account the interests of others is out of the question even if they are your own infant children.

Day in and day out we are bombarded by this messaging. The messaging is created by the economic agents that profit from our acceptance of this ideology. All we can do is develop a critical distance from the brainwashing. This is my favorite show but you can do it for yours.

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5 thoughts on “How Neoliberal Mentality Is Disseminated”

  1. So true! This neoliberal mentality is everywhere in law enforcement TV shows. Whenever an officer is ordered to take some time off, whether because s/he needs a break due to a significantly stressful event on the job or a suspension for bad behavior, the typical response is to beg to not be taken off the case. If my boss ever asks me to take a week off (e.g., let’s say I was attacked by a student), my first response will be: “Don’t you think one and a half weeks would be better?”. I would never say, “No, my students and their learning are too important for me to take any time off.”

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  2. …human beings are disposable if they are not completely perfect…

    This is absolutely the problem. Senator Franken should not have been forced to resign, and Governor Northam should not, either. Unfortunately, Franken would have had his influence greatly diminished by other peoples’ biases had he stayed. The same is true, with the obvious verb tense edits, of Northam.

    As a non-Christian, I am amazed at myself for quoting Jesus (KJV) saying “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Who among us never did anything monumentally stupid in their twenties or thirties. (Teenage readers need not answer this question.)

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    1. I agree. It was a stupid thing to do but it was 30 years ago. It’s very likely that Northam changed since then. Why are we assuming he’s exactly the same now as he was in the eighties.

      Franken’s situation is trickier because it’s very recent.

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  3. “There is nothing more important than work, you have to be working constantly”

    I remember how shocked I was while reading a Finnish murder mystery a few years ago and the whole investigative team is hard at work on Friday afternoon…. and then they go home and don’t give it a second thought until they come back to the police station on Monday morning. I try to imagine that in an American mystery and…. nope, cannot picture it.

    Liked by 1 person

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