Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bread & Circus

Thoughts from a European Hobopoet reader:

Hello Skald,

Just wanted to check in with you and let you know I can totally relate to what you're saying. The worthlessness of some of the things people concern themselves with is a big laughing point of western culture to me. It's by no means an American phenomenon though -- it's a generally western one. People in Germany watch game shows and informercials with the same fervour Brits use to read celebrity magazines, so do Norwegians or Australians.

Recently I got a job working for a company which acts as a broker between paparazzi and glossy celebrity magazines you find in your grocery checkout aisle. I work their IT systems and don't concern myself with the nature of the businesses I work for too much. At the end of the day I think of myself as a "digital plumber" and whether it's stock trades or pictures of Kylie Minogues' ass being sent down the wire doesn't matter. It's all the same to me.

But I've done some thinking on the subject, as you do. I believe you can file the whole stupid celebrity phenomenon under the "Bread & Circuses" category. But in some way it pisses me off.

People are getting killed in Iraq and elsewhere, right as you read this. Corporations are taking over the planet. The environment is being destroyed at an alarming rate. Species are going extinct every day and they are never coming back. Billions of people are living in abject poverty and all you can concert yourself with is... how Britney Spear's marriage is going? Aren't there more important things you could be reading about? When I see a person on the bus reading these trash magazines I have to fight a strong urge to slap it out of their hand and yell "Wake up! There are more important things happening in the world right now than this shit!"

But, people are free, and this means free to be as stupid to be as they'd like. They do their thing and I do mine. I consider it
bubblegum for the mind. Whatever...

I dig what you said about stupid posturing. Check the attached video. It's the ultimate example of retarded posing, possibly the best I've ever seen. Do something that's stupid enough to begin with and then fuck it up, only to try to act all cool about it afterwards trying to appear "tough". Especially check the comments near the end of the video.

Skald, for thinking, feeling people like us it's hard to accept we live in a world full of idiots, and even harder to find a niche in it that makes us happy. Please continue to write about how you get on on your quest, as it might give me clues on how to persevere on mine.

1 comment:

D. said...

Great letter, AJ. Glad to know there are others out there as disgusted by things as you & many of your readers. It's depressing to see how McMericanized Europe is becoming. Could you post a link to or figure out a way to host the video that the writer was talking about? I'm curious to see it now that I've read his description.

Have a christless winter solstice!

David