Friday, 3 September 2010
My Global Day (Indoors)
I was just reading about how the globalisation of the economy has withered the nation state and fundamentally reshaped the aims of our education system. I don't know why, but I have always had a vague distaste for globalisation rhetoric - I tend to think that it is prone to hyperbole and in its quest to cross borders and universalise itself as a theory, it glosses over the inequalities it further entrenches. The fact that the world is more 'interconnected' becomes the focus - I've heard Blair on about this this week - and that does tend to avert the eyes from the massive ruptures between and within societies. We might be more connected, but this isn't priveleging everyone. And as I say, I thought it was a bit of an exaggeration - we don't live 'global lives' do we?
Today, I left the house only to get lunch - how global has my day been?
I got to sleep very late last night, probably around half past two. I would love to be able to regale you of a hedonistic binge or some late night romantic tryst, but no, the reason I was asleep late is that I stayed up, alone, playing Fifa on the PS3. As enjoyable as it is to be beaten by Wrexham when you are as Brazil, it does get tedious eventually but luckily on the PS3, you can connect to the internet and play online. Through that bulky black box in my living room, at 1:30am, I was playing against some unknown individual - Liverpool vs Chelsea - who could have been sat on the floor of a living room anywhere in the world (or anyone who can afford a PS3, which does cut out a majority of the world population).
After demonstrating my inability to play football, even on a screen, I went up to bed at about 2am. I laid there for a while but was unable to sleep - my Slovakian neighbours had just got back from their late shift at the Tesco warehouse. As has become custom, they congregated loudly in the back garden, outside my window, and had a loud conversation and a piss. But it was neo-Fordian politics that kept me up - the system that made it more profitable for Tesco to strike up a deal with an agency, who would house these Eastern-European workers on condition that they keep to their 10-12 hour shifts at what must be, surely, underpaid laborious work.
"Bastards!" I thought, intolerantly. I was getting really tired, so tried to drown it out with my iPod - some soothing melodies to ease me gently to the land of Nod. I had a little bit of cultural hybridity with my Dub remixes of Roots Manuva, sampled a bit of the North with Morrissey before settling on the Austrian composer Mahler's Fifth Symphony Adagietto. Let's not overlook the globality of the iPod itself and all the labour that went into making it - here.
So, before I even slept - I had consumed the products, experience and cultures of Brazil, Slovakia, Japan, Jamaica (second hand through Roots' parents), Austria and more.
Well, this blogpost would have been a lot longer had I not treated myself to an epic lay-in. At 12:45pm, my Snorlax-self evolved and I rose from my dormancy! For your information, the dream was based in England - I remember playing basketball at some point...that was invented by the Canadian James Naismith. My and my multicultural subconscious)
So yes, I woke up and came downstairs to find my post waiting for me. The Labour Leadership Election papers! I logged on to my Facebook and checked what is going on in the world. I could keep in touch with friends from Cambridge who are living or visiting all the corners of the planet - in every continent. I wasn't feeling massively social, but if I was feeling chatty, I could have chatted in real time with friends in Ghana, Sri Lanka, Australia or anywhere, from the comfort of my big old living room chair.
2pm, I started to feel hungry and this led to my only excursion outside of the house - to Sainsbury's Local! I wasn't sure what I wanted but I didn't have much change so my options were limited to £2. I wandered about a little bit and decided on some discounted Sushi that was about to go out of date (79p = win), some Dorito's (variation on a Mexican theme) and some Coke (the epitome of transnational capitalist marketing) to wash it all down. And back home - nom nom nom, all gone.
My brother is ill and for that reason he is even more sedentary than usual - since he wasn't going to move out of my chair, I felt I ought to make the best of a cramped living room situation and decided to put a film on. We watched Almodovar's 'Bad Education (La Mala Educacion) in Spanish.
I'm getting a little bored of myself now, so I will say only that my dad made some Chicken and Chorizo pasta for dinner.
You see my point. We live in a society that places high virtue on one's autonomy and self-reliance but even on a day in which I barely left the house, nearly every aspect of my life was dependent upon a distant Other. Food, Neighbours, Music, Film, Language, Technology, Production.
Maybe our the core of our sense of independence is that we just don't need ever to meet the people we rely upon to sculpt our social existence.