For sheer delight you needn’t look much further than the latest John Lewis Home Insurance advertisement:
True, there’s misery, uncertainty, risk, danger and cruelty in the world (see Let Them In), but there’s also joy, security, and freedom. We needn’t feel guilt about what we have, as long as we don’t take it for granted, believe we’re entitled to it, or spare no thought or cash for others. We’re simply lucky.
The ‘John Lewis life’ portrayed in this advertisement is lived in middle-class comfort in prosperous suburbs by families where Dad does the cooking, and adorable girls dance their hearts out, free to indulge their hopes and dreams in safety. Piano, flute, flowers, books, antiques, whisky decanter, a cast iron casserole in the kitchen – all are what you might call discretionary items. If there’s a little damage along the way to some of these, John Lewis will pick up the pieces.
It’s an idealisation, of course, but for many of us this really is the way we’ve grown up and lived our lives. Dangers lurk in the shadows, but they are few – families argue, accidents happen and John Lewis can’t be there for all of these, but when sickness comes there’s always the NHS to pick up the pieces when it’s possible.
No wonder the world’s less fortunate trek towards this enviable possibility.