Monday, December 7, 2009

Buy Stuff

-The Following Message Has Been Brought To You By Pepsi, McDonalds, Goodyear Tires, and Mastercard.-

I'm a consumer. Like a lot of people around Christmas, I stand waiting in line at the local mall shops holding onto a bunch of stuff I really didnt even know I needed. Let's see, here's a Braun beard trimmer. Check. Christmas sweater for my grandmother. Check. New hardbound Dan Brown bestseller for dad. Check. Gift card from Best Buy for my brother. Check. Now wait? Who exactly do I know that has a beard? I'm still forgetting my mother and I'm pretty sure she doesnt have a beard.

Am I really just shopping for myself again?

I am actually very practical. My kind of gift is something that I can use, like post it notes, a stapler, a palm tree or a genuine Red Rider BB gun. And of course, like most guys, I love technology. Thus far, I have bought up and downloaded every iPhone App ever made. If I want to ride a horse bareback while cooking steaks on a barbecue grill for my date...there's an App for that. Maybe no excuse, but an App nonetheless.

Lately I have been having some issues with technology however. My iPhone has had some growing pains. And my Xbox is, well, a piece of crap. Apparently one has to keep up with all of the various new iPhone updates or it turns into an Xbox. I keep up with most of them but they take a lot of time...and I'm getting suspicious that someone...maybe 'they' ... are spying on me from a base on the moon...but I digress.

Who told me to buy all of this 'stuff' that I depend on? Frankly, if I had simply walked alongside an iPhone or and Xbox without someone telling me what they were or why I needed one...I wouldnt have paid much attention. 'That's a nice little gizmo over there,' I would have thought. 'I wonder if that's a really big zip drive or something. Does that little black thing open garage doors?' And it does...there's an App for that.

I get really tired of sitting down watching one of my favorite shows, like Nip Tuck or Sons of Anarchy, and then being barraged by advertising. It's much worse when I'm on the edge of my chair cheering on the Dallas Cowboys and then it's twenty minutes of commercials while they spot the ball on the field. Dont they make an App to spot the ball? Chains are so retro.

I realize the catch 22 here. Without all of the brainwash...er...advertising, I wouldnt have known about the cool iPhone that I obviously needed...or had the pleasure of taking my Xbox in for repairs once every few weeks. On the other hand, it really irks me that 'they' are out there beaming signals to my tv from their moon base telling me how I should dress, what car I should drive, and what color mascara I should wear.

There are whole sciences to what is going on over our airwaves. I recall the movie 'They Live' in which aliens were spoonfeeding earthlings everything they needed to buy or do. We dont need aliens. We do it to ourselves. Everything is propaganda. Everything is brainwash...er...advertising. Most of the big religions are just as guilty. They all run commercials after all and even offer 'name brand' products. "Try new Faithinall! We're trimming the fat from other religions. Believe it!"

Where would we be without this consumer culture, this obsession with ego identification with ... things? "Hey look Barney. I just got this rockin cool new iBone!" ...canned laughter..."Hehehe Fred. This is the Stone Age. We dont even have a network!"

There is something missing when we plug our humanity into stuff. And I'm beginning to wonder if we think for ourselves anymore at all! Still, I'm standing in line with my Christmas sweater and my Braun beard trimmer. I suppose I'll have to just go ahead and grow a beard, because there's no way I'm stepping out of this line to take it back.

It's all gotten pretty bad. These days when I'm weighing my moral options, I see a Mac on one shoulder and a PC on the other. Caught in the middle of it all I really dont know who to listen to anymore. My inner voice has been optioned by Google, sampled for the masses and traded on the open market. I cant even go to a movie theatre without twenty minutes of commercials for car insurance. And most of the movies, like Transformers, are just two hour advertisements.

I'm sure its really just a Pepsi matter of time when I'm lovin it! ...When thinking is the Choice of the New Generation McDonalds. Soon we will speak in advertising lingo Kraft. Our personal communication Pilsbury will be littered with Geico. Before long...nothing will remain because a lot is riding on your tires.

What's left of my mind, now that it has been effectively 'consumed?'
Priceless.

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