On my way to work on Wednesdays, I sometimes take the long way
round. On the longer route I pass a 'spa'. Its housed in a
renovated factory type place. You know the kind, all angles,
glass and cement. Very trendy and upmarket. The kind of place
you don't take the kids, if you know what I mean.
When I walked passed it the other day there was a sign out the
front. It read “Easter Bunny Specials” and included the listing
“Spiced Chocolate Foot Spa. 15 Mins. $35”. It got me thinking.
What do foot spas, the 'global financial crisis', shootings in
the US and Easter have to do with each other?
Fifty seven civilians have been killed by gunmen in mass
shootings in the US in the last 30 days. Think about that for a
minute. We're not looking at acts of gang related violence or
criminal links between the victims. These were innocent citizens
going about their daily routines when another, seemingly
innocent, civilian opened fire on them and shot them dead.
The list of wounded is, of course, much longer. If we take into
account those who were not physically harmed but are
psychologically scared for life and the families and friends of
those involved, we are looking at hundreds of affected people.
Then there is Obama's re-commitment to the so-called “war on
terror”. Imagine what the media would have said if up to 13
soldiers at a time were killed – and lets not forget that that
is the risk all soldiers get paid to take – going about their
There would have been screams for inquiries into why 'our boys'
are dying at such alarming rates. But no, there was no such
outrage. Just a few mealy mouthed words from the VP and a few
In a New York Times article in April 2007, it was reported that
over 29,000 people were killed in gun related deaths in the US
during 2004 and 176 people per day were injured. That's a
staggering 94,000 people directly impacted by gun fire on US
soil in one year. Thousands more suffer the terrifying prospect
of living with the loss, grief or psychological damage of being
related to the shooter or the shot.
If you live in the US, according to a study by the FBI, you may
be one of the 3 in 100,000 who will die at the hands of a fellow
citizen using a gun this year. If the World Trade Tower collapse
only killed about 3,000, why isn't there absolute paroxysms of
outrage in 'the homeland'? Perhaps foot spas give us a clue.
In a culture that is suffering from rates of obesity that are
truly shocking, a country in which the freedom to bear arms is
enshrined in the constitution and a place where everyone wants
to be a millionaire, its not that hard to see how the humble
foot spa represents the pinnacle of self indulgence and consumer
ignorance. The $35, 15 minute foot spa is, if you like, the
ultimate anti-society product.
While a little bit of self indulgence is fine from time to time
– and who hasn't indulged – becoming self obsessed is
pathological. According to the free marketeers, we exist to
consume and market forces drive us to co-operate.
However, if were to take seriously the market failure that is
driving even more on to the dole queues, we find that selfish
behaviour, as dictated by the 'market', doesn't lead to society.
It actually drives us apart and pits us against each other in an
ever accelerating race to the bottom, the nadir of which is
killing each other in order to access whatever resource we think
we are being denied a share of.
The sign outside the spa made me think about how we live in such
depressing, but nonetheless, exciting times.
Depressing because we are not being given the depth of
understanding our leaders and their media should be giving us.
The increasing dominance of trivial 'lifestyle' and 'reality'
type content that dominates our media truly is creating a
reality out of the “let them eat cake” mentality that has
infected the rulers of the world.
While our friends and family are impacted by more lay-offs or
decreased working hours, the rulers of the world are offered
trillions to do what they do best ... take our money – offered
freely, no less, by our elected representatives – and continue
to enrich themselves.
These same rulers ensure that legislation is put in place that
denies ordinary folk the right to protest or take back what is
rightfully theirs. If we didn't already, we can now plainly see
who is actually represented in our houses of parliament. And it
isn't Doris, next door.
So, while all those fellow citizens of ours, who refuse to look
up from the titillation and escapism that masquerades as 'news
and information', continue to live in blissful ignorance of how
hard they are being screwed, is there any hope?
I was brought up to believe that the central message of Easter
was about hope. About the possibility of a new world being made
possible. I also believe that foot spas do have a place in a
However, at present, with the continued decline of ethical
society in the US and its spread around the globe, unless we
resist and come together to ensure that all have access to the
spiced chocolate foot spa every now and again, the times ahead
are not going to be very pleasant.
The hope I hold and what makes these times exciting, is that
there are growing signs of resistance around the world. These
resisters will, eventually, break through and it is this hope
that I carry into Easter.