Somewhere I read that children are able to recognize a huge number of logos even before they learn to read. They can not recognize varieties of wild plants or birds or clouds by name (unless we teach them) but they can distinguish between entertainment companies, fast-food restaurants, cars. Well, this just indicates a lot about our world, and how much we have ceded to the people selling us things, how much knowledge we are losing, what we’ve allowed our priorities to become– let alone how open, for better and for worse, the young human brain really is.
Someone brought a Sunday newspaper yesterday, and this morning I was sorting through it, putting the glossy stuff in recycling, the sports section in the fire-starting basket, and from the pile emerged a John Lewis Christmas catalog. For all my addiction to second-hand I have a kind of dark desire (unfulfilled year after year) for modern white tableware, and thought I’d have a look. And I did, and yes in some other reality I would love Santa to bring me a set of those clean, elegant, stackable bowls.
Flicked through to the children’s pages. Disgusted to find “The Logo Board Game.” “We’re surrounded by logos, ” the text reads. “TV, advertising, even t-shirts. How many logos can you remember? This game tests your knowldege with questions and picture clues. Age 12plus.” There is absolutely no reality in which I want Santa to bring this game into my household. It represents a kind of solopsistic nightmare– how brainwashed are people going to let themselves get??? Actually paying to be advertised to. It’s like inviting a virus to lodge in your brain. If you’ve googled this game, I hope you land on my blog and choose not to buy the thing!
Meanwhile… my daughter’s Y3 choir is rehearsing their Christmas repertoire. There’s a song they are doing celebrating Xmas shopping :
Come on everybody, there’s a whole lot of shopping going on
Gotta get a movin’. there’s a pickin’ and a choosin’ to be done
We’re going crazy! We can’t be lazy!
There’s only days we have left, the rush has begun…
I am just appalled (well, a little bit amused too). If I went and taught that group of kids a song about not shopping, I would be labelled an extremist, and a kill-joy. A friend suggests I complain– his recommendation was on the grounds of the credit crunch and how many pupils’ families can ill-afford holiday excess– but I’m always complaining– about the parking on the pedestrian path, about the junk food. Of course I’m sure there is a world of Christians who loathe the commercialism of it all. But I can’t argue from that place; my worries relate to how consumerism is going to be the death of us all. Yet I am tempted to let this one go, not to complain. Would you?