Monthly Archives: April, 2009

The World is Going to Die and it’s All Our Fault

It’s a great thing to sit down with your eight year old nephew, watch a kid’s film and realise the world is going to die if we don’t get our shit together.

I suppose the title of this blog could be construed as slightly negative, but then so is the word ‘no’ and heaps of people use that word every day…

After a second viewing last evening (the first being last year), once again Wall-E amazed me with it’s ability to sum up the plight of our planetary universe through the format of an animated kids film. Sure, it won an Oscar® for best animated film, but it could have easily picked up more had it been thought of as more than just a kiddies flick (it was nominated for best screenplay, song, score, sound – what about picture, director all the big ones). Then you look at the Mr. Not Quite President Al Gore and his fancy animation of Florida going down the plug hole and think, “wow Albert, that was something quite frightening presented in a way that lulled us into a slow and painful brain death.”

The Wall-E view of the world presents earth as a wasteland, filled with skyscrapers of compacted rubbish, rivers oozing rather than flowing, everything with an all-round eery brown/gold hue. Humans, who have migrated from earth to live in space, have evolved into large blubbery creatures that are moved around on hovering gurneys with screens of information preventing them from viewing anything else of their surrounds. Constant advertisements play on these small personal screens and on much larger screens around the spaceship they live on.

I must say that seeing programmes now like ‘The Fattest Loser’ and ‘The Fat Doctor’ where people are more stored fat than anything else suggests that the human reality the makers of Wall-E present isn’t far from what we have now.

Rampant consumerism, which makes up a vast portion of the west’s current psyche, is also lampooned in this film. The call of “Blue is the new Red” is met with humans pressing a button on the arm-rests of their gurneys and their red suits turning a blue shade of blue.

The human need to consume a variety of bright sparkly things, many of which they don’t need, is what caused the current world financial meltdown.

People: I want that!

Banks: We can lend you some money to buy that if you want…

People: Well, I don’t actually have a job at the moment. I might not be able to pay you back.

Banks: Oh, that’s ok. Look, we’ve lent millions of dollars to people over the years. We know what we are doing. We wouldn’t be lending you the money if we didn’t think you were ‘good for it.’

People: Gee whizz, that’s fantastic. I’ll go out now and buy that house I’ve always wanted for my wife and kids.

Banks: Look, why don’t you shove an extra couple of zeros onto the number and get a new plasma screen TV, a hummer and another hummer?

People: Um… only if you’re sure.

2 years later…

Banks: Um.. can we have our money back please? We shouldn’t have perhaps lent to you in the first place.

People: Um… no you can’t have your money back. I don’t have it. I said I didn’t have a job when you lent it to me. I still don’t. So I can’t pay it back.

Banks: Umm… can we please have our money back? Pretty please?

People: No. I don’t have it. Whose idea was it to lend to the likes of me anyway?

Banks: Um… our chief executive… but he’s gone now.

Many, many times in the past few years I have struggled with Consumerbrain telling Moneybrain to rid itself of some balance. Moneybrain is quite strong these days, but in the old days of maxing out credit cards, I could easily have bought an i-phone without a second thought. Now days, with things like saving up for a future being a little bit more important than a new thing, Moneybrain is an all powerful being and Consumerbrain has been left high and dry on the overdraft platform waiting for another debt train to pick it up.

And what have the G20, other governments and organisations around the world offered as a solution to the financial crisis we have found ourself in – a financial crisis caused by people spending money they don’t have??? The central banks around the world have been slashing interest rates so that we… you guessed it… SPEND MORE BORROWED MONEY!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggghghghghghghghgh!!!!!

Idiots. Dickheads. Ibeciles. All of the above.

Obviously Consumerbrain still pulsates strongly through our political and business leaders. Those few people that control so much of our wealth and decision making processes are floundering. Capitalism has failed to provide in a way that is sustainable. Economy is cyclical. Up and down, in and out, boom and bust. It has gone on for years and years and years and it won’t stop just because the US government control all the banks. And then you have the Fox News tea-baggers (see last blog) who don’t want to pay any tax so that they can spend more of their money on piles of unnecessary shit.

Grrrrr.

Anyhoo, Wall-E does offer hope for the earth. In the end, after 700 years, plant life does return to earth. Humans return to begin repopulating with a new, more sustainable outlook. Caring for what they have because when they return to earth they have hardly anything.

If you have too much of a good thing you will definitely take it for granted. Stop spending, start living.

Boon x

Various Items

I know a few weeks back I did say that I was going to blog more often. I just realised yesterday that I completed just three of these quick ones before my hugely busy life got the better of me once more. It’s been nearly two weeks since my last blog….

What can happen in a few weeks? Not much, as it happens.

GM are pinning all their hopes on a car called the “Volt” – it can run for up to 40 miles on battery power and plugs into the power sockets in your garage. Good for those of us who have garages, not so good if you have ‘off street parking’ – which in real estate advertising speak is a car port, or the lawn next to your veggie garden.  Anyway, with the recession biting everyone in the arse oil prices have fallen to about a third of what they were this time last year. People can afford to drive those 40 miles using regular gasohol rather than some hippy brand of power derived by aiming things at the sun or wind.

GM are saying because of their forward thinking they should get a number of billions to stave off the total collapse of their firm. I mean this has worked very well for Goldman Sachs who this week posted a nearly $US2 billion profit just a few short months after receiving $US10 billion in free cash. Who’d’ve thought… I see no reason why this fiscal prudence shouldn’t work for the US motoring giant as well as it has for the aforementioned bank. While researching the above sentence I did find this article. It suggests that Old Goldy is planning to give back the payoff, I mean kickback, I mean bailout money shortly. It’s main reason: the conditions of openness, transparency and public scrutiny that come with the taxpayer money. Dirty money-grubbing arseholes can go to hell.

I am currently in love with the Daily Show. Yes, that’s right – we get it down here in New Zealand. And thankfully for everyone concerned, we aren’t 5 years behind as we were with some overseas programming during the 70s and 80s. No no, the Daily Show airs here just a few hours after playing in the US so it’s hot off the press. Last night the show featured Fox News’s fight against tax – the so-called teabag protests across America named, in part, after the 18th century protests in Massachusetts, among other places. Of course the show had many, many clips of the various US news organisations referring to the “tea-baggers” and their “tea-bagging“, much to the delight of everyone else in the world who actually know what those terms mean (click on the highlighted link and the gold old Urban Dictionary will tell you).

What I don’t understand about various citizenry around the world, and mostly they are from the so-called right wing and/or business sector, is how little they enjoy paying tax. According to usgovernmentspending.com, whose authority I have no reason to doubt because they were first on my Google search list and didn’t sound the least bit politicised, so therefore were the truest and most factual, thusly I didn’t have to cross-check their facts against any other websites, tell us a number of things…

  1. One fifth of the federal budget goes on defence.
  2. Health and pensions make up over a third of their spending.
  3. ‘other’ makes up a quarter.

Now I’m no economist, but people who read my mind wanderings from time to time will know that I am unafraid, like many modern day journalists, to make vast generalisations and leaps in logic with just the minutest trace of unsubstantiated rumour. I can see what the tea-baggers are so concerned about.

Old people – the over 65s make up just 13% of the population. That’s not even one seventh of the population! I mean it’s not like they’ve not saved all their lives is it. I know if my grandmother was alive and been born, lived, worked and retired in the United States, she would currently have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars ferreted away in her retirement fund –  a fund that had been growing thanks to the wise and risk-free investment strategies of those financial gurus mentioned previously.

The sick – nearly a fifth of US federal spending goes on this group of individuals who aren’t able to contribute their share to the federal budget by working at full productivity. This isn’t fair on all those healthy workers who have to carry the can for those too sick to ante up.

If you take pensions, health care and this group of spendings called ‘other’ out of the US federal budget, you’ll save nearly $US2.5 trillion and have a shitload more to spend on those wonderful federal inventions of recent times: Guantanamo Bay, pirate capture and Cheney’s various bypasses. What’s he doing now anyway since he stopped running the country? I hope he’s being looked after in his retirement…

Boon x

Amazed

I don’t know if you can see it, but up in the top left corner is a little map with dots representing the countries people who are reading this nonsense come from. I’m impressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran is represented in my statistics. Where are you from? Perhaps you’d like to commment? Why not leave an interesting titbit of information about your neck of the woods in my comments section. Any contact via the interweb is greatly appreciated.
On a different note, UK reality star Jade Goody has succumbed to her cancer. Her funeral was held overnight in Britain. I happened to live there when she rose to stardom on Big Brother. My god she was stupid – or appeared to be. However in recent years, particularly in the lead up to her death, her shrewdness was on show for the world to see. Thanks to publicity guru Max Clifford, she was able to make a million quid from her wedding pics and set her young boys up for life.
Thousands of people were critical of her move, but why not milk the media juggernaut that created her?
Boon x