Gillette and Occam’s Razor
If Brexit represents a country having a nervous breakdown, ravaged by identity crisis and hyper-nostalgia, incapable of understanding itself and confused about its role in the world, Piers Morgan personifies this spasm of moronic populism.
Morgan, who readers will recall was sacked for publishing faked photographs of troops torturing Iraqi prisoners, has had a crisis of his own ego, his fragile sense of masculinity being existentially challenged by a tv advert for razors. His entire purpose seems to be as a barometer of a generation of conservative men who are terminally confused about everything.
Poor Piers has been mouthing off on the telly and in the Daily Mail about Gillette:
“Its commercials have unashamedly celebrated men and masculinity. You watch them and feel good about being male. Not just because they make you aspire to be a winner and successful achiever, but because they also encourage you to be a good father, son, husband and friend. As a result of this consistently upbeat and positive marketing style, Gillette has grown into the most successful razor firm in history, generating annual sales of $6 billion a year. I’ve bought Gillette products for three decades.”
Not any more.
Brave Piers now pronounces:
“By telling its male customers we’re basically all a bunch of uneducated, vile, sexist, harassing predators, they’ve jumped the shark in an unforgivable way. I for one won’t use Gillette razors again until they withdraw this terrible commercial and formally apologise for their man-hating bullsh*t. I suspect I am not alone.”
I suspect you’re not.
I’m not sure when we needed companies selling shaving gear to help us define masculinity — “You watch them and feel good about being male” — how weird — any more than women needed Dove to create positive body-images for them. This is soap. Sell us the soap.
So Piers outrage (he’s just recovered from being outraged about sausage rolls) — may be as contrived as Gillette’s intentions.
As Darren McGarvey commented:
“Watching The Gillette advert is very smart. It will piss off thousands of men with Youtube channels, who will make ‘REACTION’ videos complaining. Meanwhile, all the other men, will enjoy the first ever advert in history, that does not make them want to take steroids.”
But it is a funny cultural snapshot of a society on the brink of a catastrophic economic crisis, political seizure and constitutional collapse.
“Let boys be damn boys. Let men be damn men” sounds like something Dirty Harry or Holden Caufield might mutter, but it’s the authentic voice of Brexit Man, 2019 Edition, with swivel eyes, grip hands and foaming mouth. Morgan is the Che Guevara of the Gammon Generation, the Tariq Ali of the TV sofa, he is the poster-boy for a generation of men worried about immigration, confused by #MeToo and “genuinely interested” in Jordan Peterson’s views on Lobster serotonin.
In simpler times Old Spice used to tell us with endless surfing, Tall Ships and bikini girls: “You’ll become yourself, you’ll find success… the mark of a man” all to Carmina Burana. Blue Stratos offered “cool, quiet, confidence” while Henry Cooper and Kevin Keegan offered a sort of homo-erotic workout for Brut 33.
Maybe all this is a displacement activity to allow us to avert our eyes from the politicians?
Brexit, a Close Shave
Britain is led by a woman who, after two years in office yesterday stood on the steps of Downing Street and said: “I don’t really know what to do.”
In terminal confusion simple answers need to be asserted.
Occam’s razor is the problem-solving principle that essentially states that simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones. When presented with competing hypotheses to solve a problem, one should select the solution with the fewest assumptions.
For Brexit it would suggest that we need to stop No Deal, and change the government.
For Scotland, a country now facing economic chaos despite being 70% against Brexit, we need to exit this dysfunctional Union as soon as is feasible. It is irredeemable.
As the political crisis of Brexit morphs into a constitutional one, the sideshow of culture wars will unravel alongside the images of the M20 from Dover. Morgan’s confused self-entitlement and incapacity to process the most basic understanding of what being a man in the 21C might be, are an insight into a deeper malaise of dumb incomprehension.
This is a country without vision, without leadership and without a future.
In the end days of Britain we see people wailing about loss, yearning for yesterday and pleading to return to some mythical past — the 1970s — the 1950s — the 1890s — take your pick — when Britain had pink bits on the map and everyone knew their place.
Brexit will bring economic harm into a country already disfigured by inequality, poverty and social crisis — and the shrill voice of the kind Morgan represents will be there in the foreground bleating away about razor blades, sausage rolls or whatever perceived assault tumbles into his retarded consciousness that day.
The crisis of male power is the defining crisis of our era — and one mirrored in the confused belligerence of Brexitland, the presumption of power, the inability for self-reflection, the inflated ego and the strident need to prove oneself despite the overwhelming evidence for self-harm.
Originally published at bellacaledonia.org.uk on January 17, 2019.