Plastic Fantastic

Brave New MTV World – Imaginary Reality Created by Slaves of Consumerism Makes You Hate Your Ordinary Life

News | Ana Tajder | March 2008

Plastic perfection; is modern media feeding us too many artificial norms? (Photo: Jonathan McIntosh)

I switch the MTV off in a rage.

The music video showed two black rappers jumping around an opulent Schloss and a couple of hot babes dancing around their Ferraris. Two more seconds and I was going to puke. I’m fed up of those fragments of perfect lives, thrown at me wherever I look, puzzle pieces of immaculately styled projections. The trick, though, is that in a normal puzzle, hundreds of meaningless little fragments come together to make a big picture.

But this is the opposite. This is hundreds, thousands of perfect sexy little images, which, if we ever could put them together, would only show us the horror of the plastic world we are living in.

From music videos to Hollywood movies, from magazines to the Internet – we are constantly faced with the pictures of sexy, gorgeous, happy lives lived by rich, talented, clever, successful people. And it really does exist – if you only look at a few seconds of a person’s life. Most of us have a few moments when our bodies look perfectly toned, our clothes designed by some Scandinavian Wunderkind and when the Porsche we are caught in looks as if it might be ours.

Hey, why doesn’t somebody film those moments? Maybe we should all have a music video compiled of the coolest moments of our lives… And every time we think our lives are dragging, we just take out our videos and reassure ourselves that it’s not at all that bad. Because we are all stars of MTV.

One of my biggest clashes with the "look-at-this-piece-of-the-puzzle-and-worship-my-gorgeous-life" phenomenon happened a few days ago. In the Internet. I was invited by the only person I know with a truly gorgeous life to join an Internet community for the magnificent people. It was invitation-only by special members.

But once you are in, boy, the whole world is yours! Everybody is your best friend and just waiting to help you out with whatever issues you have. As long as you return the favour, of course.

I got in, registered and immediately got hit. Woaaam! The creamy white vessel came cruising out at me, straight between the eyes – a huge advertisement for luxury yachts. By the time I had managed to return the yacht on its appropriate place on the screen, a gigantic diamond ring flew at me. Woooha! Hold on! Then champagne started pouring somewhere from the right of my screen…. This was virtual heaven!

It took me a few moments to get settled in this consumer Wonderland, and then I decided to look for my friends. I found them soon enough.

Maria, who in real life is 150cm tall and 74kg heavy, looked like that Spanish top model, what’s her name…. Kourosh was leaning on his BMW, a cigar in his mouth, huge sunglasses making him look way cooler than George Clooney. Then there was Elena, the new Barbie.

A beep-beep tone brought me back to reality. I was receiving an invitation to connect. Hey, cool! It was a guy from Germany I’d never heard of. He looked like a Ralph Lauren model; I decided to Google him. You never know these days… The good news: yes, he was the PR director for this big company. Bad news: in real life, he was one of the ugliest people I’ve ever seen. I decided to connect with him later. Maybe.

Now, it was time to finish my profile, and I decided to rebel against all things plastic. I chose a picture showing me in a black turtleneck, my hair in a pony tail, smiling one of those Audrey Hepburn smiles. Very subtle.

The choice of picture resulted in heavy protests from everybody I was connected to.

"But you are such a pretty girl!"

"I AM pretty in that picture."

"But you have such a gorgeous smile".

"I am smiling!"

"But you are so sexy in real life!"

"How about sex appeal that’s not spelled out on my forehead?"

After the twentieth complaint, I exchanged my Audrey picture. And in protest against protest, I chose the total opposite: a huge smile. Actually, just about the whole picture is a smile with big hair, wearing only my gorgeous Indian jewellery.

Within a few hours, I received messages from three new men, all gorgeous and rich. My thread about a baroque opera, which for days was the only thread with 0 replies, suddenly resulted in everybody (every MAN) wanting to accompany me to the opera.

A few days later, I was bored while stuck at home with flu, so I started surfing my new community. I looked at the friends of my friends. And I couldn’t help but fall in love at the first sight every three seconds! I was suddenly overwhelmed by the urge to have at least three rich, handsome and fun husbands – all at the same time. Now!

They all looked like George or Brad or Jude. They were all wearing perfectly tailored suits. Or were showing their muscles on exotic beaches (yachts were also an option). They all lived in at least two of the coolest cities in the world: New York/Paris/Dubai. London/St Tropez/Milan. They all had master’s degrees, at least. But mostly PhDs. They all held executive positions in companies with well-known names. Or, they actually had well-known names. And their with personal messages let you know that yes, they are cool but also very, very fun. After successfully fighting the urge to propose marriage to Philippe and Giovanni and Johannes, I decided to log off the site.

I switched off the laptop. And then I started feeling empty. It wasn’t real. It was actually a freak show. Even worse, it’s the Matrix, a plastic world created by the slaves of consumerism, so that the only thing you want is to become a slave yourself. It makes you to hate your ordinary life and your average self. And it makes you want more and better. Of everything

Because the yachts and diamonds can always be bigger, and your position higher. And there are always prettier women and cooler men. It’s all there so you’ll start working harder and consuming even more – more designer clothes, more exotic trips, more hours in fitness studios, more cars – so that you’ll stop asking unnecessary questions and only "aim for the top." And please! Don’t forget to take the pictures – with the smallest but the most expensive camera in the world. And then post them on the net.

This virtual world is the newest, youngest brother of the music videos and glossy magazines. And it whispers to your ear: "Surf me! Look at all those beautiful people; they’re all just a click away! You can be their best friend! Their lover!

You can be them! Just be good. Play the game. And for heaven’s sake, don’t ask any questions!!!!"

Time to log off.

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