An advertisment from Dystopia, and a future of permanent isolation

 

I’m not usually one to show my emotions in the middle of the centre of the town where I live (there’s too many bored eyes, looking for something to surprise them) but today I found my mouth making the shape of “what the fuck?!?” as I looked up at a telescreen in the town’s shopping centre. I noticed an advertisement: “Spy on Cheaters”. I thought I’d mis-read, but I hadn’t. “Spy on Cheaters: buy your own mini surveillance camera, so that you can spy on your suspected cheating partner.
Now, for many already stated reasons, I have an utter dislike for entire spectrum of advertisement in modern society (even the advertisements by Charity groups seem, somehow, to only bolster advertising’s stronghold over us), but capitalising on certain things is like cutting through morals and respect with a cheese slicer. This is one of these very adverts, which have the feeling of randomly appearing in our world from some parallel, much more dystopian world. But perhaps that’s just it: these disgraceful adverts, and our general ambiguity to their intrusion into our lives, is actually an indication that our world is in fact dystopian (there must be a fine line where a civilisation crosses over into a dystopia – an a citizen of, say, 30 years previous would probably observe our current situation with alarm). This advert wouldn’t look out of place in a 3 minute commercial loop containing pay-per-view executions, or, alternatively, Death row talent shows, in which someone awaiting execution can be freed from death, if they win a contest to become a pop singer. That’s how low commerce will be prepared to stoop at some point along these current tracks.
Back to the actual product of cameras to spy on cheaters: like all products advertised, they don’t need to satiate a need, they actually seek to create a need. Thus, for someone in a relationship, with a moderate level of paranoia (which is more than normal for 21st century living) the very idea that these products are on sale, may just inch them into concluding that if infidelity is apparently so rife in the present, then they too should take these cautious measures. All adverts bolster a society based on social anxiety and forced-selfishness – the more adverts there are the less room there is to see an alternative world not totally based on commerce, and thus the less chance to notice when adverts go well below the belt of what is decent. Adverts also bolster a society of people who are so wrapped up in self-interest that they feel almost permanently isolated. Nevertheless, being a single, isolated person, I have always come to believe that a relationship with somebody may actually go some distance towards healing up the wounds of isolation.
Not so it seems, if advertisements such as this are to prevail more so in the future (which if you take the current political environment into consideration, and assume that insecurity about the self and right wing attitudes are going flourish further on a more-than-ever global scale, seems very likely). It appears that a market can now be made out of anything, (I still believe that cell phones, Internet communication, are still processes heading towards a complete marketisation of human interactions, to the point where the isolated individual will have no choice but to pay for almost every conversation he/she has). Markets can be made out of prising open relationship bonds, creating a feeling that nobody is worth trusting. We risk becoming so isolated that rapid advances in technologies for a CyberSex market will be needed to cater for ever-more lonely people.
The next stop in town for me was the Superdrug store: needed some roll-on deodorant , or should i say that I felt like I needed some (grown to fear the idea that others around me may actually be able to detect a natural odour coming from me). As I was queuing I noticed that the Shop sold magazines. Every magazine was coated with the flesh of a female celebrity to the extent that is was a sea of pink and colourful bikinis: actors such as she who plays Sophie Webster in the soap Coronation Street, who appear to have been reared from child actor into young, sex, desired piece of meat (this seems to be a trend with young female actors, and it’s almost institutionalised grooming-for-sex, or even institutionalised paedophilia – which, from afar, seems no less perverted than the acts of those who society collectively perceives as the scum of the earth: those who sleep with underage girls ). How can this true bond with another person even be fully achievable, whilst we are shown that every perceived role-model, from soap star to female politician (think of French president Sarkozy’s wife, or US Republican candidate Sarah Palin) is presented as nothing more than desirable flesh? Are we not already near a place where individuals in a revered position participate in pornography for the rest of us to view?
All peoples are attracted by the sight of their desired sex, but it doesn’t mean that they appreciate this forced arousal – which is basically what an individual is put through in this perpetual endless city. I would go as far as to say that all that I have seen whilst in my young adult years that has led me to feel that it would be so hard to trust someone – let alone trust myself to be as one with another – are entirely human behavioural aspects magnified by the capitalist system, not merely human behaviour in itself. (Even before I started to be aware of the full extent of capitalist exploitation, I wrote the song lyrics “there is no hope for a stable life when you’re taught to buy then sell your wife” for a song named Generation Slut). I just fear that Capitalism is slowly eradicating any chances of escaping isolation – for all of us.
But it has also twisted our desires over the years to focus our eyes on traits which will continue this isolation process. I know that a woman manicured to celebrity-endorsed perfection (which penetrates far deeper than you’d expect, I’m not just referring to those from, sadly, usually from the poorer quarters who seem to gleam ever-more orange from layers of fake tan, – some level of this perfection half-expected of everyone) would be a totally wrong person for me to attempt to be with. Nevertheless, I am also aware that what attracts me has been so manipulated by years of marketing bombardment, that I am most certainly more attracted to a vision created by celebrity-endorsed perfection (it’s much less blatant to the eye than your Kerry Katona,Jordan lookalikes would suggest), than someone who isn’t so manicured to an extent where there’s no room for anything but narcissistic adoration.
But this is great for the economy for us to be funneled into this homogeneous desire. Imagine the status anxiety caused by ‘acquiring’ (that’s the correct word to use) one of these people, and then imagine the amount of products (beautification products, status symbol products) which could be directed you way in order to quell that anxiety. Imagine the amount of money to be made out a wedding which would be so status driven (grand cars, grand hotels, dresses, fireworks, the list goes on), a wedding so wrapped up in self-interest, hooked on Disneyfied dreams of the most perfect wedding ever, out shadowing any true love which may lie in there (I work at a place where I witness wedding ceremonies, and, my god, they get more overblown and stupid each time – a full choir Elton John, and a wedding inside an American Indian Tipi – A wedding inside an American Indian Tipi in West Yorkshire). Then imagine the paranoia – possibly starting from day 1, as your status-acquired macho friends drool over your new wife. So, yes (like the cuddly bear of the generation game) here comes those ‘SPY ON CHEATS’ cameras!
Then there’s finally the money to made out of the divorce procedures!
Hello to the world of isolation!!!!

I’m sorry, but that’s why I can never show any enthusiasm for anything in the arts involving enterprise, growth, business. It’s all going downhill in my opinion. Commerce is dragging everything downhill.
Isolation can only increase when our attraction to the opposite sex is manipulated into a consumption of flesh.
Violence can only increase when markets manipulate distrust.
Inequality can only increase whilst we are reared to care about Number 1 only
But also, climate change will only be hastened, when we are constantly trying to protect ourselves at the cost of all around u

About John Ledger

A visual Artist, eternal meanderer and obsessive self-reflector by nature, who can’t help but try to interpret everything from within the tide of society. His works predominantly take the form of large scale ballpoint pen landscape drawings and map-making as social/psychological note-making. They are slowly-accumulating responses to crises inflicted upon the self in the perplexing, fearful, empty, and often personality-erasing human world.

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