James responds to the critique of anti-consumerism I linked to here, better than I could, because he’s really into these issues.

Particularly he points out that the author of “Rebel Sell” seems to be misreading American Beauty completely.

I’m with him up to the last paragraph:

Above all, what is most sad about Heath and Powell’s article is the sense of resignedness it conveys. They are not unaware of the failings of consumerism, but seem given over to its all-pervasiveness. But I doubt that this piece will pacify many who are enraged by an enforced life of ironic compromises. They are entirely right that any movement that emerges against consumerism must be more critical in its thinking, and more aware in its history, but not, I hope, that such movements are necessarily flawed. However fanciful it may seem, imagination is the key.

That wasn’t quite what I got out of it. I got the impression that they thought that we could fight the problems of consumerism, or whatever it should be called, not by opting out as individuals, but by working together to fight as a society. In other words, by trying to work with the “big us” that is the populace as a whole (expressed through government through the magic of democracy) rather than a “small us” of fed-up rebels.

I suppose an argument against that might be that there is no hope of opposing the will of corporate influence in government, but that in itself seems a bit “resigned.”

2 thoughts on “countercritique”

  1. Interesting that you saw that, I guess I’d better give the article another read through. I guess I may have felt a little patronised by the tone of the article since I felt it failed to really engage with the key works of the movement and instead looked at the mythos surrounding them. Perhaps without that lens it would feel different.

    Did you send a trackback? None has shown up. Would be good to have the link to these comments.

  2. Forgot the trackback. Thanks, sent. :)

    Yeah, I was probably able to read the article more clearly in some parts, and far less intelligently in some parts, because I’m not the target (victim?) audience.

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