Sad, (ironic, too)
is that what we share most is
our isolation.

It’s that time of year again. On screens everywhere are secular creches overflowing with simulations of love and respect. It’s the season where the gap between what you are and what you want to be is felt the most painfully. And it’s digital marketeers with their pixelated visions of desire (and, for a price, its cure) that make it so.

They stopped pushing stuff by extolling its efficiency almost a century ago and began to sell it as a quid pro quo ticket to a better life. Now, even that’s gone. These days the ads only show [insert product name here] in bare proximity to a “person” that the potential consumer could want to be. The consumer is no longer a purchaser of a useful product, nor even a deal-maker, but a voyeur longingly watching beautiful people…

The consumer-to-be has zero possibility of joining these beautiful people, but will buy [insert product name here] as a license to pretend. So separately in our shared isolation, to avoid seeing ourselves in dark mirrors, we consumers stare at eidola on bright screens. And for six weeks or so, we are buoyed by our leased faith and artificial hope; we hold tight to the belief that we could be like—or liked by—these idealized yet fugitive spirits.

Still, try not to be beguiled by the malicious illusions in those bright screens, but to do as Leonard Cohen suggested earlier this year, “Steer your way through the ruins of the Altar and the Mall.”