Tag: consumerism

Psst, Consumer, Wanna Buy Your AlieNation?


Like many Americans right of center, the ads I see online feature plenty of vaguely patriotic products. Some of the stuff’s campaign gear. Some of it’s randomly tacti-cool. (Already got a tactical pen? Have you tried our tactical toothbrush yet? Got the toothbrush already, have you? What about a tactical toothpick?) Perhaps because my browsing habits are eclectic, the ads “targeting” me are eclectic, too. According to my ads, I’m a Trump-voting, militantly pro-life charismatic sedevacantist Catholic wiccan secular humanist who’s also militantly pro-choice and pining for the deceased Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I’m deaf, too. Because of earwax. But at least I’m not alone in that: judging by consumer ad complaints, the main symptom of Covid-19 is massive earwax buildup.

People who say they know about these things say that Covid’s virtual earwax buildup is a symptom of declining click-throughs on online ads. The more time we spend online without clicking through on ads, the more “bottom feeder” ads we see. Maybe I am who I am to online marketers because I don’t click through. Therefore I must “want”, in no particular order, Osteen Cubes, <insert name of Biblical woman here> Anointings, conversational Medieval Latin kits, “homeopathic” essential-oil blends consecrated to Jesus or my choice of goddess. Little lapel pins featuring lab flasks bubbling vacuities like “Science is real!” or light-splitting prisms spelling out “I’m gay for science!” in rainbow writing.

Rapid-fire lapel pin advertising directed my way, whether from right or left, never hits its target, since even if I saw a pin I liked, I wouldn’t buy it. If I saw an ad for a lapel pin featuring the smexxxiest anthropomorphized doped garnet laser — adorned with real synthetic garnet chips reading “She blinded me with science!” — well, I’d chuckle. But I wouldn’t click.

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I find myself in possession of a few gift cards. It could be one 325.00 thing or 1300 $0.25 things. I will only bound this by saying that if it involves Journey, Night Ranger, .38 Special, Yes, Kansas, Loverboy, Foreigner, Styx, Def Leppard or My Little Pony I will unfriend you and DELETE THIS THREAD.  […]

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Our sponsors provide great products: James swears by his Casper mattress; Mona and Jay rightly sing the praises of The Great Courses each week (I’m on my second course in as many months); and pretty much every male in staff here (self-included) confidently glides a Harry’s over his jugular on a regular basis. But simply because our […]

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Laudato Si and a Pope in Tune with the Spirit of the Times



Blessed John Henry Newman once wrote that “The Church aims, not at making a show, but at doing a work. She regards this world, and all that is in it, as a mere shadow, as dust and ashes, compared with the value of one single soul.” Pope Francis, in a sense, would agree. In March, for example, he said in a homily that “the style of the good God is not to produce a spectacle: God acts in humility, in silence, in the little things.” Of course, the papacy is not a little thing, and so much of a pope’s activity inadvertently can become “spectacle.” Yet this pontificate has been anything but quiet.

From the pope riding in a Kia to colorful off-the-cuff remarks in interviews, Francis seems to relish the spotlight. Now the pope has written Laudato Si, an encyclical about “doing a work,” albeit a work to save this world.  After some time to consider Laudato Si, and to observe some responses to the document, we can better appreciate its significance for the Church going forward.

Looking Down on Black Friday


On a recent Black Friday, the New York Times asked its readership “What Does Black Friday Mean for You?” A few choice comments revealed the tone of the other 396:

To me it means getting in the car with my spouse and adult daughters and heading to Cape May…Birding! None of us buy into this nonsensical consumer binge day.