It’s Christmas time in Joburg.
The same people who seem to believe that other living beings exist for the sole convenience of humanity have deemed that not only will we start celebrating Christmas in October – we will celebrate it with a heap of cognitive dissonance to boot.
The poor captive Pin Oaks along Melrose Boulevard have plexiglass and metal electronic icicles wired into their limbs. White snowflakes adorn the thoroughfares and shops.
I don’t know if you’re quite aware of this, AmDec, but it’s high summer in Joburg and the temperature was over 33 C today. At the risk of seeming facile, I must ask: are you completely mad?
Considering the types of people who shop and hang out in Melrose Arch (by choice, not through the stricture of happening to work there),perhaps they don’t consider themselves all that mad.
Perhaps they see what they are doing as gilding the glittering illusion through which most of the voluntary shoppers there walk: a mirage where joy is for sale, where she with the latest fashion draped across her body is obviously the most worthy, where he who drives the most expensive car is without a doubt the most noble.
Excuse me while I use the sick bucket.
Elsewhere in sunny Joburg, the big supermarkets have crowded the newspapers with what they hope are irresistible magnets to consumers to Come!All Ye Faithful! And Spend, Spend, Spend! For quite possibly, tomorrow you die.
This gaudy and tacky meme is propagated across the city, doubtless causing those without the ready cash to look around for whatever they can steal. The incidence of slightly-more-than-petty theft has already risen alarmingly at my partner’s work. The cash-in-transit heists have started. The armed store robberies have jumped up the graph. For if we are not given the money to buy all this proof of goodness, why should we not just go out and take it? Everyone else is doing it after all.
It is not just as a Pagan that I growl deep in my fifth chakra at this nonsensical display of naked greed: as a human who sees cars as despoilers of the Earth’s bounty and every shiny new electronic toy as somebody’s soul destroying slave-labour,I sometimes feel like just putting my head down in my hands and weeping.
The story of the Sun King, the Christos, has been cheapened and the impulse of good people everywhere to share their gifts with all has been made into a thing of awesome ugliness, flashing lights in the star-bereft night sky and toxic-tinsel-draped apparitions of abundance withdrawing swiftly before us,leading us ever forward, over the edge…
Pic: from Johannesburg Daily Photos