Wednesday 3 October 2007

Watch the Screen

A two week deal in Singapore
prices slashed like never before,
we can find insurance deals,
children's toys and ready meals.

Celebrity Big Brother starts at nine,
don't these diamond rings look fine?
What is nasty, what is nice?
Both can be altered, for a price.

Cookers, fridges, freezers, beds.
Keep these images in your heads.
Stay on the sofa, watch the screen,
not just the films, but what's in between.

Garden sheds and double glazing,
a higher premium on your savings,
a house, a car, two kids, a wife,
we'll give meaning to your life.

Work for five days, spend for two,
the power for us, the product for you,
and amidst this shining array of choices,
no one will hear the dissenting voices.


Anonymous said...

The mistake you make, Mr Ingsoc, is to believe that poverty is somehow enlightening. To test this theory out I suggest your go and asked some genuinely poor people. There are plenty about.

People get freer as they become more comfortable, not less free as you would like to think.

Anonymous said...

But no one is actually forced to watch tv or by useless shit are they? Its their stoopid fault if they do.

Anonymous said...

we are a bunch of money slaves... guinea pigs to the system. in the end, even the rich and powerful, are all monkies.

Anonymous said...

OK, so lay it out here. Crushed's ideal life in practical detail for 24/7.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a poem for capitislism and the all suburban dream.

It's not really that bad. I mean we are all just existing and trying to be happy, if you look on it in the micro level. I think most of us out here 'doing the dream' are pretty happy with it.

Simpler was not always easier. It's just easy to say that it was.

Anonymous said...

That was brilliant. Kudos!

Anonymous said...

Ed- I'm not saying poverty is enlightening. But we are all conned into thinking we need to spend money at a stupid rate and work tridiculously to do so.

Yes, I COULD do with more money, I guess we all could. But what would you do with it?

Comfort is one thing, spending for the sake of it suits them, not us.

Mutley- In our society the only real sign of status is how much money you can spend how fast.
People fall into the trap, not realising that the power is held by those with the unspent reserves.

Raffi- Power is held by those who control the distribution of resources. They keep reinforcing to us th goodies they can give us the more we enslave ourselves.
In fact, we don't really want their goodies.
They convince us to ditch all the more important things, such as time with friends, etc, to buy new carpets, when the ones have are fine, just an 'unfashionable' colour.

jmb- Well, I just believe that we earn spending tokens. As long as we have enough to feed us, house us, and allow us to enjoy the things we enjoy doing, thats it.
They makle us aspire to have more than we want, but most of us will never have enough to turn the wealth we have into REAL power, so seriously, why bust a gut over it?

Betty- I'm happy, because I can buy what I want and need, mainly.
But I look at the stuff advertised on TV and think why would I ever want this stuff?

The idea of wasting £500 of my hard earned cash on a three piece suite seems daft to me. I paid £50 for mine second hand.
And a George Forman grill? Or a bread maker? Or a Black and Decker workmate?

What is the POINT of all this crap?

Alexys- :) I could be sure you'd appreciate it- I can't see them ever enslaving you.

Anonymous said...

Capitalism has freed so many people.

Bob Geldoff or Bono may continually harp on about poverty, but they fail to admit that the capitalists (tempered by unions) are far more effective at irradicating it than activists ever were. The ordinary people of the West are liberated slaves - why don't these stupid pop artists acknowledge this incredible success instead of trying to solve the world's problems by spending other, poorer, people's money ?

My grandfather spent his life slaving in the hot bowels of a ship for a pittance, others in my family spent 12 hours a day in the coal mines literally grinding away at the coal face. Kids used to be sent up chimneys or grafted away in dusty factories - slave-like conditions are within living memory for many an Englishman.

We may as well enjoy these days of choice while we can, I'm sure they'll pass soon enough thanks mostly to progressive teachers who think education is about venerating failed cultures. And thanks to politicians and popstars who salve their consciences by always making sure that others pay for their largesse.

What is missing from our lives is not the realisation that we are being 'manipulated' (manipulation is a necessary part of capitalism). Part of the malaise infecting those lucky enough to live in the liberated West is the absense of a sense of GRATITUDE.

Happiness cannot exist without there first being a feeling of gratitude - any Buddhist will tell us that.

Anonymous said...

Spot on EK.

Anonymous said...

Well then we need more balance in our lives - I for one do not judge people by how much money they have or how much meretricious junk they buy... nor do I view life as an end sum game, nor do I wish to compete with anyone...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Gratitude is where it's at E-K. My inner Stalinist says: all UK kids should get to go on holiday to a third world country at some point. There is nothing like it to remind them that all the stuff in the world is not necessary to be happy, productive and loving.

I think we have a moral duty to be grateful!

Anonymous said...

So poetically creative, Crushed.

Anonymous said...

Only capitalism protects the individual's freedom of thought and his right to his own life.
A system that sacrifices the self to "society" is a system of slavery—and a system that sacrifices thinking to coercion is a system of brutality. This is the essence of any anti-capitalist system, whether communist or fascist.
I think you need to observe, Mr Crushed, that you yourself are driven by market forces and, believe it or not, money!

Anonymous said...

Crushed, I like this a lot, even if I hear the theme tune to Only Fools and Horses playing in the back of what it please me to call my mind. Of course we don't constantly need new stuff, but if we didn't keep consuming, how would the poor ickle corporations survive?

E-K, really, was it the capitalists who stopped our grandparents working in wretched conditions? Who the bloody hell do you think they were working for? I suppose it was the Trade Unions forcing children up chimneys? Oh, and let's say a word of thanks to St Margaret for improving the lot of miners by closing down the pits.

Anonymous said...

E-K- You forget that all that's actually happened- in reality- is that NATIONAL class structures have been replaced by a GLOBAL one.

When Blair said 'we're all middle class now', he was right.

The third world is the global proleteriat, we it's bourgousie.

Even so, we are still fools. We work our arse off and get into debt to spend money on stuff we don't really get any satisfaction out of- because we want to buy a lifestyle. Our gullibility keeps the system ticking over.

Yes, we should be grateful. Grateful that we enjoy the fruits of the poverty of most of the world's people.

Ed- Look at the amount of effort you put into earning your money. Look at how you spend it.
Was the pleasure worth the pain?

For me it is, because I 'squander' it on entertaining myself.
I'll happily spend £400 in HMV, but in DFS?

Mutley- I have seen six bedroomed executive homes with a beautiful stereo system, but about thirty CDs, all of them commercial crap.
And I just think 'You don't get this living business, do you?'

As far as I see it, it doesn't matter how much material goods you purchase, if you're dull, you're dull.
Money can be useful- if spent productively.

Mu Tai- Glad you appreciated it :)

Lilith- We have a duty not just to be grateful, but appreciative of the rest of the world who pay the price.

I think many choose to ignore this unpleasant truth, but I've learnt to just accept it and selfishly reap the benifts of mt privleged position as a British citizen to live in luxury while Darfur rages.

Because to do anything about it, means giving up my comfortable life, and I'm just not that big a hero.
Which is where all of us in the west are, if we faced it.

James- I don't really write poetry that often, but occasionally I get inspired and can rattle them off.

I think it will always be an expressive medium, because rhythm reinforces words.

I think it is an ignored medium these days- if Andrew Motion can make poet laureate...

Nuff said.

Stan- Tell that to Tim Ireland.

Actually, I don't agree- a system that means anyone is beholden to another to put a roof over his head and feed himself id slavery, even if wage slavery is a gentler form of it.

Yes, I am driven by market forces- I freely admit it, in fact my line of work is one of the most glaring iconic symbols of capitalism.

I prosper from it, but I don't count the way I earn my bread is being one of the most moral features of my life, it's just convenient.
It coincides with the talents I have.

Ian- Well, this is the point. The system works best the FASTER people spend. If we slow down our consumption, wwe all get poorer.
That's Boom-Bust for you.

Nuts, isn't it?

I can see the Only Fools and Horses thing now you point it out.
I guess it's partly the rhythm- but also the theme.

Anonymous said...

Stan, I refuse to buy into your reductivist schema, whereby you imply that anyone who has qualms about capitalism must therefore be either a communist or a fascist.

Also, tell the relatives of those who die as a result of corporate carelessness or unsafe working practices that capitalism protected their right to life and see how much protection that argument gives you.

We might not have gulags, although you could argue Guantanamo and the "secret" interrogation camps are on the same wavelength, but I'm not at all sure capitalism is the best of all possible systems. I can't help thinking that society is a worthier object of sacrifice than is profit.