Thursday, October 23, 2008


No doubt about it - atheism is a good thing. I'd even go as far as to say that I believe in it. But, even the most devoted of atheists must admit that what this lacks in imagination, confident curiosity ("probably"?!) and timing ("stop worrying and enjoy your life" indeed...), it makes up for in petulant, childish smuggery.

It reminds me of a piece Zizek wrote a decade or so ago, about the bullying coercion that we should all stop worrying and bloody well enjoy ourselves:

Now that Viagra can take care of the erection, there is no excuse: you should have sex whenever you can; and if you don’t you should feel guilty. New Ageism, on the other hand, offers a way out of the superego predicament by claiming to recover the spontaneity of our ‘true’ selves. But New Age wisdom, too, relies on the superego imperative: ‘It is your duty to achieve full self-realisation and self-fulfilment, because you can.’ Isn’t this why we often feel that we are being terrorised by the New Age language of liberation?

The bus purports to be liberatory and permissive, but actually it achieves the opposite effect. Its real message is: stop worrying, stop whingeing, there's nothing to be scared of, just think positively and everything will be ok. It's difficult to think of a less liberating message.

It needn't have been like this. Savonarola suggests some alternative slogans here. It's my vision of the perfect utopia: a bus with "I shit on God, if he does not do my bidding" daubed over it...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in the States and had not heard of this bus campaign before reading your post. What was the slogan on the bus?

2:57 PM  

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