Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Buy, buy, buy!!

We are in that season that no longer stands for anything, other than rampant consumerism. No longer are people content to savor the sentimental moments that at one time made the holidays a much more enjoyable time. Now it’s shop, shop, shop! With consumer debt headed for the stratosphere, why stop now? Max out the plastic and pay the piper later.

About five or six years ago, my wife and I just decided to downsize our Christmas. As a result, one aspect of our lives has never been better (or saner). Obviously, we are in a very small minority; a trip to the general vicinity of a shopping mall over the next three weeks will validate our status as fringe dwellers.

I ran across this quote, while doing some reading over at Jim Kunstler’s blog on Peak Oil. For me, it succinctly sums up the mentality of the pack that I am seeing: I’ll just stand back and let this person, who posts under the moniker, Mewsician, have the podium:

"Americans have digressed to the point of utter soullessness, a condition in which the only thing they know to do is buy things in an effort to make themselves feel good and to carve out some kind of (albeit shallow and pitiful) identity. I buy, therefore I am.

Remember that watershed moment when, incredibly, George Bush stood amidst the Twin Towers rubble and told people to "go shopping." IMO, that was truly a profound and riveting reflection of what this country has become—it didn't get NEAR the examination and discussion it deserved in the national discourse. A nation traumatized by violent assault, and our "leader" tells us to go out and buy cheap Chinese crap to make ourselves feel better. THAT was his recipe for healing, his idea of a balm for a shaken national psyche. I still can't get over it.

For me, that was THE defining George Bush moment—even ahead of the flight suit debacle and all the rest. But it's what is at the core of all that ails us—we cannot be a society that knows or values nothing except the monetary and what we can buy and take back to our cave.

This.....unchecked, we will continue our downward spiral into ever-more-meaningless lives of quiet emotional desperation. And when the coming energy nightmare truly arrives—and the Walmart trucks can't deliver the shiny baubles to the stores for the magpies to paw over and take back to their trashy nest—it will be just that much more tragic a set of circumstances."

If interested in leaving the consumer merry-go-round this Christmas, here are a couple of sites worth checking out; and yes, I know, this shit freaks people out!

Buy Nothing

Rev. Billy


asfo_del said...

I couldn't agree more. :)

weasel said...

Well thats one way to sell "When Towns Had Teams".... :)

Jim said...

I know, today's post probably smacks of hypocrisy, seeing that I have a book that folks are buying as gifts to give for Christmas.

My thrust in what I wrote isn't necessarily geared to the folks that might buy my book, Liz Peavey's book, or other small press books in some of the state's independent bookstores.

Sometimes, I just throw up my hands, as it seems that whatever I write will be misconstrued in some manner.

I don't think the most of the 500-600 people who've bought my book are the ones I'm concerned about.

I'll end up buying a few gifts, but I try hard to buy local, have some purpose in my purchase (I've given some family and friends who are serious readers, a subscription to a literary magazine, such as Zoetrope, or Creative Non-Fiction, to name a couple.

I enjoy downtown Bath this time of year; it reminds of Christmases when I was a kid, when buying the latest junk from China wasn't the endgame of the holiday.

edgurl30 said...

I disagree with the "buy nothing at Xmas" sentiment/movement. I most certainly agree with you about scaling our Xmas buying back, however.

I've never been to Bath. I do try to get into Farmington, which is our nearest "city"; the town is decorated nicely and it does play to one's sentimental side for the holidays.

Don't be such a killjoy and have yourself a merry little xmas.

Any articles in the works about education?

weasel said...

"Sometimes, I just throw up my hands, as it seems that whatever I write will be misconstrued in some manner."

I might be misconstruing again, but Jim:


You write with the fervor of the converted. I'm glad you have been reading books about lefty causes, not the "Left Behind" series!

I Like giving presents- but I'm blessed with a good and varied downtown of independent stores with a broad range of interesting products (from Maine and beyond). I'm also blessed with family and friends who don't desire expensive geegaws so I don't feel compelled to run up debt or spend a fortune. If only we could all be so lucky, right?

Merry Christmas, gigglepuss!

weasel said...

PS: "We are in that season that no longer stands for anything, other than rampant consumerism": only if you let it get to you that way.

ChefDunn said...

I don't mind the rampant consumerism.

As long as people realize that its more about their KIDS and their FAMILY than it is about themselves. That includes the guys that own the big box stores.

Thats the part that seems to have been forgotten.