We've swallowed Guinness festival hook, line and sinker
How could we have been taken in by this level of corporate manipulation?
WATCH CAREFULLY as I rip two apparently unrelated stories from the week’s headlines and develop an insecure, pompous rant about the preponderance of herd thinking and the power of the corporate machine.
Tom Cruise’s lawyers have sent an angry letter to Vanity Fair objecting to the publication’s suggestions that the Church of Scientology controlled their client’s love life. What do we care? We’re all wearing stick-on orange beards, drinking ourselves insensible and muttering to the unthreatening, Clarkson-friendly sounds of Mumford & Sons.
Thursday was Arthur’s Day. All hail the made-up national festival that’s been diverting the easily indoctrinated since ye olden times of 2009.
Okay, making up an entire religion and flogging it to the vulnerable rich is a more terrifyingly impressive achievement than inventing a bogus day of celebration. But the sheer speed with which this Arthur’s Day twaddle has swept across the nation (and the world) will surely cause the late L Ron Hubbard – founder of Scientology – to throb enviously within his current body. This is evil genius at its most proficient.
As you will probably be aware, Arthur’s Day began life as a somewhat overheated, but harmless, celebration of an admirable product’s 250th anniversary. On September 24th, 2009, the corporate entity that now owns Guinness – not actually headed by a cat lover named Ernst Stavro Blofeld – hosted a day of boozing, singing and other stout-inspired revelry. At 17.59 (a reference to the year of the brew’s launch), we were all required to spread a Guinness bar mat upon the pavement, kneel in the direction of St James’s Gate and incant the phrase “Guinness is good for you” until our lips frothed. (I may have made some of this up.) Various bands played. Large felt hats were worn.
It was all a wee bit vulgar. But it would be hard to begrudge DrinkCo Industries its decision to honour such a singular beverage. Anyway, it was over as soon as it had begun.
When DrinkCo announced that the event would reoccur 12 months later, even the most cynical wiseacres found themselves questioning the evidence of their own ears. They can’t be serious. This was akin to hearing that, happy with the millennium celebrations, the government has decided to launch a new century every year. Did you enjoy the Charles Dickens bicentennial a few months ago? Well, we’re having another one in 2013.