Consumerism Essay

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Consumerism – Bruce Dawe Poetry || 2009

Every society has mythology. In some societies, it’s religion. Our religion is consumerism.

As we are constantly exposed to mass media and popular culture in our modern society, the insidious nature of consumerism has allowed it to penetrate into every aspect of our lives, dictating our very beliefs, values and wants. Nearly every individual in our society subconsciously conforms to the shallow and superficial mindset that characterises our consumerist culture. This idea is highlighted by the following texts; the poem “Enter without so much as knocking” by Bruce Dawe, an extract from the sermon “The Religion of Consumerism” delivered by Peter House, the poem “Breakthrough” by Bruce Dawe, and the video trailer for the documentary “What would Jesus Buy?” directed by Rob VanAlkemade.

The idea that consumerism is governing every aspect of our lives is clearly demonstrated in the poem Enter without so much as knocking by Bruce Dawe. The very first line “blink, blink. HOSPITAL. SILENCE.” represents a baby being born into the world. The words “HOSPITAL. SILENCE.” are similar to those used in film scripts, indicating setting, lighting and sounds. This suggests that the baby’s life is being directed, symbolising the notion that he will be heavily influenced and be led through life by consumerism. The line “first thing he heard was Bobby Dazzler on Channel 7” further emphasises how much consumerism influences our lives as the first thing he hears as he enters the world is not his mother’s voice, but rather the voice of commercialism introducing him into a world of materialistic and consumer-driven facades. The lines beginning with “WALK. DON'T WALK. TURN LEFT.” highlights just how much we are controlled by society and how we do not have much choice or freedom. It also satirises this fact with some of the later entries becoming deliberately exaggerated, “NO BREATHING EXCEPT BY ORDER. BEWARE OF THIS. WATCH OUT FOR THAT.” The...
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