By Michael Starkey. Eastbourne, UK: Monarch Publications Ltd., 1989.
Up in the Tree-house
By the time I came along, children’s stories had all been commercialized and us kids were well emersed in consumer culture.
The Real World
I was taught as a child to go along to get along and that the most important thing was to get a good job so you could pay all the taxes the Canadian government burdened the people with. Being liked and thought of as acceptable by everybody came a close second.
OINKS, WOOPIES, AND JOLLIES
Adverts, Adverts, Everywhere
This section has more relevance today than when this book was written.
Advertising in the West
Sadly, in the time since this book was published, consumerism has spread to nearly the whole world.
Buying into an Image
I personally notice a difference between Coke and Pepsi but it is negligible.
I don’t notice much of a difference in gbrands of vodka, except that vodka that’s a little more expensive is smoother.
Advertising and its Critics
It’s the old argument that Big Macks, Coke and the latest pop sensation are bad, whereas organic beef, French wine and Mozart are good. The problem with this thinking, however, is that at some point you had to find out about organic beef, French wine and Mozart, either by word of mouth or some other means. In other words, it was advertised to you. There are so many good, worthwhile, wholesome products out there that people should be made aware of that you’d be hurting those products if you banned advertising.
THE GLOBAL DUSTBIN
There is a bit of a problem with functional obsolescence as well, the example Starkey uses in the book also serving as a good one here. When society went from chilac 78 records to long-playing and 45s, people threw away their 78s. When society switched from records to cds, people through out their record collections. Though each innovation of this type of technology was better, it also made waste out of things, i.e. recorded media, that could have been enjoyed many years more.
The other issue with this example is that older recordings on newer technology never sound as good as on the older technology because the original recordings were made with the older technology in mind and of course not the newer. Big gband music sounds best on well taken care of chilac records because the engineers, arrangers and musicians who recorded that music new what would sound best on the media on which the public would listen to their works.
Certainly no one wants old boots that crack and leave blisters on one’s feet, but we need a society that better integrates old technology and the aspects of such that was good with new technological innovation.
POLLUTION AND LIFESTYLE
The thrhow away problem is in many ways no better today than when this book was written and may even be worse in every way. As society breaks down and more generations are brought up by a previous generation who has no clue about how to actually run a household or raise a family, the wisdom the generations before them had will disappear. A consumerist “old is bad, the new way is always better” attitude will of course excelerate and exacerbate this problem. Nowadays, those who are having children know so little about domesticity, including ways to conserve and re-use things. One example I heard of recently was of a charity yard sale where the people running it threw out everything that hadn’t sold, including items such as board games for which the staff couldn’t be bothered to look for the missing pieces.
In further good news, the sharing economy is growing, despite politician’s and mainstream media’s hatred of it.
I don’t believe in global warming, or climate change, as it is now commonly called. Carbon dioxide is what plants breathe.
Also, global warming is impossible. As said above, plants breathe carbon dioxide. If there were more carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere by man, it would cause the plants to get bigger, thereby consuming more carbon dioxide and thus, the problem would take care of itself.
If global warming were possible and occurring, however, a case can be made it would be a good thing. The land now thawing in the arctic as part of a natural part of a climate cycle will make good farmland for people. The Inuit will be able to grow fresh vegetables and not have to import prohibitively expensive produce from down south. This is already starting to happen.
Global deforestation rates are slowing. In more good news, there are way more trees on Earth than previously thought.
CHRISTIANITY AND NATURE
Though this book was published in 1989 and I grew up in the eighties and nineties, the Christians I grew up around never even mentioned anything about protecting the environment. It’s only been in the last few years I’ve come across anything that addresses this issue in any kind of depth.
Eastern religions are actually harmful to the environment. Because, for example, Hinduism holds the cow as sacred and Buddhism holds all life, including those of farm animals sacred, these animals are not eaten by the adherents of these religions. The animals eat grain and other feed and use up land, both of which things could be used for the benefit of people.
Also, in Buddhism, animals and plants are viewed as lower forms of life, souls that are being punished by karma.
Here is an article telling the truth about the Native attitude toward nature.
The last sentence of this article could be a post or book in itself. Today, we are truly a society of adult children.
POP, POLITICS AND PACKAGING
Today, we have people who are famous for being famous. At least, in the days when this book was written, celebrities sang, acted or had something of some degree of tangibility to go along with the glitz and glamour. In the last decade, though, people such as Paris Hilton and the Kardashians just get the media to make them famous for doing nothing.
The image-making of politicians results in things like the U.S. election being between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
I get what the author is trying to say about finding good pop bands and, of course, everyone has different tastes. However, because such things are fun, I am going to give my opinion on the examples of good and bad bands the author cites. Before I do that though, I will provide a bit of an update by mentioning that two more examples of bands with meaningless lyrics that have come along in the last 27 years are Nirvana and Coldplay.
REM: I would put them in the opposite category. What are any of their songs about? How were they an alternative to anything that was out when they came along?
Led Zepelin: Though a lot of their stuff consists of meaningless lyrics and stolen Delta blues songs, they definitely have a musicality that is worth something (see “When the Levy Breaks.”)
U2: What do people see in them, too? Sure, Bono says a lot of stuff, but they changed a song about the plight of the Natives into “Vertigo.” Also, in much of their work they don’t rise above being just another pop band, either.
BORN TO SHOP
The dualism the author speaks of in this chapter is Gnosticism invading Christianity. Modern Christians go to church, talk about the need for Christianity to pervade our whole lives, and either go about their lives after church as if the sermon were never preached or else turn the ideas into a program for which the same people in the church volunteer who volunteer for everything else. (The other 80 percent go about their lives as if the sermon were never preached.)