Shopping is easier than jihad
Why I wonder, do so many people hate Americans? Well, they say they do,
but they don't really
September 19, 2002
I like shopping. This is significant, given the current global situation.
You know and I know, that it was a handful of brave shoppers that stopped the world
from sinking into recession and sadness after 9-11.
While financiers and speculators promised a slump lasting years (millions of people
putting on their cloth caps, queuing outside soup kitchens or the labour exchange),
we shoppers -- three blond ladies and myself -- took on an immense responsibility
and walked that extra mile to pop into Gucci. They went to Gucci, of course, and
I to the local wine shop to buy 1st growth Claret.
I proved to myself -- if proof were needed -- that I am not just a selfish member
of the bourgeoisie, addicted to pleasure. I toasted my philanthropy with a magnificent
1985 Chateau Prieurs de la Commanderie. It certainly made my boiled pasta more palatable,
while my Arab flat-mate no longer seemed odious after a couple of glasses. I should
have had him whipped in the street on 9-11 when he impudently suggested the Americans
had it coming.
Why I wonder, do so many people hate Americans? Well, they say they do, but they
don't really. You know that and I do too. Protesting American excesses is a mere
banality, and I would ask, is it excess we deplore, or just American excess?
I hear too many complaints about American unilateral actions and not half as many
about the unilateral torture and murder of citizens by the kleptocratic and murderous
regimes that make up the United Nations General Assembly. United Nations indeed:
don't make me laugh. They're only there to beg; they have contributed nothing to
my shopping expenses.
Why don't we hear anybody complaining about that thief Mugabe and other African carpetbaggers
who smugly censure "colonial" powers? Silly question of course: they're
Black, so just keep quiet. Mrs. Mugabe, that's Grace to her friends, likes to shop
in London and Paris but it's not her fault people are starving in Mugabeland or whatever
it's called. It's the fault of the British, those wily villains. She has been belatedly
banned from Europe following her husband's understandable excesses (like "cutting"
opposition down to size with machetes - very exotic).
The same goes for the much-maligned General Pinochet.
If you piously spit venom at the mention of his name, as I know the smug little commissars
among you do, then spare some of your spittle for worse murderers, like blood-red
Lenin, henchman Stalin or the piffle-ridden vermin in Colombia known as FARC, who
kidnap and murder the people they have promised to liberate.
Or how about Castro, who is to persistence what the Wall of China is to length? Why
did you socialists have to come and ruin it all for the rest of us? Why did you hate
champagne, chandeliers and shopping, except for large sausages produced on collective
A friend of mine (most amusingly) has composed a mock-Russian version of an Ode to
the Collective Farm, or that 1930's hit, Ode to the Tractor. He's currently rehearsing
Ode to the Sweaty Peasant Girl, though I wonder if that's a genuine Soviet tune.
Many Iranians -- you know who you are -- used to be communist sympathisers or Mojaheds
or whatever. You wanted to turn Iran into a collective choir singing the praises
of a mustachioed tyrant (Oh, so that's what it's about, the mustache, you're thinking).
I say to you, most respectfully, I would piss on your graves. No, not really, but
there's chutzpah for you.
Don't you go thinking shopping is easy though? If you do, you are clearly no Saturday
shopper in London's Oxford Street, where mothers use prams as assault vehicles. They
ram double-decker buses once the prams are laden with shopping (mostly cheaper items
from Marks and Spencer - bras, "Safari" shorts, that type of thing).
This reminds me of another friend who (amusingly) had
a T-shirt with the slogan, "Out of My Way I'm Shopping". She was a big
girl, so the joke, I feel, was far more amusing than it might have been in ordinary
So what, you're thinking? I would only say this: shopping makes a difference. Mullah
Omar never took the family to Oxford Street on a Saturday. He might have found some
bargains if he had (a Sari for her, Khaki trousers for him).
Aside witnessing some of the most desperate close-quarter, woman to woman passive-aggressive
fighting ever, he would also have ended up in Starbucks, eating one of their chocolate
fudge brownies, which look fresh and harmless but transubstantiate into a lump of
clay in your stomach. You can hardly move after one of those, let alone start a jihad.