Category Archives: consumerism

The little man on the edge of the world


According to the Australian Newspaper’s John Armstrong, Kant believed that the fullest expression of humanity comes in three forms:

  • The appreciation of natural beauty;
  • The love of goodness; and
  • Freedom of the mind.

Strange how we so often express our humanity in exact opposition to these very notions as we tear down natural beauty; exercise badness on a breathtaking scale and harness our every thought to rampant consumption and the pursuit of comfort.  

At about ten o’clock last night, tired of television, I stepped outside and looked up at the sky.  A damp evening with the threat of rain.  Clouds, very low, hastened southwards like they were on a secret mission. They appeared almost sullenly silent like I had caught them up to mischief and slipping by in the darkness.   Beyond them I saw much higher clouds, very still and set in a smattering of stars.  Lines from a Tennyson poem trotted through my head: “Knowledge comes but wisdom lingers/And I linger on the shore/And the individual withers/And the world is more and more.”

So there I stood, humanity’s representative on the edge of the wide earth, lost in the wonder of nature, paving my way to hell with good intentions and free to think I was trapped.

(Cartoon from



Filed under consumerism, life

5 reasons that men objectify women

  1. image51.jpgWomen objectify themselves.  No, really!  It is no good pretending that women want men to notice them for their inherent qualities if all they ever ask is how fat an arse they have or what’s different about their hair.
  2. Men objectify everyone.  It makes it so much easier for them to carry out those other tricky roles they’ve been assigned such as killing people to protect fat arses and ripping off workers in poor nations to put designer labels on perfect female backs.
  3. It’s a mark of respect.  Instead of being offended, women might consider thinking of themselves as objects d’art. They may be seen as mere things but at least they are things of beauty.
  4. It’s nature.  Men treat women as objects; women treat men as means to the accumulation of objects.  Nature in perfect balance!
  5. Laziness.   After all, it is so much easier to think, “Nice legs.” than “I wonder if, like Schopenhauer, she believes that human will has ontological primacy over the intellect; in other words, if she believes desire is understood to be prior to thought and that will is prior to being.”


Filed under chauvinism, consumerism, humour, life, Men, Women

The sitters at the table of plenty


Today, one of the local radio stations asked people to call in with their ideal dinner party guest list.  I mean, it’s academic for me since I had kids.  Once I would spend an entire afternoon buying and grinding 100 spices to make a chicken curry.  Once I made my own spaghetti – took me hours and I could have bought it for 89 cents! Now if it ain’t in a tin, it won’t get in.  So I don’t do dinner parties anymore – but it got me thinking.  Who would I invite?  This is who I came up with:

God and Stephen Hawking – so that when God had finished talking, Hawking could understand how he (Hawking) makes us feel most of the time – really dumb.         

Paris Hilton and Marilyn Monroe  – so that Marilyn can convince Paris of the merits of dying young        

Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot –  Sautéed slowly with a zesty sauce made with chilli and Tabasco and served on an open platter.         

Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana – I like a little jam with dinner.          

Kim Jong Il and a toilet brush – just so that North Korea’s president can see that – even if you are small, bristly, ugly and smelly – you can still be useful.        

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse -– I don’t know why, but Pestilence, War, Death and Famine just sound like fun guys and they never get invited to dinner.        

Tony Blair, John Howard, Saddam Hussein and George Bush Jnr – hang on, I already invited the four horsemen!         

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Dr Kinsey – Just so Kinsey could record one of the world’s greatest dicks in action – long, slender, erect – and subject to immature ejaculations. 

Oh, and John Lennon.  I just miss him sometimes.  But he’d probably ask me why I didn’t invite to dinner the 12 children who died of hunger-related illnesses in the minute it took you to read this.  And I haven’t enough chairs for the 16 000 kids who starved to death today. 

 But, if I could, I would – just to say I’m sorry, you know?


Filed under consumerism, Food, humour, life

Flogging the Penis of Jimi Hendrix

I notice that you can now buy a plaster cast of the penis of the legendary guitarist, Jimi Hendrix for a mere US$1 500.  As the maker, Cynthia P. Caster says,

Because this was one of my first shots at plaster casting, the end result came out kind of gnarly. I prematurely cracked the mould open, only to find a still-moist, broken cast inside. So yes, Jimi did in fact, break the mould! But thanks to Elmer’s Glue, I managed to reconnect the head to the shaft to the testicles.” 

Jimi’s penis is only one of several rock stars’ private bits on offer and all are briefly critiqued like footnotes to an art auction catalogue.


Whether or not this is – or is intended to be– art is a matter of opinion, I suspect. 

What interested me in the sale of celebrity privates is the contrast it makes to the recent furore generated by photographs of a knickerless Britney Spears.  Leaving aside the somewhat vast gap between the talents of the two performers, why are photographs of Spears’s privates viewed as bad taste and the 3D representation of Hendrix’s as worthy of framing and (I presume) displaying in one’s lounge room?


Does one image confirm Jimi’s art and the other that Britney’s a tart, perhaps?


And what is the relationship between a musician’s floppy bits and their music?  I mean, seriously, his penis was probably the only part of his body that Jimi Hendrix didn’t play the guitar with.


(You can check out more of the frozen funny-bits of the fairly famous at


Filed under art, consumerism, life, Music, sex

What’s that got to do with love?

Arkin poured some milk into Drew’s mug, lifted the dirty kettle and splashed the hot water onto the heaped spoonful of coffee.  He indicated towards the young mechanic sitting sullenly against the workshop wall.  “Don’t worry about Monkey,” he said. “We call him that because he does bugger all but hang around all day.”


The other men had moved out into the stark light of the mine site.  They were looking at something in the back of Jake’s truck.


Arkin threw a cigarette lighter at Monkey and it bounced off the corrugated iron wall.  “Ignore him,” Arkin said. “He’s been miserable ever since his girlfriend shot through.”  He bent down towards Monkey with his hands on his knees. “You was in love, wasn’t you, Monkey.” 

Drew began to feel himself at the centre of something that had been staged for his benefit.  He began to resent Arkin.  The foreman turned to him.  “Bloody love.  Another victim of the Christmas Club.”


Drew found himself saying, “What’s that?” and immediately wishing he had not been drawn so easily into Arkin’s play.  He felt complicit in something that he could not define.

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Filed under consumerism, life

Bargain hunting in the mall of shiny dreams

I am moving slowly through the air-conditioned mall surrounded by the faces of Saturday shoppers.  I am going to have a haircut.  Outside the sun is shining and the Indian Ocean, just a few kilometres away is wondering where I am.  Its waves rush hissing up the sandy beach searching for my feet, waiting for me to grow small within it. 


But a haircut is a haircut.


I wonder why everyone else is here.  How did they wake to such a beautiful day and find themselves meandering lost-like through this artificial landscape?  They are looking for something, something that is promised by the bright lights and gaudy banners.  When will you wake up, I think.  Soon you have to wake up; life doesn’t go on forever.  And then I remember Woody Allen in one of his early stand-up routines saying, ”Do you like my watch?  My grandfather sold me this watch on his deathbed.”

And I wonder if for many people, maybe the habit of acquisition is just too strong, its intrinsic emptiness lost to their perception forever. 

Here is the triumph of advertising over the human spirit. 

There is a metaphor for this blind consumerism.  Imagine a jail where every conceivable safeguard has been put in place to prevent escape by the prisoners.  There is a high wall with a moat and minefields, the guards are heavily armed.  The cells are buried deep within a labyrinth of booby-trapped tunnels beneath metres of reinforced concrete.  Multiple doors protect each cell and each door is made from the strongest metals known to man.  The inmates are chained to their beds.


And then, just to make perfectly sure that no one escapes, each prisoner has been hypnotised into thinking that he is free…

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Filed under consumerism, life, shopping

The urge to splurge


5 Reasons why you should not shop today

You are just encouraging those little bastards in advertising to find new ways to exploit, stereotype and manipulate our lives.

It won’t make you happy… No, really, not even shopping for shoes.  In all the world’s scriptures, not once does it say “And thou shalt find peace in the gardening section of K Mart.”

The money you spent could have bought you an experience instead of just a thing.  And experience lasts a lifetime.  Guaranteed.  If you have a choice between owning stuff and doing stuff, choose the latter.

You are going to die one day.  And you know it.   Don’t you think today might be a good time to work out why you’re here.  Nothing you can buy today will add up to a pile of beans when you are on your deathbed (unless it’s morphine, of course).

Everything you buy is consuming our planet.  Everything you buy is one more thing for you and one less thing for someone else in the world.  Give that money to someone who will make a difference.

5 Reasons why you should shop today

Even those little bastards in advertising create employment and employment leads to wealth and wealth builds our capacity to give.  And giving is tax deductible.

Shopping won’t bring happiness, it’s true, but it will buy you comfort.  And owning a new plasma or handbag can at least distract you from being unhappy. 

Some stuff we own actually is an experience e.g. that ipod reveals a whole world of music and lifts that spirit to another place; the new computer links you to people you never would have met before; those new shoes lead you to a restaurant where you meet the love of your life.

Sure, you are going to die one day.  But not this day, right?  Today you can enjoy yourself a little, OK?  I mean, enjoyment might not be the meaning of life but then, maybe it is.

Everything you buy consumes part of our planet, it’s true.  But what if you buy a book on recycling?

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Filed under consumerism, life, shopping