This month we listened to a four-part presentation produced for the CBC radio program “Ideas”. Each segment was an hour long: Drowning In Stuff, Marketing Cool, Targeting Children, and More Is Not Always Better. The program dealt with consumer culture and the fact that the media normalizes affluence -even though only twenty percent of the population can afford to live at the standard portrayed in most television programs. We are no longer keeping up with the Joneses in our own income bracket – now we are trying to keep up with Frasier Crane. North Americans can purchase hundreds of styles of shoes, household gadgets, toys and other products, but our planet cannot sustain the level of consumption that corporations tell us we are entitled to.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
We were stunned by the information compiled on these tapes. Even though these issues were not new to us, they had more impact because the correlation between over-consumption, our stressful lifestyle, fair labour, environment and economy was so neatly synthesized. Finding out that you are being manipulated is not a pleasant feeling but we can all put our consciences to good use by curbing our impulse purchases and working for justice in the world economy.