Tag Archives | Consumerism

The Adventure Of Randomized Shopping

Craving the excitement that consumerism arouses, Darius Kazemi designed the Amazon Random Shopper, which buys random object each month, and documents the results. Could this randomized consumption prove more rewarding than shopping according to our supposed needs, desires, and tastes?

Recently I’ve been making a bunch of weird stuff that randomly generates things. The first iteration of this was going to be a program that bought me stuff that I probably would like. But then I decided that was too boring.

How about I build something that buys me things completely at random? Something that just… fills my life with crap? How would these purchases make me feel? Would they actually be any less meaningful than the crap I buy myself on a regular basis anyway?

So I built Amazon Random Shopper. It grabs a random word from the Wordnik API, then runs an Amazon search based on that word and buys the first thing that’s under budget.

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From Security Checkpoints to Predator Drones – Teaching Our Kids To Love Authority

If you’re intent on bringing about a police state marked by an increasing level of authoritarianism while carrying out crimes against humanity in faraway lands, it’s important that you have the support of your citizens. After all, as Aldous Huxley once said, “A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”

Of course, if you leave it until it’s too late the citizens might develop unsavoury traits such as questioning authority and employing critical thinking, so it’s vital that the State ideology is drilled into them while they’re young. What better way to do this than with a series of exciting toys?

As Barack Obama continues his killing spree via Predator drones in the Middle East, killing innocent children in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere even as the UN launches a major investigation into civilian deaths, American kids can get in on the action as well, with Maisto’s UAV Predator drone toy.… Read the rest

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Desperate Letter Describing Chinese Forced Labor Camp Found Inside Halloween Decorations Kit

Imagine if we understood where everything we have came from. Via Oregonian:

The letter came in a box of Halloween decorations purchased at Kmart, a $29.99 graveyard kit. On a Sunday afternoon in October, Julia Keith intended to decorate her home for her daughter’s fifth birthday, days before Halloween. She ripped open the box and threw aside the cellophane. That’s when Keith found it. Scribbled onto paper and folded into eighths, the letter was tucked between two Styrofoam headstones.

“Sir: If you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persicution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.”

“People who work here have to work 15 hours a day without Saturday, Sunday break and any holidays. Otherwise, they will suffer torturement, beat and rude remark. Nearly no payment (10 yuan/1 month).”

“People who work here, suffer punishment 1-3 years averagely, but without Court Sentence (unlaw punishment).

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The War Against Too Much of Everything

The “Buy Nothing Christmas” campaign from Adbusters’Kalle Lasn has attracted the attention of the New York Times:

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet, don’t bother.

Skip the mall and the neighborhood store, resist the urge to shop online and, by all means, don’t buy anything you don’t truly need.

So says Kalle Lasn, 70, maestro of the proudly radical magazine Adbusters, published in Vancouver, British Columbia. Mr. Lasn takes gleeful pleasure in lobbing provocations at global corporations — and his latest salvo is “Buy Nothing Christmas.”

“As our planet gets warmer, as animals go extinct, as the humans get sicker, as our economies bail and our politicians grow ever more twisted,” Americans just go shopping, Adbusters says on its Web site. Overconsumption is destroying us, yet shopping is “our solace, our sedative: consumerism is the opiate of the masses.”

“We’ve got to break the habit,” Mr.

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How Narcissists Shop for Christmas Gifts

Via ScienceDaily:

Christmas is around the corner and many of us will be thinking of what to buy our loved ones (or ourselves) this festive holiday

But what is the psychology behind gift-giving?

Early results from research led by Dr Aiden Gregg from the University of Southampton, have shown that people with narcissistic tendencies want to purchase products, both for others and for themselves, that positively distinguish them — that is, that make them stand out from the crowd.

The study — conducted in collaboration with McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management and Hanyang University in South Korea — investigated why narcissistic consumers chose certain products and how those products made them feel. Volunteers from both the universities in South Korea or Canada took part in one of four studies.

The first study, using online questionnaires, asked participants about their consumer buying behaviour — for example, why they bought certain products and how doing so made them feel.

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Chinese Billionaire Sells Line Of Canned Fresh Air

Has the final step in the marketization of everything been reached? Oddity Central on selling bottled fresh air as a luxury item to residents of urban and industrial areas:

It’s no secret China has a huge air pollution problem. Chen Guangbiao, a famous Chinese businessman and philanthropist, has recently launched a line of canned fresh air collected from various parts of China and Taiwan. The product is called “Chen Guangbiao: Nice Guy” and sells for about $0.80.

He has recently started selling canned fresh air collected from “revolutionary” areas of China, including Jinggang Mountain in Jiangxi Province and some ethnic minority areas and Taiwan. ”One only has to open the can, directly ‘drink’ it or put the nose close to the can to breath deeply,” Chen said.Before the big launch of ”Chen Guangbiao: Nice Guy” canned air, Brother Biao said he was confident of its success, because there are lots of people in big cities inhaling air mixed with vehicle exhaust every day who are dying for a breath of fresh air.

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On The Validity Of Alienation

David Graeber, expert on anarchy, debt, and history, explains your feelings. Via Tower Of Sleep:

The idea that alienation is a bad thing is a modernist problem. Most philosophical movements—and, by extension, social movements—actually embrace alienation. You’re trying to achieve a state of alienation. That’s the ideal if you’re a Buddhist or an early Christian, for example; alienation is a sign that you understand something about the reality of the world.

So perhaps what’s new with modernity is that people feel they shouldn’t be alienated. Colin Campbell wrote a book called The Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Modern Consumerism, in which he argued that modernity has introduced a genuinely new form of hedonism. Hedonism is no longer just getting the sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll or whatever but it’s become a matter of selling new fantasies so that you’re always imagining the thing you want. The object of desire is just an excuse, a pretext, and that’s why you’re always disappointed when you get it.

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On Shopping And Warfare

Via the The New Inquiry, Christina Kral and Adriana Valdez Young on the connection between the two activities that may be opposite sides of the same coin:

What is the relationship between war and shopping? Both can be quite aggressive and at the same time appear to be innocent or absolutely necessary. As we shop or war, we serve a greater other. There are seasons for shopping and seasons for war. Both keep us busy and controlled. What would people do if going to war or to the mall wasn’t an option anymore?

But I think there is something much more primal about going shopping and going to war. As we saw from the post-9/11 patriotic calls to shop and support the economy, there was a fear that if Americans stopped consuming that the terrorists would win.

The US Army also had more direct mall-based, anti-terror strategies. As part of the ‘Shock and Awe’ campaign in 2003, the U.S.

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