Woken at 5am by the Great Dane barking at his reflection in the living room window. True, I sometimes feel like barking at my reflection in the mirror on a bad hair day but this loud deepish barking may mean my puppy is becoming a watchdog (territorial instincts kicking in), or that he just likes talking to himself when alone. He is immensely sociable, overjoyed to see me stumbling out of the bedroom and reprimanding him rudely.
Reading news websites as I had my second cup of morning tea, I read that our South African advertising standards authority has withdrawn a television advertisement depicting angels falling to earth smitten by the fragrance of a man’s deodorant, because this might offend Christians.
The advert for Axe deodorant depicts winged, attractive women crashing to earth in what appears to be an Italian town, and then being drawn towards and sniffing a young man who has used the deodorant. The text at the end of the ad reads: “Even angels will fall”.
Sandwiched in between our daily listings of rapes, murders and political corruption, this news has a wacky kind of naivety about it. Censorship here has always had a zanier-than-thou feel. Serious blasphemy and denigration of others’ beliefs, together with blatant sexism, unsubtle homophobia and various other forms of discrimination, doesn’t bother the advertising standards authority at all.
A friend at supper last night said she has given up the search for meaning in her life and is content to just live with the unknowability of it all. No, no, no, I said, we need meaning (this while washing a large cast-iron pot and reaching for a towel with wet hands, gesturing towards the universe as I did so). We create meaning and purpose in some ways — our relationship choices, our work endeavours, our determination to get sober and reclaim our lives. And then there are the elusive meaningful insights that come to us as gifts and miracles, the numinous and unexpected, a shaft of light into the darkness. Luckily for me, Jessa Crispin puts it much better in a shrewd article on Alice James among other topics:
…what Wolf sums up as, “What gives meaning to our lives gives us reasons to live, even when we do not care much, for our own sakes, whether we live or die.” And now that is the meaning her life carries: how meaninglessness is so easy to fall into, and how no one is going to drop a meaningful life into your lap. You fight for it over and over again.