Last week I went to buy a notebook which, as any writer will know, is a very important purchase. But as I was on a budget, I ventured into a bargain stationery store.
I entered the shop, thinking I was looking for an aesthetically-bound stack of paper to put MY OWN thoughts into; but no, apparently what I needed was a magic journal fashioned by the fingers of a sage with the antidote to our collective existential angst written on the side; preferably in quirky font; (probably in pink since such products are mostly aimed at ‘us ladies and girls’ who will apparently dissolve into dust if we lay our eyes on any other colour).
As if trapped in a sci-fi horror where the monsters were slogans stolen from places where they once might have made some kind of sense but were now malevolently meaningless, one hundred creepy exhortations whispered at me from the shelves:
Live, laugh, love, they told me…don’t worry, be happy…enjoy every moment (I’m sorry, I will never enjoy a mammogram)...believe it to achieve it… (What does it mean please?) And of course, live each day as your last (No, thank-you, it would make me quite tense).
It seems my tolerance for infantilising reductionist sayings pretending to be my friend in order to slyly steal my money has been stretched to breaking point.
We have confused marketing with wisdom.
I’m sorry to sound cynical (if you’ve read any previous posts, you’ll know how idealistic I actually am), but when bank adverts are now emotional cinematic masterpieces reassuring us we’re not alone, maybe some critical thinking is needed, no?
(Cue wistful slowed down version of a pop song, beautiful galloping horses, a community coming together on a wild beach and lumps in our throats until………..Wait a minute: capitalism solves alienation problem??? I don’t think so! )
Maybe we’ll buy into anything that seems to reassure us against the essentially terrifying facts of our existence…we don’t know what we’re doing; pain is unavoidable; if we love we are going to experience loss; we are all going to die, yes, even you….
Hmm…I should bring out my own stationery….