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The hug you didn’t know you needed

Western societies are fat—and America, in particular, is fat. It’s because people are angry—and horny, and there isn’t really a difference between the two. We live in over-civilised societies where people rationalise their aggression because there are few outlets for aggression, because everyone is “super polite” as Americans say (even the “super” is itself passive aggressive and unreal).

When you cannot be angry—when you cannot stab someone, when you cannot have sex—the energy doesn’t just go away. It has to be tamped down—and the most popular way to tamp down the energy in modernity, where we have super-abundance of food, is to eat. This is why this advert for Philadelphia cream cheese (Philadelphia—“brotherly love”, as it happens) presents itself as a hug. The advert is correct in the literal sense because if you eat because you are angry you don’t know why you’re eating—the cream cheese really is “the thing you didn’t know you needed” because it symbolises the thing you don’t accept you need.

Except, obviously, what you really need is to scream at someone or to stab them (fuck them). So we could reword the advert, “The slap you didn’t know you needed” or “The fuck you didn’t know you needed”. The problem is that it will kill you—in the biological sense, because it will clog your arteries; and in the emotional sense, because you don’t need to eat cream cheese on toast you need to go and tell someone how you really feel or you need to have sex. Philadelphia cream cheese is not the solution.

When you understand that, there’s a certain pathos to the advert. The advert is deeply inadequate, and yet it’s the option most people choose—other options include video games, drugs, politics, expensive bicycles. The advert is a testament to a society that is deeply asleep—it doesn’t experience anything, it doesn’t want to experience anything; it would prefer to eat itself to death rather than experience anything real.

The problem is that real love involves real hate, and you don’t love someone until you hurt them and they have hurt you—yet some people would prefer to eat instead and be “super-friendly”. There has to be a real slap, perhaps emotional not physical but real nonetheless, before there can be a real hug (fuck). Philadelphia cream cheese is just sublimated anger, you’re eating your anger—taking it out on yourself, destroying your body (fucking yourself, it’s oral masturbation).

It’s not like that film They Live where if you have x-ray specs you can read the subliminal messages in the billboards which really say, “Consume”, “Obey”, “Marry”, “Don’t think”. That is projection and splitting—there is a hidden “alien elite” that does “this” to us, says the film. In fact, we do it to ourselves because we have forgotten who we are—we are unconscious, we eat because it seems to fulfil a need in us, yet it never satisfies because it’s not the real need. It’s not that we’re misdirected as to what we really want, it’s that we have denied what we really want and then sell substitutes to ourselves because we are cowards.

It’s what you’ve been socialised into, of course. Yet it’s no good just to turn “nasty”—that is also an illusion. “I’m hard, I’m cruel, I tell it like it is.” That is another evasion, because people like that deny the moments they’re soft—like Philadelphia cream cheese. You have to be soft and hard, like water—that is to say, you have to find the right level automatically. We are nowhere near the right level.


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