The comforts of Western culture have no doubt encouraged the embracing of a hedonistic lifestyle among humans. Starting with the Baby Boomers (well, actually, with Europe), humans are increasingly living a life of chasing only immediate material pleasures (trust me, I love material pleasures too…but not exclusively). This is coming to a head with the current era of young adults known as Millennials. Millennials don’t want commitment because it gets in the way of being controlled by whatever passions or appetites they may have at any moment. Commitment to a spouse is too sexually constricting. Commitment to a mortgage is too geographically constricting. Commitment to a family is too…well…constricting in general. So, since human beings naturally long for companionship, we find young adults between about 20 and 35 are personifying their pets in a way that mimics a relationship to the children they are forgoing. People seem to be more concerned with unadopted dogs than suffering children (and make no doubt, I have a soft spot for dogs). For instance, take a look at social media. Posts of pets frequently include captions offering adorable glimpses not into their cute pets, but their adorable “children” and “family”. Millennials, inevitably, know they are longing for a happiness that isn’t material so they are attempting to quench this immaterial thirst by drowning themselves in dog slobber. Pets require less of a financial commitment, they require less of a time commitment, and they require less of an emotional commitment. Does this sound like anyone you know?
Enter PetSmart pet stores. They recently aired a commercial that, admittedly, is somewhat humorous. But the main thing that stood out to me is the fact that it shows a typical Millennial couple discussing what they need since becoming “new parents” to some puppies. Even the narrator refers to the pets as “kids”. Is the commercial a big deal? No, not really, but it highlights the growing sentiment among young people: that real children are a burden to anyone that actually enjoys their life. PetSmart recognizes this growing demographic and are simply trying to capitalize on it (Note to self: Invest in PetSmart stock). This sentiment shouldn’t be ignored though, it is quite literally destroying the population in Europe and will soon do the same here. Unlike the destruction from the big plagues of history and natural disasters, it’s not the old and weak that this kills, it’s the young, strong and fruitful–the people that we rely on to keep the population stable.
I know, I know, it’s just a silly commercial, right?