Friday, April 14, 2017

Seeing the War through Soda Pop Eyes

One of the reasons war scares me is because of how small and insignificant it makes me feel. It sounds like a petty feeling and a horrible thing to say, because with war there are so many more things wrong with the whole concept: the failure of diplomacy, the devolving of how people in the world treat each other, the greater ideal of peace, the death caused, destruction, the generational hatred seeded, and the admission that we aren't any better than those who came before.

I feel we are not any better than our parents, or theirs.

We still live in that same world where people kill each other for their differences.

And those with the biggest bombs win. Then again, I can see the logic in that, because once you show you are afraid to use the biggest bombs, trouble breeds and spreads.

I feel it always has. And I fear it always will.

Oh, I like to think we are different, but really, I feel we are not. With all of our self-important Facebook and social media "power" we are told we have every day by those wishing to hand over our personal information and time, we can't really seem to change the course of world events. And I don't believe for a moment if "the other side" would have won an election here or there that we would really be anywhere different right now - the seeds of where were are at this moment were planted a long time ago. It is like a cancer diagnosis, you still have it even if you choose to ignore it for a while.

I am not naive, even though the ambrosia of naivete is sold to us every day as an answer for everything. I am tired of your good thoughts and best wishes, world. Just because we can 'come together' and sing a song, share a smile, and say nice things to each other as "one people" doesn't mean everything is all right.

I don't see it. Not today.

I feel it is marketing, plain and simple, this idea of a better world. About as real as the world created in a commercial selling us soft drinks. You know those places, where everyone has a smile on their face, the neighborhood is clean, people go about their business with a pep in their step, and where everyone gets along. There is probably a song playing in the background by some sell-out pop-star, and things like drugs, violence, crime, and poverty don't exist. A soda solves every problem.

Those happy and beautiful people in the soda commercial don't have to step over homeless people on the way to their concert for social justice and equality.

I am sorry about that last comment, but then again, I am not. I am not because that is the world we live in and choose to ignore. Even I am guilty and I feel the shame. I have been reading essays on the homeless lately, books written by people who have slept in storm drains as the unwanted and forgotten about and come back from the edge of Hell, and I am in a sour mood.

And there are thousands and thousands of homeless out there today, on those streets we want to see through soda pop eyes. Many of them will just die out there, and I feel nobody cares. Nobody has the time to. And yes, I am guilty here as well. I feel the words 'raising awareness' should be right next to the thesaurus with the term 'lip service.'

And this talk of war gets me in a darker mood.

At times I feel we are angry because we know we are being sold a lie, this concept of a better world pushed through commercials from everything from online services, cell phones, food, clothes, and everything else in our world. It is like this window into a alternate dimension "fake world" where everyone is happy, connected, diverse, honest, beautiful, and gets along like old friends. You know, that world in the soda commercial where the ambiguous-issue "protest" march never ends in a riot with bones broken, lives lost, and the long-smouldering fires of hatred started. A world where terror attacks never happen. A world where missiles aren't pointed at each other and the clock is stuck at four minutes from midnight.

A rose-colored world sold to us every day, and we can only get there is we buy the right things.

Imagine a war fought in this other world. Smoke would float over an ambiguous battlefield. The diverse and similar-looking soldiers from each side would stop firing, walk up to each other, and share a cold bottle of refreshment and understanding. Some pop music from a sellout artist would play, beautiful people would run onscreen and cheer, and the world would be a great and positive place again.

End the war! Buy a soda!

We are constantly sold that world but all we end up with are empty calories, weight related health issues, and more heartbreak. Where we live in this quasi-religious world of brand idolatry, where our "moment of awakening" was that "I want to buy the world..." ad in the 1970's, probably regarded as the best commercial of all time, but I see this as the starting point for where we are at now. The false idea a brand purchase can change the world, and then giving up changing it ourselves.

I know "it is up to us" but co-opting the message feels, to me, like a falsehood. I bought your soda, why aren't things better? Where is that world in the commercial? You know, the one we see, no matter what the product, where "if we buy" things will get better.

And we wonder why people are angry all the time.

I would be too if someone sold me the idea of a better world and they never delivered on it. I know "it is up to us" but really, advertisers, I feel if you co-opt the "better world" message you are now a little responsible for helping bring about this state of commercial perfection and world peace. Not a Xanadu, but your Nirvana. And yes, I am no saint nor profess I am better than anyone else; but I don't know how many lifestyle products I bought, how many sodas I drank, and how socially conscious my brand choices were...we are still here.

On the other side of the screen from those happy, positive, soda pop people.

In a dark house full of the things which we bought to take us there.

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