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Childish Adults

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By: Moustafa Elhoushi

June 2002

As time goes on, we humans are becoming more and more stupid. Well, it is not all humans. The stupid are usually the rich people (otherwise, how did they become rich in the first place?) and the middle class citizens. Day after day, humans perform ridiculous things and spend money on useless products. But if you ask one of them why is he doing this certain action, he/she will have to think for some time; after that he might or might not give you a sensible answer (that's just one reason why they are stupid). However, there are some who benefit from all this: The Clever Group (or let's say The Less Stupid Group).

One may walk in a street or in a shop and wonder. Just look at the hairstyles people come up with. In fact, they do not come up with it. They just imitate their favourite actor, singer or football player. For some reason, they think it's useful or cool. One doesn't know how much they spend on such hairstyles, but one thing is certain: they leave the hairdressers' shops the way they enter the hairdressers' shops. Nothing changes. They don't become more intelligent, more useful or braver. They just have less money in their pockets. Nevertheless, they may become more attractive to their friends- or they think they are more attractive.

Well, this is not really the big problem. "So what if we care about our looks and our hairstyles?", one might argue. The other big problem comes when we talk about fashion. There are only a limited number of monopolies selling us all of our shoes, trousers, shirts, etc. but why do we buy from them? Everyone one of us buys certain clothes simply because everyone else is buying them.

The sad thing about that is those logos are much more expensive than other clothes- not because they have higher qualities, or look more attractive- but because we are stupid. The owners of Nike, Reebok, etc. know that they can increase their prices and people will just buy from them. Nike produces baggy shorts, and we all buy them. Why? Are baggy shorts more attractive or comfortable? Nike can produce trousers with a big hole on its back or see-through shorts or pink shoes....but we will just buy it. If one just sits and asks himself why does he buy these logos...or why can't he save a lot of money by buying cheaper clothes but with the same quality- if not better quality- than this world will be much better.

But sadly enough, this is not the case. We are stupid. And one group of people who know that for sure are advertisers. One company pays David Beckham 700 000 US$ so that he could try its gel, and another pays so much to another player to wear its shoes, or to appear in a Pepsi advert...and what happens? People buy this gel simply because Beckham has tried it, or this shoe simply because Michael Jordan used to wear it....But did David Beckham become an excellent footballer because of the gel... or did Michael Jordan become a famous basketball player because of Nike? No. And why do we have to wear what they wear? In fact, why should it mean anything to us if an actor or singer buys a certain product? It doesn't mean that the product is of higher quality? Does it?

At first, such methods were successful with children when they used to buy toys just because their favourite cartoon characters were shown on the packages. However, advertisers began to discover that teenagers and adults are just as childish as babies and began to use the same irrational methods. Well, adults think that they are wise because they are mature enough to think for themselves. But businessmen know that they are just as stupid. The only difference is that children are attracted by cartoon characters while adults are attracted by movie stars- but both serve the wants of the owners.

But the owners of these companies are happy. They do not have to make any improvements and humans are so simple-minded that they will waste their money without asking themselves: what do they benefit from that? One company can advertise for a car by bringing a woman wearing a swimming suit to stand next to it... and the result will be that more people will buy that car. Why? What has the woman got to do with the speed, performance or comfort of the car?

But this is the sad truth. Consumers' minds are being insulted by being convinced using irrational methods. They turn into robots responding to certain stimuli. We buy things not to please ourselves, but to please the sellers. Women turn from builders of the society into machines of legal prostitution; selling their bodies to attract the consumers' minds (that's if they have any minds).

If we were in a world were people buy products for rational reasons, we would have seen much more innovations. We would see more people coming up with more ideas to improve our world and solve our problems. There would be more businesses surviving and more workers employed, trying their best to produce better and better products for cheaper and cheaper prices.

But sadly enough, this is not the case. Just ask anyone in the street about the inventor of the first radio or the discoverer of penicillin and he will be more likely to scratch his head proudly than to say: "Marconi" or "Alexander Fleming"- as if such people were useless in building the world we live in. But if you ask him/her about the star of that film or the name of the latest song of that singer he should be able to answer without hesitation; otherwise his friends would have considered him a freak- as if those singers and actors have done anything useful to us other than dancing or singing...or as if our ancestors were living in misery and boredom without their movies or songs. We see programs become popular when they interview useless models and asking them about their favourite pets...while philosophers and scientists are ignored. Some philosophers live in the corner of the poorest streets in town while actors earn millions for their "hard work".