Saturday, December 18, 2010

Live simple movement dies of starvation and loneliness

This painting Office Diety is hanging in a government office, an office in which many have been terminated due to budget shortfalls. The painting's message conveys an anti-commodity/anti-consumerist/anti-bourgeois critique of society. It is a painful irony that that man -a middle aged man, a black man- is going to get his big opportunity to loose all those nasty materialist manifestions such as cellphone, cigar, and golf putter. The post-2009 US economy is laying waste to that age group and class, their employability may be gone forever. They may never work again.

The standardized social critique of 1960-2010, in which the materialist or bourgeois are cast as a mockable pariah, should now crow with a truimphant "Mission Accomplished" as many move from a home filled with Best Buy flat-screen TV's to the fun-filled world of car-camping...and never employed again.

As for me, I was never anti materialist or bourgeois. I applauded minorities or any of the formerly marginalized becoming bourgeois. But now the Postmodern Left and Right have accomplished their goals; and honestly, I don't feel up to undoing the harm they've enabled. I purchase less, and what I do purchase is either food/clothing (and I will only pay the cheapest prices, never the living wage rate) or technology such as a smartphone designed and made in Taiwan, and mostly consume software. My family's spending follows this basic formula:

  1. Shopping for the lowest price possible on food and neccessities, fully conscious there is almost no way the workers in that supply chain could be earning a living wage.
  2. Paying high figures for such things as a bicycle made in the Netherlands, a smartphone made in Taiwan, and software. The recipients of these dollars we spend are either young and technically over-proficient Americans who solely manipulate symbols; or workers in Europe, China, Korea, Taiwan, or Japan.
  3. Expending almost zero dollars on Facebook, Twitter and Google software technologies.

I doubt if even .001 per cent of our family's expenditures enable an older black man to puff cigar's, enjoy golf, and be complacently bourgeois. That is sad, I never wished that to happen on the scale it is today.

But the painter of Office Diety did.

1 comment:

O Lucky Man said...

"The recipients of these dollars we spend are either young and technically over-proficient Americans who solely manipulate symbols"