Visions of Eggnog

The Mayor of Nerville rambles on about fads, God, and other Yuletide traditions

Trends, fads, and other promotional scams: I read somewhere that "fads are transitory customs or objects widely adopted by the public with great enthusiasm." The truth is that all cool stuff has to become a fad in the first place if it is to become cool at all! Every lasting success had its origins in a fad, before turning into what is called "popular culture." Elvis and the Stones were considered mere fads way back when. But most fads are short-lived by nature.

The question is, what possesses millions of people to buy the same things at the same time and then forget about them after a while? Is it some form of mass hysteria? Herdlike behavior? Collective self-hypnotism?

Well, whatever.... The truth is that a consumer society NEEDS fads, because they give it some DIRECTION. Fads CREATE DESIRE. Otherwise people would be aimlessly buying scattered stuff all over the place, and hell knows what they would come up with.... That's why most of these consumerist obsessions are manmade, created by some smart-ass out there who, if he's lucky, will make many millions in fifteen minutes!

Fads can only flourish in open societies that look forward to new things and ideas. There are no known fads in North Korea.... Well, unless we consider nuclear bombs as a new fad! Funny thing about fads is that they are like weeds that grow out of practically nothing, blossom, and then disappear after a season. There is beauty in this process.... That's why we all love fads, because they are so ephemeral and fragile.... Come today, gone tomorrow....

Fads have always existed in history, from the Crusades, to Rudolph Valentino, to the Strokes, to bioterrorism. In fact American researchers have identified more than 6000 fads since the Fifties! If you don't like a particular one, all you have to do is lay low and wait for it to go away. There's nothing else you can do about it, because if a fad catches on, nothing in the world can stop it.

Truth is that some fads refuse to disappear, like the three s's of Sinatra, Streisand, and (Rod) Stewart. Each one of them transcended their fly-by-night origins to gradually become "a major trend," then "part of the establishment," and finally, "a classic." Other fads go away but come back, like a yo-yo, the Barbie doll, or Cyndi Lauper. However, a lot of people out there never make it and, if they do, it happens so quick that you hardly notice. That's the case of some boy bands and most Latino pop "product"....

To conclude, we feel obliged to mention "the fad that we all know is just a fad, but the damn thing won't leave us alone," which is a category tailored exclusively for Madonna!


God and mass-produced music: About a year ago every novelty store in town was carrying a battery-operated puppet of James Brown that sang and danced to the song "I Feel Good." It was a huge success. I saw a store near my home selling these "statues" by the dozens every day.

Funny thing is that I also observed how the majority of the customers picked out the puppet when it was on display in a certain corner of the store. It must have had something to do with the right placement and lighting that practically made every single client want "that one." Then as soon as "that one" was sold, a clerk put a new one in the same spot.

We can apply the same process to the mass market. Take something banal like a rerelease of a Beatles CD, for example. This merchandise has been continually around for more than 40 years (an eternity in record industry terms) and you can find it all over the planet. And when John Lennon declared in the Sixties that they were "more popular than Jesus," it actually made some sense (aside from it being a very cool thing to say). That's because it is just so possible that God (Jesus's father) is not really omnipresent and eternal as believed, but that he is simply ... mass produced! Imagine that there could be thousands of cloned Gods out there, everywhere, all the time ... because something ... Nature, let's say ... produced Them in extremely large amounts! Just like those CDs and the James Brown puppets.

And we, credulously, were led to believe that the Almighty (God, not James Brown) had superpowers! No, it all could be as simple as: Each time a God reproduction is consumed or destroyed, a new one is put in His place.

If that is so, then it is still possible that God(s) is omnipotent, probably omniscient, but maybe not omnipresent ... and certainly NOT at the Omni Center, please !

Boy, what was I smoking?

 
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