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Consumerism

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  • July 30, 2013
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The Rebel Sell, an article published on November 1, 2002 by This Magazine, serves to emphasize what authors, Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter, say has become one of the most important cultural forces in millennial North American life, across every social class and demographic. CONSUMERISM VS. ANTI-CONSUMERISM

In the beginning of the 21 century, along with the change in the economy, we saw change in American culture. The value systems of Americans began to shift from placing more significance on the community, spirituality, and integrity towards values that would associate with the results of a more competitive society--a society where Americans viewed social status as having direct correlation to the amount of luxurious items one had. Consumerism, in a sociologist’s definition, would be where individuals define themselves by their occupation, by the car they drove, and the clothes they wore. In The Rebel Sell, the authors pose the question of how can we denounce consumerism if we still find ourselves apart of a consumer society. This is to imply that its almost impossible. The article mentions that two of the most popular and critically successful films in recent memory were Fight Club and American Beauty, which offer almost identical indictments of modern consumer society. The article also states that films like American Beauty and Fight Club serve as merely a restatement of the critique of mass society, instead of it being a critique of consumerism. This article is one that opens up the debate if movies like Fight Club function best as the undermining of consumerism or the reinforcing of consumerism.