Shop or Drop

“There must be more to life than having everything.” –Maurice Sendak

And since most of us can’t have everything, we get …. wanting everything, instead. Which is damned good for business. We must know better. Don’t most folks learn to distinguish between what they need and what they want sometime before puberty?

“imagine no posessions; I wonder if we can.” –John Lennon

But maybe we don’t learn that, ever. And certainly our cynical corporate culture encourages us to confuse needs and wants. We do have brains, though, so we could figure it out. If we care. If we want to know. Much easier to shop for bargains than to fight for a decent society, built on respect and compassion, on how well we can take care of each other, not on how much shit we can pile up. If we don’t want to simply drown in our own excess, we do need to sort some of this out, if we can. Soon. – LLF


Crooks and Liars
Saturday November 24, 2012 07:00 am
Black Friday Shopping and The Philosophy of Futility
By Susie Madrak
“The goal for the corporations is to maximize profit and market share. And they also have a goal for their target, namely the population. They have to be turned into completely mindless consumers of goods that they do not want. You have to develop what are called ‘Created Wants’. So you have to create wants. You have to impose on people what’s called a Philosophy of Futility. You have to focus them on the insignificant things of life, like fashionable consumption. I’m just basically quoting business literature. And it makes perfect sense. The ideal is to have individuals who are totally disassociated from one another. Whose conception of themselves, the sense of value is just, ‘how many created wants can I satisfy?’ We have huge industries, public relations industry, monstrous industry, advertising and so on, which are designed from infancy to mold people into this desired pattern.”
— Noam Chomsky
I stopped by Lowe’s yesterday to pick up some mouse traps and got into a conversation with another customer when I stopped to admire the miniature Christmas village display. He was a middle-aged man who told me he had four grandsons with expensive tastes. “I can hardly take care of myself, let alone buy this stuff they want,” he said, shaking his head.
“You’re the grandfather, that’s the parents’ problem,” I said.
No, he said, his son and daughter were drowning in credit card debt and he worried about them. “My son already filed for bankruptcy once and I think he’s going to have to do it again,” he said. “Look, I live a simple life. I have a prepaid Tracphone in my pocket, I use dial-up internet. When I retire, I’d like to move to North Carolina because it’s a lot cheaper to live, but it’s too long a drive and I know my kids wouldn’t come see me.”
He told me the grandkids wanted things like iPods and video games for Christmas. “The oldest one is eight,” he said. “I just don’t understand why you have to give kids that young whatever they want.”
He said it was nice talking to me, and walked away.

About l. l. frederick

I'm pretty ordinary, so I find any number of things in the world interesting, among them: books, music, flowers, food, social justice, politics and (sometimes!) people. As for my writing, I've decided that I can be subtle and tasteful when our only problems are esthetic ones. Or when I'm dead, whichever comes first. In the meantime, read at your own risk.
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