Matt Elsbury : It’s All About You

Advertisers have always torn at the fabric of reality, but these days they’re like a four-year-old attacking Christmas paper. In the dark past, their job was to make people want something they actually didn’t. Then, this was upgraded to ‘need’. Now, the word has become ‘deserve’ – the message is that being born comes with the right to a 72-inch plasma and a weekly bender; and the message is getting through. “Look at that iPod, and look at how attractive, happy and sexually potent it will make me! I’ve seen lots of people with them, and I’m just as worthy a person as them – I must have one! Where’s my credit card?” Or, you can look to one of these “instant loan” places… one of them that astounds me offers a loan of $1000 to $5000 for various purposes, including “just need(ing) some money for the weekend”. Wait, what? Here’s a hot tip: if, when making your weekend plans, your budget comes up $1000 to $5000 short, make other plans.

Coming in to add some extra fuel to the fire is the music industry. Every so often, a pop diva will release one of these “I’m Wonderful, You’re Perfect, And If Anyone Disagrees, They Can F[ILLEGAL IN VICTORIA]k Off” anthems. Christina Aguilera, P!nk, and most recently Lady Gaga have all had a crack. The problem is that for every person who has been bullied into a state of personal misery and doubt, who can take solace in such a track, there are a dozen egotistical tools using it as a shield to protect their toolishness. “Hear that? That’s Lady Gaga telling me I don’t have to turn my phone off just because you’re trying to watch the show, because I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way.” Actually, you were born without a phone. You were born naked, damp and screaming, and if that’s the way you choose to go through life, good luck in your next job interview.

The combination is quite potent. With the advertisers on one side trumpeting that you deserve whatever you want, now, and the pop noises on the other making sure your self-esteem is a danger to low-flying aircraft, large bubbles are being created. They are bubbles of special, each containing a human in all their perfection, owed the world and everything that’s in it, by simple virtue of turning up. The problem is, each ad and each song makes the bubble bigger, and then it finds itself squeezing against another bubble of special containing a human in all their perfection owed the world and everything that’s in it by simple virtue of turning up. There are only so many World-And-Contents packages available – one, at last count – and so as these bubbles get bigger and more numerous, the bursting will begin. Each of these people that Gaga was, of course, singing to personally, will resent others impeding on their birthrighteous domain, and the fabric of reality will be shredded in a rage of screeching, slapping and facebook status updates.

And, if they’re lucky, the bubble-occupiers won’t get what they actually deserve.