Top 10: Things That Insult Your Intelligence
1. The News
Now I’m as interested in current affairs as the next boring bastard but I have to object to the artificial package of sensationalism that is the capital N News. I can cope with the selective, sometimes subjective nature of the news product (they can’t tell us everything), but I have to raise an eyebrow at the almost fictional narrative that news providers create. Am I thick? Am I really supposed to believe that world events fall neatly into Big Event, Missing Person, Political Upheaval, Human Interest, Funny Local? They might as well just make it up. Also, from the urgent percussive heartbeat of the theme music to the ‘situation for dummies’ graphics, the whole thing is aiming squarely at someone with the intellectual powers of a five year-old, or an actual five year-old.
The only single thing that gets me through the annual tabloid marathon of shit that is X-Factor (apart from Dermot’s handkerchiefs) is the depressingly earnest manner in which Cheryl Cole/Tweedy/Cole negotiates the rise of fall of each year’s crop of karaoke hopefuls. I find it fascinating, even though I shouldn’t be watching in the first place. She takes it all so seriously. The thing is, the poor bint has to take it all uber-seriously because her whole persona is born of the exact same reality TV nonsense. Admittedly, there is a sense of poetic equilibrium to her career, but no, I refuse to take her seriously as a pundit, critic, singstar expert, or even celeb. She’s not. She’s one fifth of the band that lost out to One True Voice. I’m not fooled.
This one’s difficult, because stories are so fundamental to the human experience. But they are, and you have to agree, fairly insulting to the average intelligent mind. Not in their aims or execution, but in the far-too-tidy manner in which they unfold and are resolved. In reality, narratives don’t start and end neatly. They don’t really start and end at all – we just put the demarcations in. But from childhood onwards we are coached to believe that all stories begin with a situation, enter complication, move towards a climax and end with resolution. Life just doesn’t work that way and to think otherwise is to be seriously deluded.
As if we ALL need to work ALL the time to keep this excellent (sarcasm) economic system of ours going. There’s enough stuff on this planet for all 6 billion of us to share equally and we have the technology to have most of our needs met with little difficulty. Why then do we spend so much time and energy slaving away during the majority of our waking hours, just to feed ourselves, clothe ourselves and buy stuff we don’t need? The world of work renders every last one of us a certified grade A mug.
The chances of selecting six numbers selected at random out of 50 by a machine with the name of a knight of the Round Table is about 14 million to one. 14 million to one. Let me repeat that. 14 million. To one. That means that you are more likely to get struck lightning than to get six numbers on the lottery. And who was the last unfortunate bastard you know who got struck by lightning? Exactly. The National Lottery claims ‘It Could Be You’. Really? Don’t talk bollocks. It can’t and it won’t be you, or me, or anyone else you know. Ever. In fact, I’m fairly certain that all these supposed lottery winners are faked by the lottery people just to encourage poor people to keep on parting with their pound coin in the vain hope of getting some free cashish.
Are we honestly supposed to believe that McDonald’s is supposed to be some kind of paragon of healthy eating with individually named cows grazing on the hills of Sussex and farmers hand plucking potatoes that their buxom wives then go on to slice into organically cut French Fries? Because that’s what their adverts would have us believe – as if we’re stoopid or something. Dear McDonald’s: we KNOW you’re an evil international conglomerate which thrives off slave labour and dirt cheap produce filled with sugar/salt and peddled at hugely inflated prices. It’s ok, we can handle it. And when we’re drunk/ starving/ accompanied by 6 year-olds we’re happy to put down money to buy your overpriced plastic food. Just don’t pretend you’re giving us our five a day in a Big Mac, alright?
Colour TV, of course, video, yep. DVD, a natural progression, Blu-Ray, you’re pushing it 3D TV? What? Just ask us for money. No-one needs to sit at home with some bloody weird specs on to enjoy the rare delights of Gardener’s World in three whole dimensions, and no-one is fooled. Rich dads beware – you will be looking at dead technology within the decade, with silly specs on.
Am I supposed to believe that the people who end up in the seat of power just happen to all be public school educated and/ or from what I believe to be the landed gentry? Because I don’t. Your average sample of UK politicians looks suspiciously like a roll-call of Old Boys from some society of Masons or something. I hate to get all political on you but we all know that The Rich Shall Inherit The Earth. It’d be naïve to assume otherwise, and insulting when the powers-that-be try to throw proletariat credentials at voters. Even left wing socialist heroes like ‘Red’ Ken Livingstone have never had a proper job. We’re not fooled.
Sex does not, has not and will not ever look like what pornography suggests it does. I’m not talking about the amateur hour user-content variety you might find knocking about on the information superhighway, but rather the high-res glossy variety. No-one approaches sex like that, people don’t look like that, and girls aren’t that willing to have bodily fluids cover themselves like that. I feel sorry for the generation of teenage boys who have been raised on an unhealthy diet of net-porn. Their expectations are all confused and they must actually believe that there is some kind of correlation between porn and actual sex. The rest of us, thankfully, can look on and frown. (Is my girlfriend still reading? Have I gotten myself out of trouble yet?)
An omniscient, omnipotent being responsible for all creation who watches and judges our every action and awaits our arrival after death? Yeah ok. It’s like Father Christmas for grown-ups.