What a Waste of Time & Money
I could be accused of being an idealist, though I fancy myself more of a realist. It's the old "hope for the best but expect the worst" scenario. Let's face it, the world is a ridiculous place and we have no one to blame but ourselves. After all, there are no rules. No one told us to create our society the way we have, we just did it. We could have made it a really neat place where everyone got along and helped each other out and worked for the advancement of all mankind. Rampant idealism? Socialism? Communism? No matter, it's pretty damned obvious that a utopian society just ain't gonna happen, not in my lifetime anyway, in spite of the sensitive-new-age rubbish Gene Roddenbury preached. Especially when you consider we ignore trivial things like feeding people or cleaning up the environment in favour of immensely important things like these little treasures for instance:
Nothing will get me reaching for the remote control faster than a commercial for razors. We've got razors with 2 blades, 3 blades, 4 blades, even - I kid you not - 5 blades! We have battery operated razors that shoot out micro pulses, razors that spout foamy goo, razors with teflon, pivoting heads, ergonomically designed handles, titanium coated blades (Kelly Johnson must be rolling in his grave seeing the fate of his beautiful SR-71s). There are razors with little teeth that yank the hair out before slicing it off. Razors that come in designer colours. Razors that do just about everything short of singing Ethel Merman show tunes while dancing the rumba, and I'm sure that's just a matter of time. Amazingly enough, pretty much all these things come with the claim that they're the closest shave a man can get!
Note to razor companies: Please try and get a grip on reality. Why the hell do we need 15 titanium coated precision ground blades in an ergonomically designed, vibrating, goo spouting, pivoting, all-singing, all-dancing handle that comes in 97 designer colours and plays "The First Cut is the Deepest" every time you slice off a zit?!? It's just f*cking facial hair!! Shaving is a banal boring chore we have to go through every morning before we leave for our banal boring jobs! Aaaaaaaaggghh!!!!
Okay I lied, diaper commercials will get me reaching for the remote control even faster than razor commercials will. Yeah, yeah, I know. Everyone just loves cute gurgling little babies. And cute gurgling babies that leak mysterious blue liquid (the same mysterious blue liquid that women leak on those feminine hygiene ads) are a marketer's dream. Where do they find these little tykes? Been feeding yer kid antifreeze again?? Hmmm....
Hey, guess what? Babies don't really care if they're wearing girl diapers or boy diapers. They're not interested whether mum thinks they need diapers for active babies, or diapers they can pull off and on all by themselves. Babies are completely ignorant of the team of engineers, scientists and marketing executives that have spent millions of dollars and countless hours making diapers from space-age polymers that are more leak proof than ever before, or have better adhesive straps, more padding for greater comfort or special fabrics that suck that waste away from baby's tender bottom. And babies most definitely do not care how much these technological marvels they have strapped to their butts are clogging up our landfills, which of course they are.
Oh and one more thing: Is it really necessary to show naked babies crawling all over the place and plopping their pudgy buttocks on every space-age polymer they can find? I'll be quite happy to see a similar naked pic when she's 20, but I'd really rather not see her 6 month old squidgy baby butt on my telly when I'm trying to eat my dinner thank you very much!
Reality Television
Who are we trying to kid here? These shows are so far removed from reality they make a trip to an appliance shop to buy a toaster look like an opiate fuelled orgy in a hot tub filled with Lime Jello. I can't think of anything more mind-numbingly boring than watching a bunch of painfully uninteresting, talentless, backstabbing, whining, personality deficient wanna-bes sitting about in a house doing parlour tricks for food, or pathetic washed up C-list celebrities running about in a jungle trying desperately to get into the pants of the aging bleach-blonde bimbo with the plastic tits. I'd sooner carve an extra head on Mount Rushmore with a cocktail straw than waste my time watching that mindless rubbish.
Fancy Gadgets on Cars
Electrically heated mirrors, headlights with wiper blades, computer controlled suspension, electrically operated seats, ergonomically designed controls, Sat Nav systems, intelligent wipers, obstacle avoidance systems, on-demand four wheel drive, hands free car phones, power sun roofs, cruise control, drinks coolers, microwave ovens..... Give me a freakin' break! Most drivers haven't even mastered the lowly turn signal, let alone all these needless gimmicks. Is it any wonder road deaths are on the rise when we're more concerned with driver comfort and convenience than driver intelligence?? The most intelligent vehicle in the world is no match for plain old human stupidity and personally I'm getting rather tired of having to jump out of the way of some twat in a suit talking on his mobile phone whilst sucking back the half-decaf latté he's just nuked in the glove compartment microwave and playing with his Sat Nav when he should be watching the road.
Like the razor, the ubiquitous toothbrush has undergone a drastic upgrade since the days of my youth. Back then, (and I'm talking the '70s here, not the dark ages) you had a choice of 2 kinds of toothbrushes: synthetic bristle or natural bristle. You could have different coloured handles of course, but that's pretty much it. Nowadays, the lowly toothbrush has been escalated to the lofty heights that our technologically transfixed society demands, or so we're led to believe anyway. Not content with the up and down brushing motion we were taught as kids, the modern dental hygiene appliance rotates, gyrates, vibrates, exfoliates, defoliates - hell, probably even levitates if you try hard enough. I'm mesmerised by the choice every time I buy a new toothbrush, and not in a good way. And hey, guess what? We still have to go to the dentist every six months to have the petrified plaque that the toothbrush couldn't get scraped off our teeth.
Ridiculous Research & Surveys
We've all read about them and I'm sure we've all been equally baffled as to why oodles of time and our money has been spent on them. Most of it is self-serving market research of course, the results of which can then be manipulated any way the sponsor likes. For every government study that says smoking is bad for you for instance, there's a study that says it actually isn't quite as bad as we think. Funnily enough, all of the latter studies seem to be sponsored by tobacco companies. Go figure. Why, just a couple of months ago I heard a revelation on the radio that said a recent study had shown that most people live for the weekends so they can go out and get pissed and forget about their horrible jobs for a while. No shit Elwood. Gee, was that one sponsored by alcoholic beverage companies by any chance?
Of course we musn't forget the endless streams of government reports telling us what a great job they're doing and how poverty and crime are falling. Never you mind all those other surveys telling us both are on the rise. Forget about the 92 year old lady who was beaten up and robbed of her pension cheque and the fact that the police didn't turn up for an hour and a half because what few officers they have left after budget cuts are so mired in paperwork they can't get a cup of coffee without filling out form 32691CF-Z in triplicate. Nosirree.... the surveys have spoken. All is well with the world, and there's more than enough money in the coffer for a bit more research. So how often does the average citizen blow his or her nose anyway? Let's put a research team together to find out.
So sit back and revel in these marvels of our little world. Now think of all the time, manpower and cash wasted on them and where we might be today if we had spent all those resources on something worthwhile like the basics of a decent society: food, clothing, shelter and clean air & water for its citizens. Or at the very least, we should have spent it on a spaceship capable of transporting the human race to another planet. Then, when we've made this place completely uninhabitable, we'll have an escape and we can start ruining a whole new planet. Perhaps I'll run a survey to find out how many hair salons the spacecraft should have....
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