Athiesm and the cult of consumerism

October 16, 2006

I am a complete athiest and one of the most ‘spiritual’ people I know. It’s a paradox that would haunt me in my sleep, keeping me from rest and turning my days into that of a living zombie if I didn’t drink so very much. Fortunately the genius of man (and, occasionally, woman) that as brought us aviation, whoopee cushions, nuclear weapons and opera felt fit to provide me with a sleeping pill that provides endless hours of fuzzy entertainment before plunging me into darkness and (occasionally) a gutter.

The thing that most recently got my goat (I find myself replacing my goat more often these days) is the definition of ‘poverty’ and the assumption that people who are living in poverty are miserable, helpless, feckless idiots who need help and guidance. Sort of like politicians but without the suits and large men with dark sunglasses surrounding them all the time.

Why are we all so obsessed with economic indicators when an international survey on happiness (new scientist) puts many of the worlds poor countries at the top of the list, and not one of the G8 nations in the top 10. The things that make people happy, it seems, are a full stomach, a roof over their head, a mate and good friends. Oddly enough, this is what i was brought up to believe, but then I was brought up by my parents in a country that didn’t get TV till the 1970s and a house that barely got one before the 80’s.

So I failed to be woo’d by MTV, bling and P.Diddy (or whatever his name is this week). In fact i went through my teens in an era where you could not walk down the street clad in fur for fear of an attack of red paint and aggressive vitriol from a large lesbian or member of the clergy. Adverts were something to laugh at and didn’t actually manage to convince us of anything much.

Then someone with intelligence who was promoted within a marketing firm despite his handicap of speaking in full sentances and realised that you don’t try to sell in the little breaks between the programs anymore, you sell while the programs are on and people aren’t having a quick shag with the babysitter or in the kitchen trying making tea (yes, this was a more innocent time before starbucks and the coffe invasion and yes, honest, there was a time when people made it al on their own).

It was probably when people actually started wearing leather pants (somewhere in ’84) david hasselhof and his beautiful leather pants because of David Hasselhof in Knight Rider (he still wears them and it breeds such sadness  in my soul) that they twigged that if the famous were doing it so would every half wit in christendom (and bits of islamadom, buddhisadom but not the guys in orange robes or the beardy ones in utah) no matter how demented, ridiculous, callous, hypocritical and obviously unhealthy it was.

Poor countires are spared most of this and are still restricted to a couple of hours in front of a TV a day/week/year (delete as applicably lucky) and are forced to spend time with friends and family being active, social and getting laid. Okay, mostly with friends because, let’s face it, sometimes family can be a bit much.

Note that the happiest countries:  Nigeria, Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador, Puerto Rico have crap infrastructure, no money and don’t speak english very well so it’s hard to bombard them with ideas of what they do not have but should. The unhappiest countries:  Russia, Armenia, Romania all have good communications infrastructure, no money and don’t speak english very well but you can at least get at them to remind them how miserable they should be because they don’t own leather pants. And a new Lexus.

Happiness is…?

Sod this- anyone fancy a pint. (Fast Show) (Irony)


This column was brought to you by Lexus. Or, perhaps, not.



2 Responses to “Athiesm and the cult of consumerism”

  1. Oscarandre Says:

    Hi Jester – couldn’t agree more! For confirmation see my post today (

    And yes, a pint would be great! Was it Oscar Wilde who said, “Man, being sensible, must get drunk. After all, the best in life is intoxication.” Perhaps it was Byron. Anyway, it has comforted me through many pints over the years.

  2. And, I believe, Dean Martin who said: “Teetotaller! Are you mad? Imagine waking up and knowing that’s the best you’re going to feel all day.”

    Few of the true greats did not take refuge in the bottom of a glass. If you even begin to see the world clearly some sort of artificial misting-and-amusement device is welcome during those trying times… like trying to get your drivers license renewed at the traffic department.

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