Written By: - Date published: 9:46 am, December 27th, 2013 - 90 comments
Categories: benefits, brand key, class war, democracy under attack, election 2014, news, political alternatives, poverty, spin - Tags:
First came the consumerist perversion of an (allegedly) Christian festival, leading up to the 25th December. During this period, the original *Christian message related to the birth of Jesus (“peace and good will to all men”) was marginalised.
As Wednesday approached, the MSM kept tally of how well the retail sector of society was doing – such meaningless stats based on turn over of resources, whether or not that contributes to the well being of our society.
The MSM, as usual, focused on the very good work of those administering foodbanks and City Mission Christmas meals, in order to ease any sense of guilt some may have at the excess of consumerism during the (alleged) season of “good will”. A window on charity during a few days of the year, while the underlying causes and solutions to soul-destroying poverty barely get a look in.
Then, once that day was over, we had all the news reports on how well the Boxing Day sales were going, with triumphant reports of record sales – except for in Lower Hutt, where the failings of another branch of the corporate wealth-extractors resulted in the day of sales being (unintentionally) sabotaged.
Retailers were fuming after a Vodafone glitch shut down eftpos for hours on the busiest shopping day of the year.
A broadband server problem with Vodafone crashed eftpos at some Lower Hutt shops from about 10.30am yesterday, with some experiencing problems through till late afternoon.
Many shops, including a number in the packed Westfield Queensgate Shopping Centre, were unable to process transactions because of the outage.
Oh, the outrage!
How can so many dance to the tune of the wealthy corporates, with the uncritical echo chambers in the MSM acting as cheerleaders?! Queue for some quotes from a very pertinent Guardian article, as linked to on open mike yesterday by Paul: ‘Brainwashed by the cult of the super rich” by Priyamvada Gopal.
Last week, Tory MP Esther McVey, Iain Duncan Smith’s deputy, insisted it was “right” that half a million Britons be dependent on food banks in “tough times”. Around the same time, the motor racing heiress Tamara Ecclestone totted up a champagne bill of £30,000 in one evening. A rich teenager in Texas has just got away with probation for drunkenly running over and killing four people because his lawyers argued successfully that he suffered from “affluenza”, which rendered him unable to handle a car responsibly. What we’ve been realising for some time now is that, for all the team sport rhetoric, only two sides are really at play in Britain and beyond: Team Super-Rich and Team Everyone Else.
The rich are not merely different: they’ve become a cult which drafts us as members. We are invited to deceive ourselves into believing we are playing for the same stakes while worshipping the same ideals, a process labelled “aspiration”. Reaching its zenith at this time of year, our participation in cult rituals – buy, consume, accumulate beyond need – helps mute our criticism and diffuse anger at systemic exploitation.
And this cult of the rich is being actively promoted by such shows as Downton Abbey and, while damaging inequalities, and socially-destructive poverty are dismissed through a nasty, Dickensian meanness of spirit. This meanness of spirit is personified by NZ’s bennie-bashing, poverty-policing minister, Paula Bennett. And she is enabled in doing this by the smile-and-wave front John Key presents to the MSM, while performing his nasty, sneering stand-up routine to the minority of Kiwis who watch Question Time in the House.
Bennett and Key – the two faces of the cult of the rich: one who went from social security state house to wealth extracting millionaire, the other from state supported single motherhood to minister of austere poverty. (Or is it more than two faces of the cult, given Key shows at least two faces at various times?)
Gopal ends her article:
Cultish thinking means that the stupendously rich who throw small slivers of their fortunes at charity, or merely grace lavish fundraisers – like Prince William’s Winter Whites gala for the homeless at his taxpayer-funded Kensington Palace home – with their presence, become instant saints. The poor and the less well-off, subject to austerity and exploitation, their “excesses” constantly policed and criminalised, are turned into objects of patronage, grateful canvasses against which the generosity of wealth can be stirringly displayed. The cult of the rich propounds the idea that vast economic inequalities are both natural and just: the winner who takes most is, like any cult hero, just more intelligent and deserving, even when inherited affluence gives them a head start.
We are mildly baffled rather than galvanised into righteous indignation when told that the rich are being persecuted – bullied for taxes and lynched for bonuses. The demonising of the poor is the flip side of the cult of the rich or, as a friend puts it, together they comprise the yin and yang of maintaining a dismal status quo. It is time to change it through reality checks, not reality shows.
Several important months coming up folks, as we get closer to the election date. These are the realities that need to be understood, discussed and circulated.
*[I’m not a Christian, though was brought up in that religion].