Posted by: brian | November 22, 2007

My Xmas wish list

It would be nice if people would take seriously the issue of consumption. Adbusters has been trying to publicize the issue for years, and one of their classic anti-events is coming up this Friday. Yes, it’s Buy Nothing Day, the day you avoid crowded malls and hyped-up bullshit. Another proposed activity is Buy Nothing Christmas. The site tells us: “Buy Nothing Christmas is not really about refusing to spend a dime over the holiday season. It’s about taking a deep breath and deciding to opt out of the hype‚ the overcrowded malls‚ and the stressful to–do lists. It’s about reminding ourselves to really think about what we are buying‚ why we are buying it‚ and whether we really need it at all.”

This is an idea that I completely support, for a couple of reasons. First, I hate the shopping. Second, I hate trying to come up with ideas for what other people should by for me. Third, I have so much stuff already. A lot of the stuff I have – whether received as a gift or purchased by myself, sits around and never is used. Yet at the time, I “needed” it. Hell, I still find myself “needing” stuff, or just wanting things enough to say, “Fuckit, I’m buyin’ that.”

Simultaneously, I’m a huge fan of the bounty that capitalism has produced in this country. Apparently, I contain multitudes.

Now, a lot of people out there will argue that anti-consumerism is akin to communism, or is illogical (if I literally consume nothing, I’ll die, for example), or is it’s own form of hyped-up bullshit and or hypocrisy. And I’m not going to engage that, because it would be pointless. I think the biggest argument I can make is that it’s not about anti-consumerism, but rather mindful consumerism. Think about your consumption and its consequences. It’s not easy, but if we start paying attention, and teaching our kids to pay attention, maybe in a couple of generations people will find it easier to consume less. Assuming they aren’t too busy fighting each other over puddles of filthy water.

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