Happiness is Anti-Consumerism
Ok first disclaimer right off the bat, I’m a consumer, damn near impossible to be raised and live in America without that lifestyle being beaten into our heads. But I’m a recovering consumer, I’ve become less and less of a consumer each year of my life. Now what do I mean by a consumer, essentially someone who is under the influence of advertisers, who believes more is better, who gets enamored with the latest, biggest and best things when they are really not that necessary or even necessary at all in some cases.
I would argue that the United States, even more than a capitalist society or a democracy is a consumer society, it has damn near become our national religion and it is what gives big corporations so much power. Don’t believe me, pull up a YouTube full of Black Friday videos and watch Americans go insane even to the point of violence and death to get a good deal for the holidays.
I’ve written before on simplifying your life and this is a topic near and dear to me. A lesson that I will be hammering home to myself over the next six months as I live on what I can carry on my back while on the Appalachian Trail. I’m guessing very quickly, new TV’s and new cars and the latest exciting electronic gadget will soon hold no relevance for me what so ever.
One of the biggest proponents of anti-consumerism is Reverend Billy and his Stop Shopping Choir. I first met Reverend Billy about 10 years ago at Burning Man, a lot of what he was doing back then was highly entertaining and slightly serious theater with a message. However, the man and the message have gotten very serious and he’s become a staunch advocate for anti-consumerism and economic justice in America and I’m proud of his message and the work he’s doing.
This all recently hit home for me. I’m staying with my sister and her family which includes my 10 year-old nephew. He’s smitten with brands, his jerseys and shirts MUST be Under Armour. This is not so disturbing a result of advertising, peer pressure and father worship. However he also MUST have Axe body wash, this is disturbing.
We’ve all seen the commercials Axe does, they are a one trick advertising pony, the premise, use Axe products and hot women will attack you and rip your clothes off to have you. The idea that a 10 year-old boy has already completely bought into this ridiculous advertising ploy frightens me for the rest of his life. He’s a smart kid, hopefully he’ll come to realize the game companies are playing and get beyond it.
But how much hope do I really have for that when I watch adults fall prey to the same lame advertising gimmicks. So my friends, pay attention, be smart, want and use less and you’ll have much happier days ~ Rev Kane