Sunday, October 29, 2006

Book: dematerializing: Taming the power of possessions

dematerializing: Taming the Power of Possessions, by Jane Hammerslough, is a great book for a real fundamental look at our consumer culture. It's easy to read (to skim, esp., which is mostly what I did), and has a lot of depth. These books are hard for me to read -- I don't want to be told that I'm no longer a person but a consumer, especially in the eyes of the coroporations who plague me with adverts everywhere I look. But Hammerslough takes a very plain-spoken, realistic tack:
"A lot has been said about the evils of advertising and its supposedly subliminal messages that glorify greed and violence and promise everything from fabulous sex to stellar athletic performance...Been there, done that. The bottom line is this: Like it or not, it's still part of the scenery."
In an essential way, dematerializing is trying to help us gain that ground again, to begin the untangling of ourselves from the imagery that we are presented with in advertising and media, and the true reality of our lives. Before I get too Matrix-y on this, let me suggest that it is important to read books like dematerializing to shake us up and make us think. We don't need the mental shock treatments of Adbusters to rouse us from our collective somnolence, but we do need to occasionally poke our heads up and take stock of what we're doing, living, and buying, and why.
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