The Story of Stuff

If you have only 20 minutes to spare this entire week I recommend you sit down and watch The Story of Stuff. If you only have 3 minutes to spare each day then watch it in chapters on you tube. However you do it, watch it. It is an absolute masterpiece.
It is the most poignant and captivating portrayal of the consumer epidemic I have seen- perhaps so because of its beautiful simplicity and accuracy. (You can hold screenings and stuff which would be excellent material for youth/ home groups.) If you only have 6 minutes in your entire 2008 then watch this chapter:

As Annie points out it is suggested that our current unquenchable thirst for consuming crap stems from the post second world war period as great minds worked out a new framework for society. This quote from enormously important post war retail analyst, Victor Le Bow encapsulates the theory with this scary and non-satirical quote; "Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction and our ego satisfaction in consumption. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced and discarded at an ever-increasing rate."
While I would argue our need to consume runs even deeper and further back then the middle of last century, the fact that people have collaborated to make us increasingly dependent on buying stuff is frightening, though not hard to believe. (In fact, Gillette created the concept of hairless, smooth female legs simply so they could capture a new market for their razor. Revolting. The advent of that knowledge was my descent into the world of the non-shaven woman where I still abide.)
There is a shop down the road from us that has a bit of a funny quote in the window "Why is there so much month left at the end of the money?" For some this is true because they literally do not have enough income to meet their most basic of needs, and it is a desperate truth. For most, i suspect, it is because our consumption has got a hold of us- our calender is re-worked around the arrival of the pay-check. Consumption seems to form the framework for living for most developed world citizens, and in turn our consumption re-defines relationships, desires, values and purpose.
Anyway, see the Story of Stuff, it's a must!

1 comment:

Glyn Harries said...

That is awesome. Really good presentation. Think I might use it in some of my lessons.

Thanks for the heads up.