Saturday, December 12, 2009

Emperor examines Consumer Culture

Okay, for one of the new projects that we are throwing together at Crimson Star, I requested one of my writers to put together a poem about American Consumer Culture, it is a fairly funny piece. The new project is called Gentleman's Washroom Quarterly, and is designed to examine American Social norms, with the goal of affecting social change. Yes, lofty goals, we know.

So whats so bad about our Consumer Culture? Well its definately a driving force in our society, and even has a psychological affect upon us, the consumers. We forget many of the simple pleasures in life, and instead seek to fulfill very specific images of ourself, as influenced by the media.

And anything thats not presented in the media, or readily available for consumption? We define it as wierd. We define it as wrong. And this of course affects people adversely to put self-image in the hands of the media, as in order to create sales, they create a feeling of inadequacy. The only way to fill this void, and make ourselves feel better, is to buy. And of course, once this cycle was established, it proved good for business, and thus, they would never let us feel better. So I think alot of advertising is aimed to make us feel bad about ourselves.

I had an expeience, with an argument with a person, which took some theories of Labor Value, and expanded on them. As alot of value in society is determinant on Labor, how much your willing to do to gain something. And as labor is fueled by sustenance, its arguable that food is a universal affector on all price/value. Petroleum has a similiar affect, but is much more scarce, thus its affect is much stronger. Imagine that a specific commodity's affect on price and value is a parabola, oil is at the high end of the parabola, while food is on the lower end. Not every commodity is on this parabola, for example, despite the scarcity of diamonds, they only really have an affect on specific industries, namely jewelry and spcific drilling industries. While the price of diamonds would affect these industries, their effect on the price of lumber, is non-existant. As the diamonds aren't required to chop lumber, and the aren't required to make the capital assets in lumber production, they have no affect.

The theory is fairly sound. But he just rejects it. He regurgitates what he has read, and never opens his mind to new ideas. I thought that was one of the major things college taught. I suppose I was wrong.

Either way, I experienced American Consumer attitudes today, when I heard a woman returning a book to Borders and complaining about it having wierd concepts. The concept of a return is apart of consumer culture. You dont think about your purchase enough, to determine that it is 'wierd'...nor do you determine that the story may hold enough quality to get you past the 'wierd' parts. You just dont think that much with a purchase.

Its this same fast-culture and quick-talking that makes many Americans seem like asses. I can remember reading Gulliver's Travels and wondering about the whole statement, think for five seconds before we speak. I think its applicable.

So overall, my beef with consumer culture, isn't that it makes us happy, rather, that in order to make us happy, it makes us sad first. And that it makes us decide upon our purchase, without really thinking about it, and that these qualities lead us to think less in our personal lives.

To that end, I promise never to use an advertisement that promotes negative self image, if I can help it. And I will never use sexual advertising, less I'm selling something explicitly sexual.

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