Being a Reluctant Consumer


I am a reluctant consumer. I am at once compelled and distressed by buying and selling, getting and spending. I am compelled by aesthetic desire, by need (perceived and real), by the promise of things. I am distressed (note, not actually repelled) by consumerism because it operates in extremes. I am distressed by the way consumerism shapes all our landscapes, many of our activities, much of the language we use to communicate with each other (when did we start branding ourselves? when did education become a product like any other?)

I am a consumer of many things. I consume the goods and services I need (or think I need) to survive, like most of us do. I consume goods I like (clothes, music, books in all their current forms). I consume experiences (travel, films, nice hotel rooms, good meals).

I think about consumerism a lot. I teach about it. I read about it. I observe it in practice and I observe its absence.

So I want to write about it here.

A lot of people have written a lot of good stuff about American consumerism already. I will write about them and their ideas here sometimes, too.

But there’s always more to say.