I have walked 7422 steps today. I don’t know if that’s good or not. Is it enough to qualify as a new age Lewis and Clark, rolled into one; if so, will a statue be made of me any time soon? Or, is it that 7422 steps is actually disastrously lazy? Either way, today I know that have walked exactly 7422 steps. Do you know how I know that? Because my mobile phone told me. Quite why I’d need a phone to tell me how lazy I am, is beyond me. I’m expecting the next generation of kettle to tell me how bald i’m looking these days. Just to really rub salt into the gaping wound. My next pillow case to say “get your dirty little face off of me” next time I lay down. My can of deodorant to whisper majestically “my my, someone has put on a bit of weight this week“, whilst the McDonalds advert on the TV encourages me to enrich my life with it’s own personal brand of heart disease.
It isn’t the most pointless gadget that our generation of out of control turbo consumers have, well, consumed. Half the planet (mainly the West) is overrun with useless shit, all designed to take our minds off of what actually matters. Why care that the death toll in the War in Darfur is up to 200,000 with millions more displaced, when you can have THIS BRAND NEW BENTLEY!! OOOOOO. That’s right! Stop caring! Be a consumer instead! Define yourself by what you own! The
thieves in suits wondrous Corporations that run your lives depend on your total acquiescence to their utter, utter bullshit.
Speaking of Bentley’s, and pretentious arseholes, a man entered my place of work today, and proceeded to tell me a story about a wedding he’d attended recently. He placed his copy of Esquire (a magazine that may as well say “hey, you’re a business man right? Well here’s the thing, you’re amazing, go look at yourself in the mirror, you’re beautiful, look at those shoes!! You’re better than everyone else, go spit on a tramp, you beautiful beautiful powerful man you!“) to one side and started with his useless story. Try to spot the moment where I had to restrain myself from saying “can I stop you there……. I’m contemplating the notion, that you may have got me mixed up with someone who actually cares about your sheltered, miserable, pointless existence, you fucking oxygen thief“…..
“So, I was wondering what to wear, and I put on a cheap sui……no wait, that’s a lie, I don’t own any cheap suits, my suits are all designer, the cheapest I have cost just under £2000“.
Did you spot it? Did you? I’ll give you a hint, it was the entire macabre sentence. I couldn’t care less about his expensive suits. Even if I got out of bed an hour early, with the express intention of spending that hour… caring less, I still couldn’t care any less than I do right now.
If he’d have told me he is an struggling artist, or a confessional poet, or a popular Italian Tenor, or a composer, or a Photographer trying to make his name, I may have been impressed. But telling me your suits are expensive, when to me, all suits look the same, and everyone who wears suits, look like little unimpressive, masterfully useless braindead robots, is just asking to be ignored.
We’re the generation that relentlessly and rather pathetically relies on Corporations to get us through life. We have a deflated and vanishing sense of our own spirituality by the time we leave school, because our lives become a nightmare of consumerism and vanity. The two, and linked beautifully. We don’t have time to understand ourselves on a deeper level, because we’re convinced to keep to the superficial level, the surface. We constantly want more. More of everything. There isn’t a goal, there isn’t an end in sight, it’s just more, of more. And we inevitably, end up (despite how important we may feel in our new Bentley and expensive suits) indescribably weak minded, cut off from reality (I mean REAL reality, not the kind that Neo-Liberalism has carved up for us), and trying to impress the World with how much we have.
The bubble of course, burst in late 2007. Northern Rock plummeted, after offering over 100% mortgages. The Sub Prime nightmare, the very essence of turbo consumption, the pinnacle of greed and short term profit, the child of Reagan and Thatcher’s legacy of utter bullshit and deregulation of the financial sector, proved to be the last gasp of hot air to be pumped into the bubble before it inevitably exploded. Of course, those with free-market-failure-denial will always refuse to accept that their ideals, are wrong. They’ll blame government interference some how. But the rest of us, who don’t live on a different Planet, are left struggling worse than ever. But, quite amusingly, we’re still encouraged to consume. We define ourselves by what coffee house we drink at, or where we buy our clothes, or what our phone can do. We ignored gravity. The higher the bubble rose, the more we consumed. The bubble kept rising, our houses were worth more and more and it excited us. We no longer view a house as somewhere to live. Instead, it’s a commodity. We see it as a £ sign. Suddenly, we’re judging each other on what we own. We’re all addicted to consuming. Which is why we THINK we’re in some huge crises now. Because we had to stop spending, when credit dried up. We went from having far too much, to very little, in an incredibly short space of time. The bubble, with us assuming we were securely inside it, burst, and we fell to Earth with a smash. We REALLY need to sort out our priorities.
Whilst I blame the Wolves in suits, who seem to think they’re above the rest of Humanity, with the swagger of arrogance where ever they walk, with the sound of vanity in their miserable voices the moment they open their mouths to talk about, let’s face it, materialism; I also blame us. We consumed because it was easy. We consumed because we’re easily manipulated. We consumed because we’re horribly vain, and we’ve been taught that we’re competitive by nature (we’ve been taught it! We didn’t inherit competitiveness), so we try to out-do one another by what we can afford to consume. We don’t like that everyone else seems to own more. We don’t care if they KNOW more, we care what they own. We don’t care how beautifully creative someone else is, how they can use their mind to create stunning works of art or literature or music, we’re more interested in their wallet. And that desire to consume MORE than others, has lead to an industry meticulously destroying the planet (Carbon emissions hit an all time high in 2008), exploit as many people as possible without it actually being called what it is; slavery. But it’s okay, because it’s “freedom”….. fuck right off! I can’t afford to be free. Nor can 99% of the planet.
According to his book “All Consuming”, Neal Lawson states that in 1979, 32 million people used British airports for travel. In 2004, the figure was 216 million. That of those 216 million, 96% were from richer backgrounds, socio-economic groups A, B and C1. Whether it’s flying on business, or to New York for a shopping trip, it cannot be justified. But it wont stop. It does not matter how many economic bubbles burst, we’re now stuck, in this frenzy of turbo consumerism. It is now who we are. It is the 21st Century, and probably beyond. Does this sort of manic life of over consumption make us happy? Are we now happier than ever before? No. That’s the simple, and yet deepest answer possible. We hate it. We hate our jobs. We hate that we don’t have what our neighbour has. We hate that we can’t afford more. We’re much more miserable. So, that’s miserable, poor, and ignorant. So far so good!
We have somehow, come to the conclusion that it’s okay for Primark to exploit children (but we go absolutely crazy, when we hear Baby P style stories) and that it’s perfectly acceptable for Coca Cola to poison the water supply of local villages in India. As long as we don’t hear about it. It doesn’t surprise me. Consumerism has taught us to ignore. Ignore ourselves. Ignore the real World. Ignore injustice. Ignore ruthless cunts stripping away the individuality of a generation of telephone answering Admins and Tesco till girls. Ignore the shit that other ACTUAL HUMANS have to go through, so you and I can spend as little of our borrowed money as possible. Whilst it now costs more to consume ethical products (recession is a lovely way to act less ethically when we shop, and a big incentive for amoral corporate
cunts bosses to exploit at will), perhaps instead of turning to less ethical but cheaper named brands to satisfy our next hit of the consumer drug, we should just buy less! According to Labourbehindthelabel.org….
“Workers at factories supplying these retailers told researchers of working weeks as high as 90 hours, overtime unpaid, wages so low that families are malnourished, and strong resistance to any attempts at worker organising. At the same time suppliers revealed how the supermarkets are cranking up the pressure to deliver faster and produce cheaper – a model that makes a mockery of the social commitments made by these companies. “
I’m not entirely sure how any human being, with a heart, can possibly justify this. The West demands that this kind of horrific treatment of actual human beings continues, because we demand cheaper goods, an abundance of cheap shit that ultimately we don’t need. Those people are being meticulously mistreated, for ultimately no reason whatsoever. It makes honestly no sense to my DIRTY SOCIALIST head.
These idiots exploit humanity, destroy the planet, rape resources, and profit from war…. and then THEY have the balls to complain that they’re being taxed too much to fund a safety net for those less fortunate? I’m not the fucking immoral disgrace of a human being out of us two!
And to top it off nicely, America apparently now does not want to let poor people have access to health care. It’s a funny ole selfish World we live in. And it’s getting worse. We’re all mindless drones, committed to the chase for more; a chase with no fulfilled finish line, just endless anguish that we don’t have enough.
Still, 7422 steps!!! Go team Jamie!