Thursday, 20 December 2007

Festive spirit

Everybody around me is into this Christmas spirit. Should be cool, shouldn't it? Only that to me, as the neutral spectator who is not really used to this entire shebang, Christmas spirit seems all to do with shopping. And that's it.
I am very tired of hearing how people are behind in their Christmas shopping or hearing work colleagues negotiate their way around their Christmas shopping. It's just amazing how widely people can open their wallets, and for what? It's all stuff that the recipient does not necessarily want, and most of it is as original and as useful as used toilet paper. Want my advice? Do something good with your money and give some of it to Oxfam instead.
The things that annoys me the most is the waste. By now everyone agrees that global warming is a major issue (Melbourne's freak weather makes sure people are aware of that), but no one seems to be able to or to want to make the connection between that the indiscriminate consumption that is the Xmess season.
Take wrapping paper, for example. Who the hell needs wrapping paper? What is the point of wrapping paper? Is it to hide the poorness of your gifts?
You receive a wrapped up gift, you struggle with the wrapping paper for a few seconds, you chuck it aside, and that's it for the wrapping paper. On the way, however, you caused trees to be cut for the paper, oil to be burnt for processing the wood and turning it into paper, chemicals to be released in the making of the paper, and more oil to contaminate the planet for transporting the wrapping paper all the way from its plant in China to the shop near where you live. And a few second after it heads down to the nearest landfill site.
Wow! What a sense of purpose!

Talking about the festive season's sense of purpose, I have to say I'm really annoyed with the way the news covers fatalities on the roads. "The 26 year old dying on the eve of Christmas is the most tragic thing", they say (with slight variation, depending on the background of the deceased).
I can see it how it works. During the rest of the year, the father of the 26 year old tells the mother, "pass me the beer can, and, by the way, almost forgot, our son's dead". However, during the holidays, the conversation is entirely different: "Look at our son, how he managed to ruin our Christmas with his death".
The media is trying to go for a cheap headline, but what they end up doing is making people lives feel cheap. Any one person is worth much more than all the Xmesses throughout history.


Uri E. said...

1. does Jo feel the same way about wrapping paper? if so, I'll stop having amazon wrap up books. You, on the other hand, are going to get lots of wrapping paper (maybe with no gift inside)

2. newspapers (media in general) are interested in headlines. if a 26 year old dies in June htey'll talk all about how he was just about to get married or finish his PhD, or move into a new house or something. In Israel it's always "he was a month before his army discharge". It's not a way to belittle the death, it's to make it sound more meaningful and thus more interesting as a news item.

Moshe Reuveni said...

1. I don't know what Jo's attitude to wrapping paper exactly is. My impression is she likes it, but on the other hand she's just as much of a greeny as I am. On the other hand, who amongst us can say what the right thing for the environment is, given that we all drive and do plenty of redundant stuff on our planet's account?
You'll have to ask Jo directly or wait for her comment on this post.

2. I agree, I just think that this pretend added meaning just reduces the importance of what happened. A dead person would be just as dead a week before/after/during a major event, and people that keep on clinging to this "oh, it was just before Christmas" mantra are, as usual, people who don't think about what it is they're actually saying.