Wednesday, November 21, 2007

unnecessary *things*

most of the "things" that we buy with our hard-earned money, are absolutely not necessary. we buy them just to buy them. we consume beyond our needs. why is that?

when i returned to the US, i unpacked all the stuff i had in storage, that i hadnt used or even thought about in an entire year. these were the items i felt worthy to save for the year i was gone... things that i thought i would really need when i got back.

and then i found the mold. nearly everything that i saved was covered in a fine blue-green powdery mold that grew in my absence (i now recognize the benefit of climate-controlled storage facilities)! after a couple weeks of fighting back against the mold, i gave up and just started throwing things away.

i worked very hard to clean and save childhood mementos, photo albums, and all the journals i started keeping in 3rd grade. certain things i'm having to replace, like camping equipment and some clothes, but i have ultimately felt liberated by getting rid of so much stuff!

part of the problem is the endless advertising to which we are subjected. a person living in a modern city sees 5,000 ad messages a DAY! absolute sensory overload as our eyes meet potential products to buy instead of earth's natural beauty.

thats why i'm very excited to learn about the anti-advertising agency! this agency and Packard Jennings took a poll of residents around the oakland area to find out "what advertising tactics they found most bothersome in their neighborhoods." in response, they created clever anti-advertising artwork for bus stop benches! brilliant!!

fine print: i say all this as my blog flashes google ads along the side. i recognize this hypocrisy, and i'm thinking about it....


Tim Hamilton said...

I don't think you are being a hypocrite by having ads on your site. I suggest funneling the proceeds into a fund for books that will help you write audience-pleasing content - that's how I justify the ads on my blog. Plus, Google gets a decent cut of the ad revenue and that gives them incentive to offer free hosting and a very user-friendly Blogspot network.

As a personal example, I recently increased the ad presence on my site because I'm contemplating making the jump into politics as a career and most jobs in politics/journalism aren't exactly the most financially lucrative. I would love to have family someday and that is an expensive proposition so I don't feel like a sell-out now that my blog is part of the 5,000 ads a day. (That is a crazy stat!)

This blog is definitely an extension of your professional life as well (teaching amateurs like myself the wonders of the universe), so feel free to use my justification for yourself! :)

Tim Hamilton said...

As a follow-up, have you heard about the Church of Stop Shopping and movie "What Would Jesus Buy?"

This looks very funny (exorcism of a Wal-mart sign!) and very thoughtful as it talks about consumer debt and sweatshops.

Here's the trailer on

Unknown said...

thanks for the link to the trailer. that movie looks great! i love the term "shopocalypse"!! hahaha!

thats a very good idea to buy reading materials with the google ad money. i guess i really shouldnt be too worried about this yet, though, as i could only buy a couple newspapers with what i've made so far ;)