I walk around in the same world as everyone else. But I buy different products. I eat different foods. I make very deliberate choices.
Ok, so something like 0.4% of the population is vegan. I'm in the minority. But - aside from the food (or including it) -
is it me or do we live in a supersized, wasteful, consumer culture? And is our society no more happy for all of their STUFF?
I just moved. Moving really made me realize how much STUFF I've built up in only two years. I'm trying to have less, not more. Half my stuff is up on Freecycle right now. Things I've bought but never used. Shoes I don't wear and never wore. A vase I bought in Greece and never used once. Expensive makeup brushes for makeup I don't wear. A lamp that is so ridiculously ornate it is just out of place next to my used IKEA couch.
My parents came up to help me move. Mom loved the lamp. I told her I'm selling it. "Why?" she said. I said I don't need it. "Don't sell it," she said.
While Dad returned the U-Haul, Mom told me she got a new kitchen set. I had to ask "What's a kitchen set? Dishes?" Nope, a table and chairs. They got a $1000 discount. Good lord, how much did they spend?
I asked what Mom was doing with the old kitchen set. Keeping it, Mom said. In the basement. In case they ever add a sunroom onto the house. I moved out. My brother is 20 and moving out. Mom and Dad live there alone. Why do they need a sunroom?
I just bought a condo. I wanted something small. I live alone. I wound up with a 3-bedroom. Why? Because I can't afford the loss I would take on something small. The 2-bedrooms sit on the market for an average of 8 months. The 3-bedrooms sell in 30 days.
I've got air conditioning I will never use, and a gas fireplace I will never use. My lawn will be kept and cut for me with chemicals I do not like and a gas-powered more I would prefer they don't use. In fact - I'd rather not have a lawn. Why can't they plant trees and create a wooded area, or restore prairie? For the service of mowing the lawn, etc, I pay a condo fee of $85/mo.
I just got a treadmill. The delivery guys brought it up to my room and started looking for the TV so they could put the treadmill facing it. They were shocked I didn't have one. At first they couldn't come up with the words to say. Then after 5 minutes of silence, one of the guys said, "You don't like sports?" No. Why? "Because if you did, you'd have a TV."
Society doesn't have room for me. My parents don't have room for me. I tried to tell my Mom I had a veggie diary up with 600 comments. She didn't care. I didn't have the guts to tell her I'm a vegan. It was enough to tell them I was vegetarian.
A few weeks ago, we did an icebreaker at work. Each of us said our favorite reality TV show. I said I prefer actual reality.
The powers that be keep our society distracted with American Idol, televangelists, MTV spring break, fatty, unhealthy foods, and countless products and diets that claim to help you lose weight (although many don't work and some are downright UNhealthy and dangerous).
I feel like the average American is so busy spinning in circles between eating a larger bacon whatever burger and trying to stick to eating only 18 weight watchers points a day, and following the latest Elimidate, not to mention Aruba, Michael Jackson, and gay marriage, that when the laws get passed or the environment falls to shit, they don't (or won't) know what hit them. And what should we all do when that happens? Take anti-depressants. Pop a pill, make it better.
(No disrespect meant to people who do need anti-depressants. I give my utmost respect to people who recognize when they need help and go get it. The above remark is fully intended as a jab at pharmaceutical advertising.)
My favorite quote about this comes from Matt Taibbi:
Most of us are aware and despairing on some level that our lives have become de-eroticized, that love and romance are not all around us but have to be hunted for with the kind of desperation that people used to bring when they went west looking for gold. But the answers that society gives us for this sexual desert are Viagra and Cialis and Levitra, products that allow us to stay hard for hours as we hump the indifferent mannequins we run into in bars. The country is lonely and self-obsessed, and the individual members of the population are offered a thousand ways to improve their individual appearance and vigor: but there seems to be no solution on the horizon that anyone is offering to bring us together, to give us the things we really need: love and acceptance and community.
We blame corporate America for this state of affairs because this ideology of individual aquisitiveness is the religion it naturally preaches. But it's our failure to come up with a competing ideology of getting along that's the real problem. Because down south, in those "backward" red states, the vote the way they do because they see this individualistic religion as a creature of the cold, greedy north, which has chosen to attack the idiocy of the right-wing church rather than admit to its own spiritual unhappiness.
Bush is our fault. He's our fault because too many of us found it easier to hate him than to find a way to love each other. If we work on the second thing a little harder, we won't need to rely on the cynics in the DLC to come up with the right "formula" the next time around. Because happiness and hope have a way of selling themselves.
Am I the crazy one or are they?
Which brings me to point number two. Several diaries lately have featured pictures of "the powers that be." Rich, fat, pink, white men that make the laws. Fat white men that think they own my uterus. My favorite of these was Antonin Scalia doing his Vaffanculo gesture.
What do these fat men know about my life? What do they care about my life? Hell, my parents don't even get me - and my parents are going to be at least sympathetic if something happened to me like I fell on financial hard times or got pregnant accidentally while on this med I'm taking that would harm the baby.
These fat white men don't care. They passed the bankruptcy bill. They are angling to overturn Roe. All for their own profit. For their own gain. To consolidate power in their own hands and their own party. In their elitist class. Their corporatocracy.
Antonin Scalia, vaffanculo! Vaffanculo vai! Testa di cazzo! Perzo di merda! Two can play at that game. My mouth is dirtier than Maryscott's (in Italian) when I am angry.
It's not just the fat white men in the government. It's the five or so fat white men that own the media and control the message to Americans. It's Rupert Murdoch buying Myspace. It's Colgate buying Tom's of Maine. It's the fat white men named Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling. It's big business. It's the revolving door of fat white men moving from business to lobbying to government.
They create this world of Coca Cola and runaway brides and Simon Cowell. To profit. And what do we do? Bow down to them. Put them on a pedestal. Idolize them.
I went to business school. I have a business degree. I've seen it. We learn about Wal-Mart and Proctor and Gamble and Disney and Tommy Hilfiger. The message isn't "You can clean your house just fine with homemade products like vinegar and water. Why pay more for the poisons sold in the cleaning aisle?" The message is: Proctor and Gamble are masters of marketing. They always keep the look of the packaging for Tide fresh and new. You should write your final project about why they are great. You should work for them. You should emulate them.
I'm saying nothing revolutionary. Nothing that wasn't documented and backed up with solid research in The Feminine Mystique. But seriously - why isn't 50% of our government women? Why is it revolutionary and amazing that my congresscritter is an out lesbian? Why can't I run for office and openly say: I don't believe in god and never have. Why did John Kerry feel he had to do that ridiculous photo op with a gun?
I'm sick of fat white men running this country into the ground.
I'll make the last point brief. Last week, one Kossack busted Kaloogian for a fake picture and another Kossack found the proof. Within hours, it was off Kaloogian's website. Within a day it was on the NYT, WaPo, and the local San Diego media - not to mention Al Franken.
The same week, Jimmy Carter came to talk to us.
We are powerful. Think about it guys. When we talk, they pay attention. We can shape the message. We can make a difference. Let's use the power. I don't want to be the crazy one in society anymore. I want the insanity that's taken over our country to stop.
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