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Archive for the ‘consumerism’ Category

If you have a little boy or girl, then you probably know about Thomas the Tank Engine. No, I don’t mean a character. And I don’t even mean a show. And, no, I don’t even mean a merchandise aisle at Target. I mean what becomes, so very easily, an entire way of being. What is it about trains in general, and Thomas the Tank Engine in particular, that get inside little people’s brains?

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I saw Wall-E a couple of weeks back. Unlike most, if not all of my friends who saw the movie, I didn’t like it very much. It was of course visually awesome and charming, for the most part, and told a decent enough story. It’s hard to “disagree” with the moral of the story, which, so far as I can tell, is that garbage is bad for the earth. And that submission to the spectacle of marketing is also bad. I got that. But I do think there is a more problematic something about the film – not a “message,” but instead something more like a presupposition.

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I’m officially a regular blogger again, starting today.

I really have a small comment to make, but maybe one that has big implications. No matter, I guess, as only a couple of hundred will read this, though I feel compelled to say this because I care about things like reason. To start: I remember the original Sister Souljah moment. It confirmed what I thought then and have always thought: Bill Clinton was icky, cruel, and actually quite comfortable being anti-black. That’s why this primary season had me barely (if that) restraining “told ya” every time the news had Bill’s newest quip about Obama.

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I was driving home and listening to one of my least favorite shows on National Public Radio – Marketplace – when they did a short feature on history-buff tourism in the United States. A nice break from endless musings on the meaning of housing markets, loan rates, control of inflation, etc. The sort of stuff that bores me, but that’s just me. Also a nice break from the idea of tourism as simply blanking out one’s mind at a beach or amusement park. People going somewhere to learn something or see something they were taught about. Or, better, something about which they taught themselves. I like that. (more…)

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Earlier this week, Charles P. Pierce at Slate.com wrote up some thoughts on LeBron James as “the next Michael Jordan.” Well-timed, of course, given his spectacular take-down of Detroit – honestly, it was a single-handed take-down – and the first visit to the NBA Finals starting last night. I don’t much disagree with the author on assessing The Bron as bluntly non-political, but the very question is quirky. I’ve been trying to sort out my thoughts… (more…)

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cash.pngIn today’s Slate.com, Seth Stevenson writes up a soon-to-appear (as in tonight) miniseries on USA Network, entitled The Starter Wife. Fab write-up. One of my favorite lines, actually: “Having watched an advance DVD of the first three hours, I can offer a mini-review: two thumbs up. Up my own eye sockets.” That’s funny. The review, however, is about a whole lot more, namely, how this show might be pushing ahead a new trend in funding television and movies: single-sponsored work. That just icky. (more…)

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