Sunday, December 09, 2007


Leslie has a great post on Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping, and a little plug for Democracy Now where Amy Goodman interviewed him about his campaign to ostensibly shame people into stopping shopping in the shopping malls and chain coffee houses across the country. Except for the immediate disruption to the engineered flow of cash extraction from addicted consumers he poses with his red robed Stop Shopping Gospel Choir dancing and singing in the aisles, he will not make the market back down or the addicts withdraw. In the long run he will have been a draw to the Great American Thingathon he protests as hardened shoppers rush to see and take him under their wing as harmless, quaint entertainment just as the hippies in Austin, perhaps the rest of the country, adopted Merle Haggard’s C&W put down of war protesters, Okie From Muskogee, as one of their favorite ways to mock the mock of their larger-than-that selves.

Since 9/11 I have become more aware of the whole consumer mentality that has possessed the American psyche. I have long known about manufacturer's schemes of planned obsolescence and breakdown-the-day-after-warranty-expiration in order to keep customers paying repeatedly for shoddy products, but I hadn't quite comprehended how successfully these ploys went unconsciously obeyed by such a large portion of the sheeple. I have George Bush to thank for the wake-up on that. When he shouted into the silent shock and awe echo of a nation on 9/12/01, “Go shopping!!!,” he mouthed the words dictated by the neocon puppet masters with their fingers on the pulse of the country, the GNP, the trough from which they swill.

The upper class buy multiple houses to contain their superfluous acquisitions of status and wasteful affordability. The middle class rents space in acres of above the surface land fill cubicles to store and lock the knockoffs that didn’t make them as happy as the rich must be. The lower class keeps their car in the drive way so their garage can become a repository for their disappointing discount center bargains, like addicts' empty plastic needles. Even the impoverished flock to flea markets and yard sales as the excesses trickle down in Reagan’s dream economy coming true.

The removal of the middle class to further rarify and separate the, elite, clandestine, upper-class from the working poor lower class is well underway thanks to US capitalist greed having bought up patents and scientific technology to keep quality at minimum acceptability for maximum price while the rest of the world forged ahead in both quality and affordability. To a good bean counter it only makes sense to abandon the old inefficient and overpriced ways that would have to be retooled and retrained to pay for better quality and price available elsewhere as if the US were a failed business whose treasurer reinvested in another start up nation whose profits can only go up in this gamble of lives for the profits of the rich.

As much as oil being our source of energy is the source of many of our problems personally, culturally and globally, our dependence on world cluttering stuff to make life easier, happier, more fulfilling is not only futile and harmful to the planet we abuse, it is perpetual denial of the true source of happiness within each of us, most clearly recognized when we are of use to ourselves.


Leslie said...

You said beautifully what I stumbled around about with pictures.
Thanks Vapors!
We have become so 'reactionary' and defensive to any questioning of our mores, that I fear you are correct that Rev. Billy will not create the desired epiphany in the populace.
Then again, a mighty oak starts with a nut.

Minx said...

Reverend Billy is nuts.....

gregra&gar said...

Leslie, all heretics are nuts to the tree they fall from — you got that right.

Minx, ditto

Green Bean said...

Really insightful post. We have got to stop consuming! And get rid of the stuff we have. Thank you also for sharing the link to Annie Leonard's Story of Stuff - a presentation that really makes you stop and think.

BTW, I found you through Going Green. I'll be back.