Gluttony, lust, sloth, greed, anger, envy, and pride. In premodern western culture, the seven deadly sins were widely regarded as violations of divine law. Today market capitalism has picked up on Christianity's psychic scourges. The deadly sins are acceptable, even praiseworthy, states of mind; virtues rather than vices.

Gluttony and lust fuel billion-dollar industries. Greed drives the quest for profit at any cost. Envy is a mainstay of the fashion industry and marketing as a whole. The revenge fantasies of anger are filtered through professional sports, video games and army recruitment advertisements. Pride fuels the education and management bandwagon of high self-esteem. Even sloth, in its original sense as a torpor of the soul, has found a new, profitable form as clinical depression.

The age-old deadly sins have been redirected as states of mind conducive to consumption. Sin has been spun. Hence, what I call “The Deadly Spins.”

- Geoff Olson


The Deadly Spins first appeared in The Yukon News, and was substantially revised and enlarged for Common Ground magazine. Author Geoff Olson is a Vancouver-based writer and political cartoonist.