Don’t you just “love” the Silly Season? December is just over a week old and already we have had a serious heat wave, bushfires, two major international terrorist attacks, our Prime Minister making waves in Paris over climate change (despite making no real commitment one way or the other), but the vast mass of Middle Australia is more concerned with how to part with the Holiday bonus as we approach December 25.
The leading supermarket giant descends to an apparent offer of Christmas “fame”, if you simply abrogate all personal responsibility and let them do everything. Whiz-bang marketing gurus ascribe a connection between “famous” dishes and produce that its high-visual-impact-clad worker ants deliver to your door after three clicks of your Magic Mouse. The primary opposition also urges you to pre-order. Without promising “fame”, the offer is otherwise indistinguishable in its appeal to consumer laziness.
Silly Season Peace and Goodwill is affordable. Your home, your life become genuinely cool. It’s easier than Dorothy clicking her heels together three times, wearing the Wizard’s pre-digital-age magic slippers, and chanting the Magic words: “There’s No Place Like Home.” The assumption is as seductive as the machinery that drives you to the office party to drink and drive and then punishes you for it.
We plunge towards a Brave New World. Interplanetary travel seems possible. A cure for cancer could be close. Inter-personal communication is instant but ever more bland. Emoticons and acronyms supplant the majesty of discourse. But the Digital Revolution’s primary achievement will be institutionalised thought, originality subverted by technology.
I’m reminded of the TV talking head, flanked by kids wearing bunny ears, eulogising the real meaning of Easter. Wasn’t the Bunny sacrificed on the Holy Hot Cross Bun, thereby blessing chocolate not only on Easter Sunday, but all year round? In the Silly Season we don the Holy Antlers, load up on fairy lights and slabs of meat and baked goods packaged in Green and Red. We fill the ears of children with opportunistic promises to reward less-than-usually-irritating behaviour. Good luck with that.
The all-powerful machine that tells kids what they want for Christmas. Fourth century humanitarian Saint Nicholas of Myra somehow evolved into a jolly, rotund white-haired and bearded, red-clad aerial reindeer-chariot-driving annual dispenser of global good cheer. Most remain cheerfully ignorant of Washington Irving’s prototype, an early marketing model for the efficacious beverage we know as Coke.
Peace on Earth, anyone? Goodwill to all mankind? Lovely sentiments, indeed, largely confined to lavish late December telecasts and social media pages, mouthed by the hour’s best-managed, leading frocked-up fortune-hunters. Hark, the Herald-Sun Angels Sing…Glory in My New-Found Bling. It’s about as real as the supermarket ads.
At our market, though, to quote Louis Armstrong: I see trees of green, red roses too, I see them bloom, for me and you, and I think to myself: what a wonderful world.
There I see something real, something to celebrate: actual peace and goodwill.