Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Global warnings and mental pollution

 With the deluge of tree-hugging catch phrases such as 'global warming', 'climate change' and 'eco-friendly', there's no doubt that the whole environment issue is a real hot potato.
The amount of research that has and still is being done is generating such enormous amounts of conflicting data that it's hard to know which side of the fence to sit on.
To me the most persuasive argument says that the planet has been through periods of climate change many times in it's history (lots of geological evidence) and the current shift is just part of this natural process. The influence of mankind with all it's industry, cars, planes and vast herds of flatulent cows is so trivial it's like having a sly wee whilst swimming. In the Atlantic.
Everyone is saying we all need to do our bit to save the planet and stop consuming so much of the planet's resources. They've stopped selling tungsten light bulbs, forcing us to buy either fluorescent ones, most of which have only reached optimum brightness just as you switch them off because you've done what you needed to, or prohibitively expensive LED ones.
We run economical (and therefore dull) cars because the government want to squeeze us for as much tax as possible on fuel, and we recycle as much of our waste as we can otherwise we get hippies wagging their fingers at us while giving us a disapproving glare.
Interestingly there is a flip side to this. We are no longer encouraged to fix anything when it goes wrong - just chuck it away and buy a new one. Indeed many things appear to be specifically designed to not come apart and are covered with 'No user serviceable parts inside' labels.
We're encouraged to ditch our old 'dirty' cars and buy a nice environmentally sound new model, without any mention of the carbon emissions associated with the production of a new car being enormous compared with keeping an old one going.
This is especially true of electric cars which have the added issues surrounding the manufacture of all the lithium batteries. I'm not knocking electric cars - I'd love to have a Tesla Model S - just pointing out the downsides, like the battery leasing costing just as much as I spend on petrol demonstrating that the whole money saving idea is utter bollocks. Not to mention that unless you have a small solar farm in your back garden, the 'cheap' electricity you're using to charge your car is just shifting the pollution from your tailpipe to the power station which in all likelihood is powered by burning fossil fuels.
Spending too much time worrying about this stuff is a waste of time, and it's not really the sort of pollution that gives cause for such concern.
It's my belief that the biggest source of pollution in our lives (apart from my bottom after consuming too many onions) is advertising.
You can't escape it, no matter how much you hide away. OK, if you decided to live under a rock in the middle of Australia's Great Victoria Desert you might escape it, but you'd get very bored and thirsty for a while before you got bitten by something poisonous and died a slow and agonising death, which a bit of an extreme solution to avoid someone who's trying to sell you dodgy household gadgets you never knew you needed via a catalogue shoved through your letterbox.
We're assaulted on all sides with advertising. TV is obviously the big one, and I've noticed that on the rare occasion I try to watch something on one of the commercial channels, they all show adverts at the same time. In the middle of a documentary about sharks or something, the ads come on so I do a bit of channel-surfing to find something more interesting while the rest of the world is trying to sell me a holiday in Dubai. No hope. All the channels do it at the same time so no matter where you go, you'll inevitably come face-to-face with the 'Compare The Market' meerkats.
I've always found TV adverts annoying since we had the 'Shake & Vac' woman back in the 80's, and when that diabolical opera-singing fatso started telling us to 'Go Compare' I lost the will to live. Seriously, what fuckwit committee came up with that one, eh? And as for the habit of showing ads just five minutes after the programme has begun and five minutes before the end, just don't get me started...
This is why I only watch BBC channels where possible, because the only thing they ever advertise is themselves.
The radio has the same problem. In these days of DAB radio there are plenty of stations to suit whatever musical taste you may have. But every couple of songs you're assaulted by commercials for companies you've never heard of trying to convince you to buy double-glazing. The other day one came on advertising a new housing development with "...affordable housing from only £349,000 pounds...". I couldn't believe what I was hearing - in whose world can 350K be considered affordable?
Both of these media are experts at making the most of any marketing opportunity, especially on the run-up to Christmas. This is just one reason why I hate Christmas, or 'The Annual Commercial Festival Of Greed And Gluttony' as I like to call it. Every time you turn on the TV there's some prick telling you to buy a new sofa for Christmas. What the hell does a sofa have to do with a religious festival? According to the Bible Jesus was laid in the donkey's food basket, not a DFS leather recliner.
My biggest pet hate when it comes to advertising though, has to be the cold-calling on the phone - especially the recorded messages about PPI and anything that begins with some American woman with a southern drawl saying "Congratulations!". I know they can't hear me, but shouting "Fuck off!" down the phone and hanging up does at least make me feel a little bit better. It's getting so bad I'm considering changing my number.
When I want or need something, I'll go and find it. I really don't need to be brainwashed and force-fed adverts for stuff, and the more they try and the more irritating the advert is, the less likely I am to buy the product.
As a firm believer in karma, it's my opinion that along with all the murderers and rapists, the last circle of hell is populated by advertising executives. Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch.
And here endeth today's rant.