The following article, written by Carlos Huworth, was originally published on

The article was republished in the July/August 2013 issue of Adbusters magazine. The observations articulated in this article are, I believe, incredibly accurate, relevant and well articulated.

All We Want is Nothing

In Australia recently, 7eleven are pushing a big campaign for their ‘sugarless’ Slurpee, coining the term ‘zilched’ in reference to the sugar content in their product. Noticing yet another giant, gaudy advertisement for one, a friend of mine mused: ‘What’s in it if there’s no sugar?’.

Fact is, there could be very little that this ‘drink’ now contains, minus what would have been the once rampant sugar content and it made me think: Is it possible that people can now be sold – blatantly – something that clearly is close to actually being nothing? -cAnd not even flinch at the thought of giving away money for it?

Sure. But who’s thinking that? – Who’s thinking anything? ..

ripping you off more than ever before
ripping you off more than ever before

When I ride the bus somewhere – or the train – all too predictably I see heads down and fingers swiping screens, people scrolling through their Facebook feeds, almost all of them; another sits with his phone in landscape, not daring to look up for a second, to think for himself, enthralled by some TV show or film in the palm of his hand.

At the gym or on the street, everyone keeps their head down, their obsession inside, too busy trying to be better than everyone else, who they know nothing about. They go out on the weekend, and get so drunk that they lose their shoes, their manners, their already ailing civility, and then they lie down in a dirty gutter somewhere after they might have stuffed their face with some nutritionless food, or kicked a sign, yelled random abuse at a passer-by.

Then they wake up in the morning and remember nothing, they’ve learned nothing, noticed nothing.– There’s only a sharp throbbing pain in their head to remind them that something might have happened the night before. Just like last weekend.

We want cars and houses – ‘property’ – the latest look, so we all look the same; we want the biggest muscles, the shiniest jewels, the newest phone, and we want to be most up-to-date on the trendiest shows. We want the most lavish party, the most ‘wanted’ friends – we want everything that will make us seem ‘successful’, with as little effort as possible…

And it all amounts to nothing. When our life comes to an end, they are meaningless, worthless. They are nothing.

Your memory fades away, cars no longer yours, muscles shrinking, no jewels, no friends to make you look good, no trends to make you look good – nobody will remember how honest we were, how curious, nobody will remember our love and compassion, the knowledge we shared, because it rarely happened. We were too busy seeking nothing.

Things used to be so different, everything changed. We used to think for ourselves, find entertainment on our own, or make our own way there. We used to read books on trains, smile at strangers and not seek refuge in a portable pocketed screen, glowing a list of virtual friends, as silences became uncomfortable, or when a party suffered a lull.

We can’t spell on our own, find our way on our own, we are learning less and less, disengaging more and more. We used to dare to be unique. Sometimes we’d even stare out the window as the bus rolled along, letting our thoughts wander too. You might’ve been called a drone to your own mind, now we’re all becoming drones to someone else’s…

Now all we want is that sugarless Slurpee. We’ll pay good money for it. Some big business will make millions from it. From nothing.