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Theories for Sale 07 Aug 2011

Madam, can I interest you in a theory? I have many theories here for sale. Many different theories. Some theories will keep you safe; there are others that will take you to the edge. I have theories that will make you rich; others that will ensure inner riches. Would you like to try some on?

This is my special one-size-fits-all theory. It doesn’t matter where you come from or where you are headed. It’s all the same to me. It’s a flexible theory that fits all the bumps and smooths them out. Everyone is equal: all at the bottom together. There’s plenty of company, you’re never alone, always distracted, always entertained. There’s sex and shopping; there’s drugs and driving. Whatever your whim, we can satisfy it. It can even be ecofriendly – we’re happy to use all natural products – protected by patents and trademarks.

We’ll even take your children off your hands and get them to come and help us at the ideas factory. We like knowing what they like. It’s a knowledge economy, you know. Now we know too and we’ll be inventing cool new products for the next generation. It’s the “We Know” label – you can’t see it, but all our products are electronically impregnated with our very own nanomarker. We know when a “We Know” customer walks in the door – or even past it.

Talking of nano- we also have nanotheories for sale. They’re so small no one will know that you hold any political position at all. It’s really useful for politicians, government bureaucrats, capitalists, biotech engineers – cutting edge people who shouldn’t have their lives disrupted by having to worry about what they say. It’s a descendant of postmodernism which has been the rage for so long – and so successful that even Prime Ministers and Presidents have learnt from it.

They turned it to military purposes so that you never know who the military might be. It’s a variation on that old patriarchy and most women recognise it (unless they’ve purchased a customised theory to show off to their friends). You know the one, in which their lover, their boss, their next door neighbour, their brother turns out to be the enemy, the rapist, the killer. But the nanotheory has an advantage over patriarchy, it can creep under the skin without the wearer of that skin being aware that they’ve been got at. So it’s very effective because no one can say, “Hey, I’m a victim.” Just rub it in like sunscreen and you’ve passed the cell guardians.

I also have some political theories going very cheap. Bargain basement. Now that patriarchy is outmoded we’re practically throwing it out. There’s been an oversupply of it and although it’s in high demand in some areas, it’s lost its sheen – and the unit cost has really dropped.

Old-fashioned equality – it’s a mid-range theory. Good for the middle classes, the wishy washy fence sitters with splinters in their bums. We’re recycling a few theories – remember we’re ecofriendly – through our chain of Op Shops. Theories like socialism – it’s out of fashion and so many people are clearing out their sheds, attics and spare rooms, getting rid of all that old collective spirit.

As for feminism, you can’t find it anywhere. No one wants to sell it because, they say, there’s no one out there to buy it. But then you hear on the grapevine that it’s become collectible. Maybe one day it’ll come back into fashion.

The really popular theory is global warming. It’s everywhere. It’s in droughts and cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis, it’s in unusual weather patterns – heat waves and cold snaps. And the politicians are talking it up. It’s making headlines and new profits are to made from carbon trading. There are new forestry programs out there with GM trees programmed to grow at twice the rate, so they can be cut down in half the time. It’s a great business opportunity for those in the business of producing carbon waste: petrochemical companies, car manufacturers, military reconstructionists and the like.

Madam, can I interest you in a theory? I have many theories here for sale. Many different theories.

Associated Author: Susan Hawthorne
Associated Book: Wild Politics

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