Brave New World

Okay, I am officially sick and tired of all those belly-aching whiners out there who go on and on about how shallow and trivial our society is becoming. I hear it all the time: burned-out hippies and irritating tree huggers prattling on about how bad globalization is, how our lives are being taken over by multinational organizations, how we’re all becoming more and more tethered to soul-numbing technology, and have lost our ability to connect with each other or to effectively communicate, yada, yada, yada. Well I, for one, believe that we are living in the best of all possible times. And as far as I’m concerned, any bleeding-heart out there who disagrees with me should run, not walk, to his or her family doctor and get on a good regimen of some of the fantastic mood and attitude enhancing pharmaceuticals that are now available.

There are, in fact, so many good things that have enhanced our quality of living over the past couple of decades that it’s hard to even know where to begin. But here are a few of my favourite things:

1) Cell phones – For those of you not old enough to remember, spending time at events such as movies, symphonies, parent-teacher meetings, childbirths and funerals once meant being virtually out of contact with one’s homeys, financial consultants, coke dealers and dating services. Thanks to the magic of mobile phones, though, I am now able to order take out Thai food, catch up on the results of my buddy’s v.d. test, and have phone sex with a hottie I met on Lava Life – all without missing any of the vast array of cultural options available to me.

2) Cosmetic Surgery – Just a few years ago, before chemical skin peels, liposuction and Botox became widely affordable, and so much a part of our consciousness, I was – there’s no other way to put it – ordinary looking. Just saying it makes me shudder with embarrassment and self-disgust. I had love handles, a wide ass, man boobs, and probably even combination skin, whatever that is. In short, I was limp and hard to manage. I was almost to the point of considering some sort of exercise program, regardless of the fact that it would likely cause me to sweat. Just then, though, I came across an ad in the back of a men’s magazine that changed my life. A few dozen minor surgeries later, and I’m hung like a Viking and look uncannily like a cross between Antonio Banderas and Brad Pitt.

3) Genetically Engineered Foods – Remember when strawberries, tomatoes, apples and salmon all tasted entirely different? Remember how difficult it was to decide what to eat for dinner? Now that everything from the supermarket tastes more or less the same, and in fact has more or less the same genetic make up, it’s far less complicated and exhausting. To make a nutritious salad now, you simply pick up a few items helpfully labelled fruits/vegetables, throw them together in a black lacquer bowl from Pier One Imports, and Voila! dinner is served.

4) Coccooning – Time was when it was virtually impossible to get through a single day without some form of actual face-to-face contact with other human beings, some of whom were dirty, unattractive, or even poor. Now, though, between iPods, on-line shopping and banking, cell phones, gated communities, drive-throughs, etc., etc. it is finally possible to achieve some peace of mind that is not in danger of being disrupted by all those other living breathing irritants out there. Ah, peace at last.

5) Reality Television – You may not believe this, but there were dark periods of my youth when the only television shows that were available to me were things like CBC documentaries, Bowling for Dollars, The Beachcombers, and The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. For years and years it went on like that, and still the government refused to step in. Turn on the tube now, though, and be prepared for a veritable televisual feast, a cornucopia of edifying entertainment. On any given evening, I can watch mentally disturbed individuals chowing down on yak testicles, at-risk youth having the snot kicked out of them by officers of the law, bimbos in wet t-shirts trying to seduce creepy-looking geeks, people getting fired, people getting surreptitiously videotaped, and people getting bombed in some other part of the world where cosmetic surgery and iPods are not widely available. Sweet.

I could go on, but I think you get my point. Let’s face it, folks, we are living in a veritable wonderland of Western World decadence, and I say we give a good old-fashioned “fuck you” to anybody who doesn’t buy into the program. All together now…