In “The fetishism of the Commodity and Its Secret”, Karl Marx deals with the concept of commodity fetishism. Commodity fetishism is the concept of when consumers lose touch in understanding the labour placed into making the final product. The working condition of Apple at FOXCONN is seen as terrible as the workers are constantly working, placed in bared window dorms and the amount of stress associated with employees is outrages. We as consumers, when we consume the good only think about how well the product will help us, but we fail to realize the working condition of the employees making the product. We then have this fetish to constantly buy the product. In the video, it shows the amount of the production the employees are creating, the fast of the pace, their working condition and their living condition. This shows that consumers fail to realize the work put into making the product. The commodity creates a fetishism among the consumers.

In DuCille’s article “Black Barbie and the Deep Play of Differences” talks about how the black barbie contains stereotypical attributes while holding the same frame as the white barbie. For example, both barbies had the same body and face, only difference was the paint color and the clothing and the accessories it possesses. In this commercial by Mountain Dew, portrays negative stereotypes towards the black community. The ad pushes forwards the negative stereotype of black people as crazy, criminals and vicious. The portrayal of negative stereotypes of the African American group creates a racial message to the mass. The criminals lined up portray negative stereotypes of criminals such as du-rags, gold tooth, and over sized clothing. This ad presents racial profiling similar to the Barbie Article were Mattel used stereotypical features and clothes to represent the Barbie.

In Juliet Schor’s essay “The New Politics of Consumption” she is very critical of the liberal view of consumer’s and the notion that they are rational, well informed and there preferences consistent and independent. It is no surprise after the readings and video’s we have been exposed to throughout the course that I too share the same criticism as Shor when examining these consumer assumptions. The countless amount of nonsensical purchases I personally witness each and everyday alone is enough to dismiss such assumptions. When discussing this in class on Friday I could not help but think of the movie Dumb and Dumber when Llyod (played by Jim Carrey) heads out to buy only the “bare essentials”. Although a dramatically exaggerated and comical scene it truly does capture the uninformed consumer who buys unnecessary products he simply just wants.

On Food Network a few years ago there was a television program called ‘The 100 Mile Challenge’, where a small group of people volunteered to only consume foods produced within a 100-mile radius of their town for one hundred days. Whether taking on the challenge to improve their diet or indulge in a thrilling experience, individuals involved immensely struggled to adhere to a locavore diet. Though the 100-Mile Challenge was incredibly difficult to adhere to, people who embraced it were able to engage higher levels family leisure-time, gain information about agricultural sustainability, rid themselves of negative consumption habits and finally were healthier and happier after the process. Tying to Elgin and Schor’s readings concerning a green politics of consumption, the 100 Mile-Challenge helped individuals look past commodity fetishism and realize the amount of effort that goes into food production. Because participants freely chose to become locavores for one hundred days, Elgin’s concept of voluntary simplicity directly applies to them. Consciously slowing down their fast-paced lives to engage in local consumption practices, the majority of individuals featured on the program felt fulfillment and found promise for a positive future.

Here is an interesting video about the secrets of advertisement according to I found, though this is very vague and not the most informative, its is nice to read about advertisement critics on a popular website. Even having a simple video of this sort helps place some ideas into the mind of the consumers.

The simple life

Posted: March 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

This is a video that depicts Elgins thoery of simplistic living. “To live simply is to establish a more direct, unpretentious, and unencumbered relationship with all the aspects of our lives: the things we consume, the work that we do, our relationships with others, our connections with nature and the cosmos, and more” (Elgin 398).

This week’s reading “Voluntary Simplicity and the New Global Challenge” by Duane Elgin, spoke of the idea to live a life marked by voluntary simplicity – a life characterized by deliberate, intentional and purposeful choices and actions with minimal amounts of distraction (398). Elgin states that by living such a life, we have a better chance of obtaining “purpose, fulfillment and satisfaction” (398). With that being said, I thought this TED video was a nice compliment to Elgin’s concept of ‘voluntary simplicity’. Although I find it to be more materially focused, I still think the underlying message is in line with Elgin’s: a simplistic life has the ability to translate into a happy life.