When is a phobia not a phobia?

In certain circles, it’s become a cheap and easy toss-off (Usually made by complete tossers) to describe voices raised in opposition to an event, type of politics or whatever as ‘phobic’. We here at the Bill Sticker Sarcastic Society for the protection of Words must once more mobilise our keyboards and raise our screenstrained eyes to stare down the dyslexic forces of darkness. Even now our Volunteer legion of word jugglers, stunt editors and grammarian marksmen (and women) are dusting off their arsenal of semi automatic .303 Oxford English dictionaries and .50 calibre Merriam Webster spellcheckers. Trying to ignore the naked porn queens cavorting through the reference section (and you thought libraries were boring, huh?) girding their weary loins to do battle once more for today’s much victimised collection of syllables:

Phobia
Line breaks: pho¦bia
Pronunciation: /ˈfəʊbɪə
/
Definition of phobia in English:
noun
An extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. Eg: she suffered from a phobia about birds.  Medical definition here.

It is important to differentiate between fear and phobia. Fear is an anxiety which does not have to be irrational. Indeed, it is the act of an extremely rational mind to feel anxious in the face of a very real threat. One cannot buck the Autonomic response. Say for example you are in the vicinity of a large and hungry wild predator capable of killing you, or of a known to be violent person (or associated with their doctrine) carrying a firearm and whose stated intent is the extinction of your culture and everything you have come to hold dear including you. To suffer extreme anxiety in these cases falls firmly under justifiable fear. In neither case is the fear irrational. To call such a fear a phobia is fundamentally (I know) dishonest and possibly even maliciously mendacious.

Furthermore, to call a mild aversion to a ‘phobia’ is likewise inaccurate, and a cheap tool in the arsenal of louche propagandisers.  Like using the excuse “Sorry I’m allergic” when you really mean “I’m sorry but I don’t particularly like Tofu Sausages.” or “I’m squeamish but don’t want to sound like the self obsessed fuckwit I am.”  Real allergies can range from that which raises a light rash to a truly life threatening condition, throwing the body into something as dire as Anaphylactic shock.  Anything less is simply a food intolerance (and possibly not even that) which may only result in mild indigestion and excessive farting.  Conflating the two is simply being a complete diet obsessive tit or a drama queen who needs to get out more. So it is with Phobias. Blurring the lines between a rational fear and irrational phobia is simply a cheap “I don’t want to hear that – La-la-la. You can’t say what I don’t like or I’ll scream and scream until I’m sick!” shut up line and therefore can be discounted.

Thank you.

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