Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bought, Ensouled

“When you leave a product on the shelf, your body and soul start reclaiming itself,” says Talen. “Consumerism is never surprising. It is predicable." His alternative call to arms? "Be imaginative.”

I'm all in favor of Buy Nothing Day. I celebrate it a couple hundred times a year, in fact. But I couldn't help but laugh at the ironic, epigrammatic beauty of that statement. You know what's really predicable (sic)? Romantic philippics about the "soul"-deadening effects of consumerism, as opposed to the lasting happiness of a life grounded in, uh, "natural" desires and artisanal crafts. Look, Rousseau, people were bored, unfulfilled, unimaginative and miserable long before the modern-day Satanic mills of big-box department stores, and conversely, there are people who manage to happily partake of this consumerist cornucopia without suffering an existential crash, because they were never high on utopian fantasies to begin with. All things in moderation, you know?

I note that he, like so many of his comrades, frames it as a choice between the undifferentiated mass-mind (bor-ring!) and the unique snowflake status of the true artiste (oui, oui!) Again, I suggest that people like the Right Reverend Billy might want to consider the thesis of Heath and Potter, that the real engine driving modern consumerism is the urge to distinguish oneself as an individual.

1 comment:

Brian M said...

Plus...these brave rebels against consumerism are almost always the affluent (or children of the affluent). It's easy to "choose not to consume" when one has a choice. I'm sure the Calcutta slum dweller is "ennobled" by his or her poverty, man.