Monthly Archives: October 2011

On Being A Hypocrite

Uncovering hypocrisy is important. For example, take Ted Haggard (please); here was someone who spent his entire public life telling people to avoid homosexuals and drugs, and instead obey God (or obey himself, as God’s chosen spokesman). Meanwhile he spent his private life fucking men and dealing hard drugs. Pointing out the hypocrisy there may well serve humanity; for example imagine a male, teen-age, member of Haggard’s congregation who was tortured with guilt for feeling things he was unable to control, and felt right, but believed (thanks to Ted and his friends) to be wrong.

Last night we watched an episode of Have I Got News For You which included an odious woman whom I now know to be called “Louise Mensch (Bagshawe)”. She came across as the usual sort of detached, privileged, horsey Tory MP that doesn’t understand why anyone is poor because, after all, who’d want to be poor?

During the programme, the topic of the “Occupy” protests came up, and she publicly demonstrated her simple naivety by invoking one of the most common, pathetic and hopeless arguments used by the impotent right: how can anti-Capitalism protestors be taken seriously if they buy coffee from Starbucks/buy anything/own iPhones/etc. Enjoying the “fruits of capitalism”, whilst arguing against it, made the protestors hypocrites in her eyes. Even Ian Hislop (hardly a lefty) said that he considered responding to this statement a waste of time because “it was too obvious”.

There is a problem with the entire notion of Hypocrisy in a political context: anyone who feels that their current society is flawed, and therefore wishes it would change, still lives within the constraints of that society, and is therefore ripe to be accused of hypocrisy. This isn’t a good situation, and is all too open to abuse from people who, for whatever reason, prefer the status quo.

Pointing out hypocrisy in others is far too easy for people who don’t want any sort of change. Being a hypocrite is also too easy when the alternatives are impractical. For example, and at the risk of invoking Godwin’s law, no-one would accuse someone who spent time in a concentration camp of hypocrisy because they were eating Nazi food and being complicit with Nazi rule, would they?

So how should an anti-capitalism protestor behave in order not to be accused of hypocrisy in a capitalist society? Answers on a post-card please; the address is “shoved up your own arse”.

Hard Corp

Beware companies that claim to be “cool”, and walk right out of the door if they use a word like “funky”.
My current employers are housed in a tall office block, sandwiched between 1000 floors of KPMG office space. Just seeing the letters “KPMG” together brings me down – and seeing them in the context of “inspirational marketing” turns my stomach.
As the lift doors open on each KPMG floor they reveal the same paint colour, the same carpet, the same framed posters containing the same meretricious artwork and copy, which tries to persuade the same non-existent customer that they are not just a boring financial company; actually they are inspirational, passionate and have vision. It’s difficult to see why the global “Occupy” protests fail to appreciate this and instead argue that these companies are simply crooked machines for turning poor-peoples lives into trinkets for the ultra-rich. Have they not read the posters?
Working in an office building like this can be truly dispiriting for many reasons; as far as I’m concerned the biggest reason is that the vast majority of workers there not only believe in what they’re doing, they also believe in the company, and tragically believe they are on the path to the riches that hard-work can provide. The belief in the system, and The American Dream is as strong amongst these willing slaves as it ever was.
In case you think it offensive that I used the word “slaves” in this context, you may be right. These people don’t have to do this work, they are welcome to work elsewhere. They are welcome to starve. There’s no doubt that the poor in the 1st world live more comfortably now than they did 100 years ago – and perhaps that is progress. But at what cost? Poorer countries are suffering in their place. Meanwhile the rich are richer than ever before.

As well as the brief view into KPMG’s world, the lifts provide other valuable insights. For example we get to hear the conversations of our corporate brethren. People talk about the same shit no matter where they work. They use the same cliches and laugh at the same things that they don’t find genuinely funny. We’re all the same – we just do this stuff to cope.

Additionally we get to watch the in-lift entertainment provided “free” by “Captivate Networks” (link deliberately not given). In each lift is a little screen displaying all of the corporate news that today’s business people enjoy reading at 7 in the morning as they go to their allocated office space. We get sport, weather, news tid-bits, stock-market ticker values and, most importantly, inspiring tweets from CEOs of cool, funky companies! It’s so inspiring!

Still at least we’re not under Communist rule where everyone has to wear the same clothes, talk about the same things and go to identical workplaces. At least we are free to slag it all off in our blogs…unless we encourage anyone to try and change anything of course – even if it involved telling people to close their bank accounts. That would be tantamount to terrorism.


After work I arrived at the Rosie to find Dave, Ian, Kate, Suzanne, Seb and the others already comfortably settled out the back, enjoying the last remnants of the slowly falling sun. By sheer luck (in both directions) they were all approaching the point where their pints needed refilling. Everyone ordered “the usual”, and Dave offered to give me a hand at the bar.
Then the alarm sounded and it was time to get up for work. That was my morning experience today. Thanks brain.