Fuck climate change! I have more important things to worry about, like Christmas shopping.
By E.F Nicholson
Coming back from the town centre today I was unable to escape the visual noise of “It’s Christmas time.” As it draws closer predictably my mind is awash with questions of what do I “buy” my youngest daughter for Christmas? What do I “buy” my eldest daughter for Christmas? What should I “buy” my wife for Christmas?
The tradition of being mindless is not something you want to think about too much….
It’s not that I object to buying them objects (excuse the pun). I am happy to buy them items that they enjoy and like. It’s just the very fact I am thinking about “having to buy” them stuff, because of a date on a calendar, decorations on the street and songs I hear when I am walking down the aisle in the supermarket. The sound of “Jingle bells”, is an audio trigger for all of us citizens that have been hypnotised, but instead us all pretending to be chickens, we go out to buy turkeys. I am thinking about buying them something because this is what I am culturally programed to do. I am like Pavlov’s dog, that instead of salivating on the sound of a bell, I whip out my credit card when I hear “Santa is coming to town”. Yet seeing as I am such an individual it’s not possible I could be such a mindless lemming, is it? So it’s best to call it something more comforting like “Tradition.” Yes mindlessly reaching into my wallet to buy some useless plastic piece of something, around December 25th is called “The Christmas tradition”.
Are we really that gullible?
Like many traditions and cultural connecting points, the greedy hand of monetization comes looking for an “in”. By stealth it co-opts and culturally tweaks and twists it until it becomes all about buying things. Things our kids don’t need ,until they are told they do. This is exactly what Christmas feels like. This massive tinsel covered shout in your ear “GO BUY THINGS…ANYTHING , JUST BUY!!! In the UK a great example of this has been the cultural importation of Halloween ™. Sponsored by Cadbury and whatever factory makes lots of shit that is only ever used once and thrown in the bin. The History of it in the USA I have no idea, but to me it’s USA kind of thing. It’s a big deal over there, fine no problem, they have their things and we have ours, like Christmas, which is also theirs. Yet now with the hegemony of cultural globalisation that “tradition” has been pushed and planted into the minds of UK shoppers. So much so that now Halloween as an event has gone up in sales from £12 million in 2001 to £300 million in the UK 2013. So now British citizens spend £300 million on sugary shit, costumes and silly plastic scary stuff, to celebrate a cultural date on the calendar that 30 years ago didn’t exist, all because they are told “That’s what you do.” Making it even more fucked up, this cultural coup- d’état has been created by using children as the conduits of their marketing message. When you really take in the reality of how utterly docile it shows us to be, it’s truly depressing. Maybe the way we now celebrate Christmas, was something very different 50 years ago but if it’s all we know, we don’t get to see how it’s just been pushed on us. As twenty years from now kids will somehow think Halloween was always a “thing.” In Spain where I live my wife tells me Santa Claus was a non-entity 30 years ago, they just had the 3 Kings. Now they haven’t replaced Santa with the 3 Kings, rather they now celebrate both. Which means in Spain children of course get gifts on both occasions. Lucky them, kids and corporations.
Some other choices in mind
So with all this is mind, I will still buckle and get my girls something on the day , so they wake up all excited and giddy that Santa actually stepped in our house. Even though toy shops would like us to think otherwise, I see my girls get most enjoyment from the ritual and build up, rather than whatever it is in the box. But for myself and my wife we have made a promise not to buy each other anything. Regarding my Family, uncles , aunties ect.. who are the main culprit for offloading so many useless toys on our kids we have asked them to gift them an outing or some time doing something together. I think memories of fun day out with Grandma will be of far more value and treasured much longer than piece of plastic something.
Let’s face it our rabid consumption comes at a cost, a cost to the earth, the cost of the low wages needed to make it cheap to produce and many other things. When we really take on the fact our climate systems are moving rapidly up shit creek we see we not only lack a paddle but the boat is sinking and no one knows how to swim. As we can’t use Christmas cheer to avoid how bad climate change is becoming. Knowing that our consumption is driving the production and that production is driving what is choking the planet, really puts the sheer uselessness and roboticism of Christmas shopping context. I read the other day one of the reasons we were running out of helium in the world because it is being used to inflate balloons. WTF? That kind of brainless waste ,is a real microcosm of the macrocosm . But if you really think we are not dumb enough to throw away the future habitability of the planet, just to ensure 10 more years of getting plastic toys and cheese burgers in our “Mc Happy meals”, sadly think again.
Happiness for all…
Finally I would like to wish a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the readers of this blog. Thanks you for all your feedback, encouragement and support throughout the year. 2014 was Things-that-matter’s first year and it’s been very much evolving process. Highlights of the year were getting retweets from Russell Brand, Wiki-leaks, Frankie Boyle and Graham Hancock. Had some articles published by Information Clearing-house and couple other online magazines. We published 70+ posts and we hit over 50,000 views some time during the year and even got an appearance on RT news to push a petition we started. Although somewhat amateurish, we also produced our first cartoon.
So thanks Tim for being a great soundboard and intellectual wingman. I do think the writing has improved but that is solely down to Mark L, Jackie and in particular Steve Jack for all his help and support in the editing process throughout the year. So I do wish you all the best and despite how bad things appear in the world, I do believe there is an enduring and pervasive love that runs through all of us and all that is, that one day will rule triumphant. Here is to that day 🙂
NOTE: The pictures of MR. T and Nancy Reagan are there for no reason other than I find them very funny. They remind me of the Charles Ramsey line, upon saving one of the women held prisoner for many years in his next door neighbor’s house.
“I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms”
What was wrong with Nancy I have no idea.
Of course its been tastefully autotuned. Charles Ramsey looks like a great guy.