February 19, 2011

Vote With Your Dollar.

People say this and I am a big believer in it.

There is a reason I do not shop at the Walmarts. It is not that they are evil (though some are) or that these places are too pedestrian for someone as sophisticated as I.
It is because the Mom & Pop stores are dying and I adore those places. I miss bodegas and markets and the lovely gems you'd find when going for a stroll. It's hard to miss a Canadian Tire or Sobey's.
Lately, I have seen the numbers and the amount of independently owned businesses are at an all-time low. ("Mommy, what's a record store?") This makes me sad, and the only thing I can really do, besides signing online petitions and joining facebook groups that do a little bit less than nothing, is to ensure my dollar goes to support these stores before they are closed down to become cupcake shops.*

Here's my issue with this concept, though... (you knew it was coming):

The voting is done by those who have been SPENDING the money, not making the money.

This is an important distinction. Like the difference between the consumer vs the customer. This is why most commercials are tailored to the women of the house. They are the customer, but any number of people of the house could be the consumer.
This is the end of that same rope.

The people out there spending the majority of the money being made now are the children, teenagers, and adult children (ages 18-30) of the money makers.

And they are fucking asshats.

They are a marketer's dream because they are still convinced that you are what you can show off and you can be anything with minimal effort or talent.
They will buy the shiniest piece of shit for the most inflated margin and they will treat everything like a temporary fix and be back tomorrow for the newest installation of tout in the social ladder olympics.

And don't get me wrong, I am aware that teenagers have always been ignorant. They SHOULD be. They are still learning what it means to be a douchebag, and there is never a point in telling a teenager anything they must learn for themselves. The problem is that they are constructing a society with this lack of knowledge. They are taking their ignorance and parlaying it into music, media, movies, and morality.

And it is fucking awful.

The parents are making the money, passing it off to the ass hats, and then sitting down on the couch to drink scotch and forget they ever had dreams. The kids then go off to tell the big business machines what the little people are willing to spend their lives on.
And have you SEEN it out there? It is garbage. Almost all of it. And it SHOULD be. As an authentic reflection of the customer base it caters to, it is extremely accurate.

Once the adult children are out of the thick haze of celebrity envy, cock shafts, and Kokanee, they end up having children of their own and I see the cycle starting again. They are letting their children pick the toys, pick the TV shows, pick the clothes they wear, at less than three years old. No guidance... just the path of least resistance.
And it is all enveloped in the ironic guise of self expression.
Except it isn't they who are deciding what they wish to express. They barely even had time to decide who they wanted to be let alone how they wished to express it. They paid the people to tell them how they should be behaving and who they should be emulating. Kim Kardashian made 65 million dollars last year.

People are being touted as movie stars and music icons before they even have their first single out. We don't have to decide who is important enough to worship anymore; it is decided long before we even know who Justin Bieber is. And then people sit on the computer waiting for the next "big" thing.
Not the next great thing. That is no longer important.

And when you are a teenager, being excellent isn't important. Being liked is. Being popular is. Being desired is.

And look around. This is what our society is now trying to sell US on.

Us, the ones who don't give a shit about that anymore.
Us, who do not want to pretend to be lesbians and dance to auto-tune at clubs.
Us, who know what good beer tastes like.
Us, who do not think porn stars are actual "stars".
Us, who know when a label is doing nothing more than using us as a walking billboard.
Us, who can read an article more than 500 characters long.
Us, who think beauty is a little deeper than lip gloss.
Us, who want our news scrupulous, not sensational.
Us, who do not think that showing your tits is empowering to women.
Us, who think our kids should be eating real food, drinking water, listen to artist's music, reading the classics, and playing in the mud.
Us, who are trying to make our voices heard.

Not much is designed for the Gen-X anymore. Ironic that when we would have been the ignorant, shopaholic teenagers I am talking about, we were too busy being broke-ass grunge punks on broken skateboards and listening to skipping CD Walkmans to notice the impact we could have had... if we had the money.

Now I do have money.
But my vote doesn't count anymore.

*What the hell is with the cupcake craze? Is it due to the reality show about Heather and Lori's cupcakes, because they ARE divine and the girls ARE amazing, but honestly, it's nuts. Cupcake boutiques are EVERYWHERE.


Da' Vane said...

What, you mean you don't want to pretend to be a lesbian?! Damn!

It truly sucks out there, but quite frankly, it largely comes down to parenting. Parents are bombarded with how they should treat their kids by sources that quite simply have ulterior motives. Advertisers wan to make parents feel bad if they don't get their children the latest and greatest things, because they are trying to SELL the latest and greatest things. The don't care about the parents, or the kids, just their profit margins.

As a society, we seem to have lost the ability to think critically and to respectfully question the realities of any situation. We are bombarded with media propaganda from all sides, and the moment anyone turns round and says "Hold on a minute..." there's a army of people willing to turn them into villains just for daring to stop and think.

Because this is exactly what those in power in society do not want us to do. They do not want us to stop and think, because the moment we do that, we will realise just how much little power they have, spot their ulterior motives, and be able to see alternatives they don't want us to see. The people in power don't want to fix things - they already have the power, so they want to keep things exactly as they are, and this means keeping society divided and fighting, while bombarding us with propaganda and cheap fixes until we stop caring.

It's the social equivalent of "Kettling" - a tactic used during demonstrations where law enforcement contain troublemakers in an area, deprive them of basic amenities for hours on end, until their bladders are full and their energy is gone, so they will disperse rather than cause trouble.

Few of the people in power actively want to make things better - in the case of most politicians, they just want to sound as if they want to make things better, and promote "discussion", knowing the debates and filibustering will result in nothing getting done until it's time for re-election.

Only a fool actively tries to change the world, and it's normally a lonely, futile, uphill struggle until finally, just as they give up and often pass on, someone decides to say "actually, you know, they were right." Only then do things slowly begin to change, for better or worse, but the fool has suffered, and gets to spend whatever remains of their life saying "I told you so!"

This is mainly because of pride, and people not wanting to accept that they might be wrong, or that there might be a better way. It's not just teenagers that cannot be told and need to figure it out for themselves, it's virtually everyone.

Of course, for many, it's not so much being told, but how they are told, and who they are told by. Change only works when you get through to someone's peers, and they get through to the individual in question. Working with them so they figure out what they need to know also helps, assuming they can be bothered to figure it out. Quite a few simply don't, no matter how much you try, because figuring something out isn't their motivation - they secretly like having their life as crap and being able to bitch about it, or actually enjoy the fact they don't have to think for themselves and do anything meaningful in society.

Rest assured, S, your vote counts - and you never needed money to have it. You just needed to find where your vote counts. We all do.

Anonymous said...

You write so beautifully. I mean, you have a certain inappropriate cadence to your wordplay, but you really have a way of making me want to read the next line. That is unusual in this age of ten second attention spans. It was really well written.


Fiercecalm said...

@C: I know I don't NEED money to have an impact on my world, but this post was specifically dedicated to that theory and my feelings about it.
You bring up valid points, though. Usually I am bound to be the hopeful girl in the hopeless world, though.

And Anon... thanks.

Da' Vane said...

Wouldn't have you any other way, S! There's few enough of us as there is...

Unfortunately, the effects of the world aren't really about money at all - it's about power and ignorance. Crass commercialism isn't about spending money, it's about ignoring everything else you could be doing with the money, including the power you could potentially have with it.

After all - all those cheap gimmicks, quick fixes, and stuff that people buy? If everybody in the western world gave up just one of those for a short period of time (it needn't be the same one) and gave that money to a worthy cause, the world would be a better place.

Anonymous said...

This was Great! Thanks!!

mikelepage said...

Watch Idiocracy if you haven't already. This post could have been an alternate script.

Are you Mike Judge in disguise? (It's wrong that part of me thinks a yes would be cool but I assure you most of me is rooting for a no).

Fiercecalm said...

@LePage... LovePea and I watched Idiocracy years ago.
I love Mike Judge movies but I never did get into King of the Hill. Office Space remains one of the most re-watchable movies of all time, though.

So I will take that as a compliment.

<3 Thanks.

mikelepage said...

It was definitely a compliment.

Also, you have a WAY better ass than Mike Judge.

Fiercecalm said...

I love you LePage.