Saturday, October 23, 2004


The Rebel Sell out of THIS magazine is an article about Anti-consumerism. From the city that spawned Naomi Klein. It drifts a bit, but it seeks to distinguish Rebelling against Consumerism from Rebelling against the Masses. It points out that rebelling against the masses, tends to feed the cycle of consumer fashion. People consume in order to seek distinction from the perceived masses, not to conform to them. It suggests that the only society-wide solution to rebelling against consumerism is to adopt legislative action, for example against advertising.

It's a pity that they don't actually take further the discussion without getting bogged down into self-congratulation at discerning between rebelling against the Masses or Consumerism. Toronto is a fascinating study in consumerism, for those who know it. Canada was one of the first countries in the world to achieve a high, wealthy standard of living, and consumerism here has long been at a level of umbilical cord dependence. There is endless retail space here, yet none of it is exciting. All of it is bland, most of it is chain stores and franchises, and the same globally marketed merchandise that can be found anywhere in the world can be found here in neutrally-decorated surroundings.

Strangely, the appearance of Torontonians has never been more conformist and bland. They don't even seem to be interested in shopping for things that set themselves apart from "the Masses". This is consistent with the trend in London, but probably more apparent yet.

This either means that Torontonians are ahead of the World in terms of being truly Anti-Consumerist, in the sense that they resist the temptation to rebel against the Masses and begin another cycle of Consumer Fashion. Or it means that the Author's theory is wrong, and that people do in fact consume in order to Conform to the Masses, and those who seek social distinction have become socially extinct.

I'm not sure I'm any the wiser because of this article, but I do feel that there is something here that I need to think about..

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