Wednesday, 28 October 2015

An Odd Way to Feed the Addiction.

I often pay a visit to the local garden centre just to marvel at its function as an icon of the consumerist ethos. It has a big sign in the window proclaiming the fact that it is one of the ten best garden centres in the country, a claim which I assume is based on impartial arbitration by people gainfully employed in the business of roaming the country passing judgement on the relative merits of the nation’s garden centres. On what basis they formulate their pronouncements, I have no idea.

What I can say is that my local one has an enormous amount of stock, and I noticed a new addition today. They have dogs’ heads, evidently meant to look like stone but I assume made of concrete. Some are designed to be mounted on walls, while others are clearly intended to repose among the rockery, the gravel paths, the flower beds, or wherever else the proud owners might decide they look most comfortable. But there’s a problem: they look like hunting trophies. Would any genuine dog lover, I wonder, want such a thing? I wouldn’t, but then it’s long been established that I’m not exactly in step with the consumerist ways of the western world.

On a tangential note, I’m interested in the way a word can change its meaning through the process of cultural evolution. As I understand it, the term ‘consumerism’ was originally coined to represent the power consumers could wield over the supply process. Now it’s come to mean something almost diametrically opposite. Now it’s used to describe the state of obeisance paid by the consumer to that very process, a state amounting to the biggest of all modern addictions.

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