WHY IS THERE SO MUCH POSTURING, OUTRAGEOUS, OUTLANDISH, IMMORAL AND PERVERSE BEHAVIOUR AND IMMODESTY IN A WORLD WHICH OSTENSIBLY IS OBSESSED WITH TRANSPARENCY, AUTHENTICITY AND THE QUEST FOR THE TRUTH AND HONESTY? WHERE DO OUR PRIORITIES TRULY LIE? IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT ‘WE ARE ALL FOR VIRTUE’, BUT HOW MANY OF US TRULY PRACTICE ITS TENETS? DOTH NOT VIRTUE AND VICE, THE SACRED AND THE PROFANE CO-EXIST AND CO-HABITATE ON A CONTIUUM?
I just got back from the mailbox. Funny, I thought I’d get out there on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon and mail a letter while it was nice and get a little walkie in while the weather was good and enjoy the sunshine and practice the virtue of exercising this decrepit 51 year old body of mine which is increasingly falling apart.
Speaking of virtue, on my way back, I saw (or should I say heard), a gurgling white Camaro, replete with a spoiler, outrageously oversized hood scoop, and a souped up V8 with an exhaust system that sounded like it was either permanently clearing its throat, or farting CO2 and Nitrogen Oxide, or both. I fully expected the boys inside to peel rubber and fly off full throttle into town, but no, they gurgled their way into Timmy’s, I guess to grab an Ice Coffee or a Large Double Double or something. Not bad I thought. It was better than them pulling into the bar across the street and getting all liquored up and then getting into their gurgling gargantuan glandular hormonal four wheeled phallic conveyance and going to commit some random act of vehicular homicide, as is so far too often the case of late with such hormonally challenged male humanoid biped specimens.
I said to myself, ‘now why is it that there is so much posturing in society? Why the innate, inborn need to somehow want to flaunt our persona, project our penis, go zoom zoom, (or vroom vroom in the French Mazda commercials), why is there so much immodesty and immorality and downright perversion and corruption of human nature, all in the name of the pursuit of pleasure, ‘fun’, joy, happiness, ‘having a good time’, or just plain acting stupid because we just don’t feel comfortable in our own skin being ‘normal’ or serious?’
We seem to have been conditioned by many generations of electronic and electromechanical media, going all the way back to Vaudevillian times, to fill the aching void with goofiness and antics of some sort, to drum up some fizz or stir up the pot in light of the obvious dearth of positive energy caused by the dreariness of the industrial, urban society of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with its urban squalor, crowded streets and cityscapes, lack of amenities and conveniences, poverty, violence, disease and ugliness which the city dweller was faced with on a daily basis.
Hollywood and the urban cinemas of the 1920s and 30s were a sort of cheap balm for the afflictions of the souls of many North Americans and Europeans in the first half of the 20th century and served the purposes of the elites to mollify and to divert the attention of the masses from the more serious and egregious structural inequalities which were afflicting western civilization at that time, chiefly, the structurally flawed nature of free enterprise and its relation to liberal democracy and the ever closer looming threat of another world war, caused in large part by the first factor and its concomitant relationships with such factors as race, ethnicity, religion, culture and language.
As the Camaro settled into the parking lot at Timmy’s I thought to myself, ‘are we not going down the same road again? Are we not letting the elites divert our attention with more outrageous and ludicrous pop cultural pap and scandalous vitriol and salacious revelations of concupiscent misconduct on behalf of supposed ‘demi-gods’ of a celebratorial, political, athletic, ecclesiastic, and corporate nature, all of whom are, ultimately, but spirits veiled in mortal flesh as are we?’
If we are, as the saying goes, ‘all for virtue’, then why is it that so few of us are exposed to role models who practice its tenets? Are we not being conditioned to believe that virtue is unattainable and ultimately a hypocritically unrealistic and unachievable and unattainable utopia which does not exist in reality, therefore why even bother attempting to aspire to it? I see the work of the Devil everywhere I turn. Especially in Quebec, where I come from, where God and religion have taken a real nosedive, I see and hear advertising campaigns all the time which play up the positive attributes of the Devil and of vice in general.
Not a week goes by in the province of Quebec without some bar or nightclub advertising its ambience or atmosphere for their upcoming special evening (usually with drink specials such as two for ones and free drinks for the ladies), as being ‘un atmosphère endiablé.’ (A devilishly entertaining, or diabolically entertaining atmosphere). Another ad campaign in Quebec which I saw on the sides of buses was for a wine I believe which was called ‘Black Tower’, whose ad campaign played on the ‘black’ theme by saying ‘le triomphe du noir’ or ‘the triumph of black’ ,meaning, the ‘triumph of the darkness’, whereby they show a lady dressed in a sort of ersatz witchy woman/occult worshipper/goth sort of get up, all bejeweled, and decked out in a darkly seductive outfit akin to some sort of middle eastern ‘Whore of Babylon’ temptress and seductress of souls ready to reduce any male consumer of the afore-mentioned product to gelatinous goo of concupiscent carnal Pablum.
Another ad campaign is for Ashton fast food restaurants, which exhort their customers on radio and billboards to ‘Allez-y, Gâtez-vous!’ In other words, ‘Go ahead, treat yourself to some nice gooey poutine and a cheeseburger and a soda pop with at least 9 teaspoons of refined sugar in it! Then there was the ad campaign that Culinar, now owned by Saputo, ran back a couple of decades ago for Jos Louis chocolate cakes, which said on the sides of buses ‘au diable la luzerne!’ (To hell with alfalfa sprouts!) Which raised the ire of health advocates across the province who were trying to get Quebecers to eat healthier foods. Then there is the ad on Quebec City radio for the bar which was opened in a deconsecrated Catholic Church, which played on the old French Canadian expression ‘C’est pas catholique ça!’ (That’s not Catholic! An expression of distaste which was used in the day to describe any morally reprehensible behaviour). Then there are countless ads for things such as chocolate which exhort the potential buyer to ‘go ahead, give in!’
And then we wonder why we are all so fat and lazy and sick, poor and stupid. No wonder, the elites have conditioned us to be so and we have willingly enabled ourselves to let it happen! I’m not saying that it’s not our fault and therefore we are not responsible for our own behaviour, but rather that structurally, the system is set up for us to fail. The system is set up for us to have a much higher statistical probability of making the wrong choice or a bad choice which goes against the principles of virtue, rather than for it. When we as citizens must actively become countercultural agents of not only change but also of structural resistance to the established order, then I think we can truly say with conviction that ‘Houston we have a problem.’
Because the way society is set up right now in North America especially and to a lesser extent other parts of the west, it is designed to make us sick, poor, fat, and stupid. Our primary value to the elites is oft repeated that we are first and foremost ‘consumers’, not ‘citizens’, or even ‘humans’, but ‘consumers’ and as such our primary value to the corporate elites who truly rule society and the government elites who aid and abet them and who are the cheerleaders for them, is to be units of consumption of goods and services, ideally to maximize the consumption of both, while not enabling us to maximize our earnings potential to be able to maximize our consumption potential. The goal of capitalism is to minimize costs. Ask any businessman what their biggest cost is and they will immediately begin to moan and drip about the high cost of labour, and ‘labour is our biggest single cost’, meaning, ideally, their goal, from a capitalist logic point of view, would be to minimize their labour costs, in an ideal world, to zero, cutting out the labour factor completely and automating production completely with machinery and/or robots (just wait it’s coming!)
So basically, the stated objective of capitalism, or ‘free enterprise’ as the elites love to call it, is to unwittingly destroy itself, by essentially destroying the very market mechanism which it purports to be the lifeblood of its sustenance, by eliminating virtually all working people from paid employment, or at the very least, paying them the least amount of money possible, thereby guaranteeing that there will be a chronic shortage of purchasing power in the economy to drive a sustained and sustainable level of consumer spending on such consumer durables such as housing, transportation, and consumer durables such as home electronics, furniture and appliances and power tools. Right now all of these sectors are being fueled by a unsustainable level of consumer debt, and citizens are being denigrated and desanctified as being reduced to the unholy level of being units of consumption, who are supposed to eat more and more of everything, diet more, drive bigger SUVs, live in bigger houses, have bigger flat screen TVs with more channels of crap, all with an economy where factories keep shutting down and all that stuff is being made overseas by people who don’t earn enough to buy it either and being shipped over here where people don’t earn enough to buy it either!!!
So back to the gurgling white Camaro. Why are we showing off so much with so much outlandish stuff and so much outrageously out of proportion consumer goods, which all seem to be outrageously expensive to buy, maintain, are marketed with a fanaticism and insistence and manic persistence which drives one to distraction, and it all seems to be resembling one big gigantic systematic desensitization program, whereby we seem to being conditioned to being obliterated by a big loud sound and light show with lots of bells and whistles, lots of sound and light effects, lots of ‘Industrial Light and Magic’, lots of increasingly over the top CGI effects in movies with stuff and people just flying all over the place in ways which simply defy all reality, to the point whereby I don’t think I can even set foot in a big megaplex cinema anymore.
I think I’ve been exposed to so much video media that it just won’t go in any more, I can’t watch it anymore, my eyes and brain just can’t process the sensory overload anymore with all the fast paced images and sequentially processed imaging techniques and over the top digital sound engineering, which totally antagonizes my soul. It all just seems to be getting more and more loud and violent and insistent and persistent, as if the elites realize that a lot of people are tuning out from society, so they think that if they just keep ratcheting up the volume and the aggression of the media discourse, they will be better able to get through to all those recalcitrant backsliders who won’t do as they are told and ‘obey’ as the T-Shirt says, or ‘consume’ and ‘be consumed by consumption’ and then die like the good obedient and servile debt peons that we are supposed to be, thus enabling the elites to continue to live high off the hog from exploiting the lifeblood of humanity and enabling 20% of the world’s population to live off of 80% of the world’s resources and to structurally perpetuate such a system with guns and money.
What I think the elites don’t realize is that at some point their sound and light show will become so loud and obnoxious and so many people will stay away from it and will tune out from it that they will start to lose money, enough so that it will feel like they are the referees at the world game of life and they have tried to make all the rules and just blow the whistle whenever and however and how loudly they want to, to the point whereby the people don’t want to even ‘play the game’ anymore and they will either pack up and leave (I’ve seen it happen), or they will rebel and turn on the system and start to create a parallel alternative system to the established one.
So the guys in the Camaro got a coffee and probably went their merry way. But what’s the point of driving that thing to begin with? It’s totally useless on the road and you can’t go more than 120km/hr with it without getting a ticket anyways or killing somebody, including yourself. The best I can think of is to sponsor more racing competitions to allow these young men to sublimate their overblown testosterone driven libidos into something more adaptive than to threaten the social order by mixing alcohol with testosterone and gasoline. Luckily these dudes did us all a favour today and went for a large double double. We should be so grateful they actually practiced virtue instead of vice. Perhaps there is hope for humanity after all? Tim Horton for Prime Minister!!!