Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Downside of Consumerism?


The Guardian, London

The Great Recession began in 2008 when Americans abruptly realised that their wealth had vanished. The purchase of billions of massage cushions and ceramic frogs no longer seemed prudent, so everyone decided to try saving and producing instead. But this didn't work very well, since without consumers there could be no producers. So Washington stepped in to fill the void. Since America had no money saved anymore, it borrowed from China, which was eager to sell off a growing backlog of massage cushions and ceramic frogs. Everyone hoped this might restart the old party.


The Telegraph, London

It is unfortunate that the worst elements of American culture are also the most exportable. It would be lovely, for instance, if the British suddenly became hospitable to strangers, or started addressing each other as "sir" and "ma'am". Instead, we have imported junk food, gansta glamour, fake breasts and – perhaps the most revolting of the lot – school proms

Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, especially if they are worthless. Sinclair Lewis

[A]nybody who values certain aspects of culture above others can be accused of elitism. The outcome of this populist turn is the celebration of the ordinary and the banal. Frank Furedi, Dumbing Down? Don’t Blame the Media

Intellectuals in the twentieth century thus have found themselves engaged in incompatible efforts: they have tried to be good and believing citizens of a democratic society and at the same time to resist the vulgarization of culture which that society constantly produces.  Richard Hofstadter, Anti-intellectualism in American Life


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