One of life’s puzzles is why people pay good money for rubbish. Shoddy merchandise – useless ‘remedies’ – crap art – brainless talk – the purveyors of all this ghastly stuff rake their profits in and run laughing all the way to the bank. Why?
Cannot people discern between products and ideas of value and those which are scams? It seems not – or else my junk mail box would not be flooded with messages urging me to buy bogus Viagra or to invest in the latest stock market hot tip ‘guaranteed’ [of course] to be a winner. Happily I have enough sense not to send these hopeful guys and gals my credit card details, but hundreds obviously do or it would not be worth their while to write and email their pitches.
I see the Chinese [some of them, anyway] are kicking themselves for their stupidity in paying Tony Blair $500,000 for a three-hour visit to a luxury housing complex and a vapid speech witheringly described by China Youth Daily as “full of pleasantries and clichés” and no more insightful than the reports of local officials. Having been subjected to Blair’s blatherings for a couple of decades, we British can only sympathise with the Chinese for their yawn-provoking
But Blair, egregious though he be, is small beer as an earner compared to the top US televangelists – the Swaggarts, Haggards, Robertsons, Bakkers, and Oral Robertses – who coin in the dollars with their unashamed invocations of the Golden Calf and their proclamations that Jesus is the God of Success [theirs, first and foremost]. Why Americans are so prone to lap up this pitiful appeal to credulousness and greed remains a mystery. But far too many of them do.
Free competition, in ideas as well as goods, is all very well but there does need to be some quality control. Unfortunately Western society is suffering from slippage in this respect, which makes it all the more necessary and important for those of us who don’t want to be patsies and suckers to speak out against the encroaching tide of material, mental, and intellectual garbage.