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Food and foreplay: How social media shaped our religion [An article inspired by Charlie Brooker’s Guardian column]


Food and foreplay: How social media shaped our religion

Apart from instigating misleading responses to the question ‘Mommy, what exactly is a BJ?’ Steak and ‘Love-between-a-woman-and-a-man-Kind-Of’ Day took Twitter by storm this March 14 as ‘the male equivalent to Valentine’s Day.’


What does this say about what we care about in a modern age? Particularly when we consider the 2002 article ‘Britain has no National Children’s Day…’ and eleven years, and no recognition of International Children’s Day (November 20) later we have, at least, managed to produce a chauvinistic celebratory day which nudges women towards the belly (excuse the pun) of a patriarchal social media-fed monster which has spawned three ‘official websites’ to date. Honestly, Google it. Or don’t actually. It is this dependency on the internet which conceived the beast in the first place. Not that I can deny hypocrisy. As I write this I am simultaneously searching funny dogs on Pinterest (LOLcats are so last year, didn’t you watch Crufts?), uploading the weekends photos onto Facebook and thinking of witty oneliners for #smellconfession, apparently. Social media has indeed given us a platform to market ourselves, but once we’ve finished writing About Me’s and reformatting backgrounds we find ourselves in an internet purgatory of sorts, waiting for the illusive ‘k’ to appear after our number of followers. In lieu of such an occurrence, the majority of us must find contentment in scrolling through our Newsfeeds for something we can hashtag and follow like square-eyed sheep. Lo and behold, horsemeat in burgers?! Haven’t bought one since 1998 but heck, I eat, people eat; Sarah Jessica Parker, there’s a meme here with your name on it.

Although you laugh, you can’t ignore that familiar shudder down your spine as you remember your own ‘neigh-ver eating Findus again’ status. Yes. I know.

Self-loathing aside, I can’t help but wonder what drives our collective writer to use those precious one hundred and forty characters on the same topic pretty much every other sucker is. According to one ‘Official Steak and BJ’ site, the day has been slithering around the internet since 2003, so why hadn’t I heard of it until now? I can’t help thinking of Hume’s theory of the Natural History of Religion. Essentially, he postulated that religion follows an evolutionary pattern, oscillating between monotheism and polytheism – that’s one god or moar gods to you internetter – from pagan idols to an omnipotent creator then refluxing back into the worship of multiple, more personal deities. Applied to the modern age, it still makes sense. During the age of World War, the threat of imminent death drove the majority to seek a God who would be a comfort during times of fear or disaster. While I certainly can’t call the noughties perfect, I can refer to the nearly universal revocation of threats of climate change, as per the Sunday Telegraph’s rather cutting article on David Attenborough’s polar bear fibs, and the absence of weapons of mass destruction this end of the universe. Once we realised we weren’t all going to die in a puff of nuclear ray guns, the celebrity culture exploded instead, morphing into obsession with the invention of our good ol’ friend the Internet.

So here we are worshipping Stephen Fry and Justin Bieber when Stephen gets gay on us in too many ways than we can ignore, and Bieber’s balls drop. Ah. I guess we’re back to the metaphorical religious drawing board.

Bringing us nicely back to the question baffling our government for so long; who wants to celebrate kids anyway? They get old, smoke weed and smell like milk for an unnaturally long amount of time. They can’t even vote for monotheism’s sake! It’s not a big deal, the UN recommend it, but the only countries that celebrate Children’s Day are Azerbaijan, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Central Africa, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, China,  Hungary, Haiti, Indonesia, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan,  Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, New Zealand, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Sudan, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden,  Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zambia after all.

Macedonia and us. We got a good thing going; let’s not mix things up too much.

Despite how this seems to be going, I am not about to suggest we start self-flagellating for Fillets and Fellatio [N.B. Cheers Official S & BJ site No.2]. What I am happy to propose however, is that the next step on our religious pilgrimage is not merely towards an omnipotent being, but an omnipotent idea. Our previous Gods disappoint, popes quit; All hail the internet, and our collective input to it. The hashtag will be our spiritual guide, connecting us to the spirits of our brethren, Thou Shalt not Hack thine Neighbours Facebook will be sang at schools across the Western world. Smirk all you will – we are half-way there, preferring self-glorification in fabricated red-letter days than celebrating the implementation of Children’s Rights.

At least we learnt something from the little mites; following the fall of our previous religions, our paracosm is the Internet itself.

I know. Time to stop typing that T-Bone joke.




This is part of my ‘Journalism’ module coursework, and doesn’t necessarily express real opinions of mine! The project is to write a collection of articles in the style of a certain publication as if to be published and has to be about current affaris. Bit concerned this might not be high-brow enough… ha!

It’s inspired by Charlie Brooker’s column, and thus for The Guardian… hopefully that’s apparent?

Let me know what you think :)


About samshortstories

Posting largely unpolished creative writing as and when it comes to me to get feedback and hopefully improve as a writer through this. Hobbies include bouldering, scuba-diving and eating.


2 thoughts on “Food and foreplay: How social media shaped our religion [An article inspired by Charlie Brooker’s Guardian column]

  1. I think that it was well worth a read. It is sharply written and full of enjoyable irony.

    One thing I might not necessarily agree with is the very premise of your article: the fact that you describe might as well say nothing at all about “what we care for in a modern age.” For one I didn’t have a slightest idea that the ‘celebration’ you refer to existed. I learned of it from your article. Taking your advice I googled it. I was not impressed.

    Could it be that you supply an event with meaning it does not nearly have? To me it merely seemed yet another incident of synchronized vulgarity that I have shrugged off the very moment I came in contact with. However, I enjoyed your mocking account of it a great deal.

    Something else, if I may. I sometimes felt that the very fluency of your writing got in the way of my understanding. By discussing social media, children, politics war and religion all at once you seem to conflate several highly distinctive topics in an article of not nearly sufficient scale. At times, I found it hard to follow the celerity of your thought :).

    That said — it was an exciting read. If this is one article of a series — please do publish more.

    Posted by I'm Not Stiller | January 14, 2014, 9:36 am
    • Thanks for your feedback! It’s much appreciated.

      Perhaps you are right about my apotheosizing the ‘event’ above the actual reach it has in reality. Part of the project we were given was to write something ‘topical’ and ‘of now’ and when I wrote it there was quite a bit of coverage on twitter and facebook about it which is why I chose to write about it. I also thought it would be a bit of fun :)

      And I would agree with your comment about my trying to discuss several things at once. It’s something my tutors often call me out on, I’m trying to distill it a little better! I hope that the things I post in future will be clearer, and you’ll find them easier to follow.

      Thanks again, and do give me a follow just in case I manage something better ;)

      Posted by samshortstories | February 5, 2014, 8:32 pm

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