Mark Morford has a new post this morning. He does a marvelously sarcastic job of capturing the insanity of our holiday driven consumer culture. Monday when Mom and I did our weekly grocery shopping she noted a sign for 'Sweetness Day' and remarked that she thought that was in February. I told her that she was thinking of Valentine's Day. Sweetness Day is a marketing holiday invented simply to sell the same kind of merchandise normally sold for Valentine's Day. I don't think there is a month in which there is not some kind of marketing holiday and most of the traditional holidays have been converted to marketing holidays. I am always amused by the annual protests by some Christian groups to 'put Christ back in Christmas.' They lost that fight over a century ago.
For another take on our 'consumer' economy take a look at the latest Tomdispatch post that deals with the choices we will be making on defense spending. Ever since the heady days of the early to mid 1960s we have acted as though we did not have to make a choice between 'guns and butter.' Too many of our political/economic/military leaders believed that our economy would always grow (and at phenomenal rates) and, with a bigger pie, we would never have to make serious choices about how to divvy up the proceeds. Well, the time has come but we have a bunch in the Senate and Congress that would rather spend more on useless wars that drain our resources for no great gain while starving our civilian social programs. What does this say about our 'American values?'
For another interesting take on the economy take a look at this post. I don't watch 'The Good Wife.' I get the concept and it never really clicked with me although I loved the scene were the philandering/corrupt politician husband asks his shell-shocked wife if she is 'alright' and she slaps him. The recession is over (they say.) The Dow exceeded 10k so celebrate (even though that a level it reached first ten years ago.) But I don't feel like celebrating and I don't think the recession for my level of the economy is over by any means.
And here is yet another interesting take on our modern economic/political system. It is rather dismal reading. An interesting parallel just came to mind. Most people forget the the Constitution was the second constitution under which this country has operated. One of the factors that impelled the leaders of the new United States to change their form of government was their dismay at the chaos of rampant self-interestedness. They had relied on the notion of Republican Virtue to guide individuals who would sacrifice their immediate self interest in favor of the public good. When that didn't happen they constructed a system that was designed to pit the competing self interests of various individuals, states, and groups against each other. Now that system has become a 'war of all against all,' as Thomas Hobbs said.
I found this a cute post that can be filed under 'everything old is new again and probably greener to boot' category. I am old enough that I can remember some of these same things. And my mother remembers even more of it. Over the last few years we feel like we have been moving back towards those times--trying to garden, freezing in season produce (we haven't got the space to do any canning), making more of what we eat from scratch.