Plastic Grass – the denial of living on a fragile planet
After just being shown a ‘top tip’ in a gossip magazine for plastic grass (a despair-in-humanity inducing page, even by gossip mag standards) ironically labeled as a ‘Brainwave’ it has been made clear that, although it is one of the worst examples I have seen, it is just an element of a trend which cannot be simply labelled as ‘for stupid people’: it’s an element of a trend in humanity to flee further from the reality they are facing by bolstering up their denials.
The ‘top tip’ was to have plastic grass in your garden instead of real grass because you don’t have to cut it (unfortunately, however, I do not have access to the original article. This is because all gossip magazine titles, no matter how colourful they are, translate into just one word in my head: shit). To anyone who doesn’t immerse themselves in gossip magazines to the extent where they take this tip on board, this is an utter absurdity which one would only expect to be used by residents of streets where the Christmas lights can be seen 5 miles away, who will all soon be homeless because they can’t pay the electricity bills. But these banal and destructive suggestions have a reason for being: they highlight a human tendency to bolster up their denials of looming problems of environmental destruction by living in a more plasticised and nature-less world. The more plasticised their lives become, the less the natural world interferes, the more real the illusion of unlimited resources – that things can go on for ever like this – becomes.
Of course, let’s not forget that the gossip magazines, perhaps more than any other kind of magazine, are hardwired into the system of consumerism. Although many who read them take them with a pinch of salt, I would say that they appeal to a collective who are almost entirely submerged in consumer culture. But blindly conforming to the tide of society in this way isn’t as clear cut as to say that these people don’t even know about the huge environmental and political problems facing us in this century. It is impossible not to know!, it is impossible not to sense that there is something seriously wrong with the way we live under this system. I just believe that those who are completely submerged in consumer culture are in hyper-denial: where their denial fills in for reality, so that one can carry on building a life and future for themselves in a type of world which is coming to an end.
I am notoriously poor at ‘blotting out’ the bigger picture than others (I am constantly told that this is detrimental to my well-being by people who don’t think about it most of the time, and I’ll be honest in saying that at times I would like to blot it out almost entirely also as, from an outside view, it does look to make life a lot easier to get through. But I am not like that, and all I can attempt to do is to turn it into a strength) But blotting out looming threats is a usual human tendency. A diet of the gossip mags, The X Factor, Vampire trilogies, retail shopping outlets and new cars (oh come one! I don’t think I’m generalising!) blots out the ’empty spaces’ where you’d probably have chance to gasp and think “oh fuck, we are totally screwed!”
This means that as the opportunities to prevent climatic catastrophes from happening fade and fade (and they are fading fast, I am talking about a few years not decades before the affects are irreversible) the need to build the illusion that it isn’t happening expands (although the ability to do this will be more costly, which seems plausible enough as those few with any money at all in the future will likely have it all, as the power of the corporation swells in the global ghetto). Thus, the idea of having plastic grass in ones garden instead of real grass (with real living creatures) becomes a plausible idea in society.
Of course if we all didn’t initially feel so powerless to so something about environmental destruction this farcical scenario would not need to exist. A society founded on togetherness, community and equality would be fit to challenge this problem. Likewise, green movements have to be left-leaning; you can’t bargain with capitalism on sustainability. Not only has capitalism directly caused the collapse of the natural environment it also creates a mental environment of self-centralism which exacerbates a problem at just a mention of the troubles it would bring, as it profiteers on peoples need to escape the truth, either by selling ‘green goods’ which create the illusion that the world can be saved simply by adopting a less toxic consumerism, or by simply by profiteering on a complete denial of our fragile 21st century existence.
The advertisement of Plastic grass to replace your garden’s real grass isn’t just just an indicator of how terrible gossip magazines are, it is an indicator of how terrible the times are.