Sunday, August 11, 2013
Culture Can Be Bought and Most of the Time Is
When you hear this word, you think of something sacred and unique to a specific people.
Not so much.
Like the title proclaims, culture is bought and in more ways than one.
Nothing is sacred from a corporation trying to make a quick buck on it.
Corporations have throughout history, with the help of advertisers or people willing to advocate their products and the ideals attached to them, changed culture to benefit themselves monetarily.
The evidence is looking at the town you stay in; how many small town businesses are around you?
Places that showcase some of the town's culture and history? They're sometimes referred to as the Mom and Pop stores and at times known for how well the owners know their customers, the town's history, and some keepsakes of the town it keeps in their stores.
Does Multi-national McDonald's or Wal-mart share any of these traits?
I mean, most, if not all, of Wal-Mart's products are produced in China, giving them a leg up on the thrift shop down the street that will eventually close in a few weeks.
It's not just discount shopping, you can see it in how products influence people.
In America, you are what you buy; it's as simple as that, and what you own gauges your importance on a scale.
So, we can infer that there is a business of buying culture. You can't really buy a product and then suddenly be a cultured, well-respected individual, but in America, you get pretty close to it when you buy something.
If I were to have a cheap phone that only called and texted right beside someone who had an android or windows phone that did a million or more things, they would feel superior to me in how they kept up with the latest things in our consumer culture and maybe how technological savvy they are compared to me although they might not know how to navigate the whole phone; others would feel like they were superior too (this is kind of an extreme example, but it fits a purpose).
Instead of gauging how important or cultured, or smart someone is through what they buy, why not talk to them and judge from their words and how well they speak. After all, that is the best way.
A product is really a hollow object, sometimes with no real value depending on how cheaply it was made.
Even if it was a luxury good that rightfully cost a lot of money, like a sports car, is the person who owns the car really all that cool and suave? It could be an elderly guy behind the wheel who usually stays in his house other than those cool drives in the sports car. Is that cool and suave?
Consumer culture subverts the true meaning of things. It's almost always an illusion.
What is American Culture? It seems to steadily be morphing into consumer culture or pop culture, even though pop culture (knowledge of what is trending with our tastes in music and clothes) circles around consumer culture (think of how many celebrities promote products to their kid fans and kids buy them because it will make them as cool as Justin Bieber or someone). How do you feel about corporations defining what is to be appreciated in culture, like cool clothes, cool this and that, because only cool people are popular.
I thought America was once a land about what you did for a living and how that profession helped people; now you simply get the job to buy the life-defining things.