I know it seems a bit lazy, but I’m still busy writing WOT #2 (The Sword of Unmaking), so I’m posting more scenes from my sci-fi satire play POP! Culture: The Future of America™. Here are scenes 5 & 6. As before, the full stage play can be read as a pdf here.
SETTING: TVNet Commercial Ad for ProzoCom
An advertisement with a MAN, a WOMAN and a VOICE.
VOICE (O.S.): Does something feel wrong in your life?
WOMAN: Something feels wrong in my life.
VOICE (O.S.): Do you find yourself skipping Buying Sessions® for no particular reason?
MAN: For some reason I just don’t feel like buying today.
VOICE (O.S.): Do you find yourself lacking a desire for consumption?
WOMAN: Do I really need to buy more things?
VOICE (O.S.): You may be suffering from Consumer Deficit Disorder™, also known as CDD™. It is a chilling disease that can strike any consumer at any time in their life.
MAN: I feel so helpless. I want to buy, but I can’t bring myself to do it.
WOMAN: I stare at the product I know I should want, but all I can think about is how much it will cost.
VOICE (O.S.): Fortunately there is a cure for CDD™.
WOMAN: I just want to be like everyone else.
MAN: It’s so embarrassing not being able to buy.
VOICE (O.S.): Thanks to the Brilliant People® at Mandatory Pharmacology™, a division of Mega Corp., there is help for people like you.
MAN: I just want my Life™ back.
WOMAN: Life isn’t Worth Living if You can’t Consume®.
VOICE (O.S.): From the Labs of Mandatory Pharmacology
comes ProzoCom®, The Drug of the Future!® ProzoCom® is a mild psychotropic compound that encourages a groundless sense of longing for something indefinable. Normally this is enough to reverse simple cases of CDD™, but luckily for the world, and those with serious CDD™, ProzoCom® has the fortunate side effect of causing immense, even addictive elation when making purchases.
MAN: For the first time in my Life™ buying things is better than sex!
WOMAN: I finally feel whole again.
VOICE (O.S.): Run your doctor program today and request ProzoCom®. You’ll Never Feel Better Than When Buying on ProzoCom®™.
MAN: The More I buy…
WOMAN: … The Better I Feel™!
VOICE (O.S.): ProzoCom®, guaranteed to be addictive, because; There’s No Healthier Addiction than the Addiction to Buying®!
The Man and Woman smile.
SETTING: Ashram of Karmic Konsumerism™
The Ex-Disciple steps in. The Ex-Disciple bows and then sits across from the Guru.
EX-DISCIPLE: My Ego thanks the Guru’s Spirit for this audience.
GURU: The Guru’s Spirit is all Spirit, and thus the Spirit of my Ex-Disciple and the Ego before me.
EX-DISCIPLE: Thanks anyway.
GURU: You’re welcome. What can I do for you?
EX-DISCIPLE: I’ve been thinking about what you said before I left the Ashram.
GURU: That the Way which can be seen is not the Way™.
GURU: What troubles you, My Student?
EX-DISCIPLE: It’s just that, well… That’s really confusing.
GURU: Insight Comes With Time, Not Desire™.
EX-DISCIPLE: But, I’ve been thinking, I’m a pretty smart consumer, and if I can’t grasp it, then how will the average consumer ever get it?
GURU: The average human is to the caterpillar as the extraordinary human is to the butterfly.
EX-DISCIPLE: What’s a butterfly?
GURU: It was an insect. There used to be billions of them before we genetically altered the plants we eat and killed them off.
EX-DISCIPLE: See, that’s part of the problem I’m having. Your message is so… Obscure.
GURU: I remember a time when butterflies were like dreams; many colored and bountiful.
EX-DISCIPLE: Yeah, well, that time has passed and we need a new message for the times we live in.
GURU: My message is simple and eternal: True joy comes not from buying things, but from finding inner peace, which cannot be bought, but must be earned.
EX-DISCIPLE: But, you see, the problem with that is, no one wants to work that hard.
GURU: The rewards of releasing our attachments to desires are obvious.
EX-DISCIPLE: No, they’re not obvious, because you can’t see them unless you’ve released your attachments to desire.
GURU: They are there for all to see if they are willing.
EX-DISCIPLE: Nobody wants something that everybody can have. That’s the first rule of marketing. You make things slightly difficult to obtain, but not so hard that they can’t put it on credit. Then you always make sure that there is a newer, fancier model that someone with more credit can get. That’s how you get them hooked. You play on their dissatisfaction with what they have and their desire for something they can’t describe.
GURU: That something is Spirit, and they can only fulfill that desire, by releasing all other desires.
EX-DISCIPLE: You don’t get what I’m saying, do you?
GURU: You want me to market and sell my spiritual philosophy of Karmic Konsumption™ in graduated levels of price and style, the most expensive being for the rich elite and the most reasonable for the middle class, and the cheapest for the poor.
GURU: You want me to sell Spirituality like it was clothes or cars, letting the rich get the best product on the market while the poor buy recycled metaphysics and second hand wisdom.
EX-DISCIPLE: It’s the only way to change the world.
GURU: The world can be changed only by changing the people in it.
EX-DISCIPLE: But the people don’t want to change. They’ve built a world on base animal desire and they don’t know anything else.
GURU: It is my duty to show them another Path™.
EX-DISCIPLE: They don’t want another Path™. Can’t you see that? They have never worked so hard, for so little, with so much danger all around them, but they continue to do exactly the things which will only make them need to work harder, which only make the rewards smaller, and the world more dangerous.
GURU: You cannot sell spiritual enlightenment.
EX-DISCIPLE: Buddhist temples do it all the time now. Plop down your money and you get a Certificate of Enlightenment®.
GURU: That’s why I left the Temple. Everything has become for sale. But you cannot buy Spirit.
EX-DISCIPLE: Why not? They buy everything else. They want to buy things. They’re programmed since birth to buy things. They’re on drugs that only let them feel good when they buy things, so why not have them buying spirituality instead of physical products whose creation degrades and destroys the environment. Destroys nature. If Nature is Spirit and Spirit is Consciousness, and Consciousness is Time and Time is Money, then Nature is Money, and if Nature is Money then Spirit is Money, and if it’s Money you can make a market for it, because all things are Money, and it’s not a matter of whether or not you buy, but what you buy, and buying ideas, no matter how powerful or silly, will always be better for the world than buying more cars, or more clothes, or more computers, or more cosmetics, more anything.
GURU: Dollars for Dharma™.
EX-DISCIPLE: That’s great. That could be the ad campaign. Consumerism Consuming Itself!™
GURU: I can’t do it.
EX-DISCIPLE: Why not?
The Guru stares down the Ex-Disciple
GURU: The Way that can be sold, is not the Way™.
The Ex-Disciple frowns.