The Faceless Consumer
Don’t ask me what we were thinking, but Naomi, the kids, and I went to the mall yesterday afternoon. I know, it’s a holiday, and in hindsight, we should have realized what an absolute nuthouse Metrotown would be, but we just wanted to return an item and pick up a few books for the kids… Alas.
After spending ten minutes driving around an underground parking lot, parting with what was left of my dignity by joining all of the other desperate folks in stalking shoppers who were heading back to their cars in the hopes that we could take their spot, we finally got “lucky” and proceeded up to the orgy of consumption that is the modern mall on a holiday.
We did what we had to do and got out of there pretty much as fast as we could. I do not enjoy malls at the best of times, but this was a completely new level of insanity.
Our son is a scavenger of sorts—he always picks up flyers, newspapers, and any other miscellaneous bits of paper that he finds lying around in stores. Among his trophies this time around was this Metrotown directory. I had to chuckle at the picture. I doubt the producers of this item appreciated how accurately they were depicting modern reality. Undifferentiated, faceless consumers, distinguishable only by the products they buy.
How tragically appropriate.
Part of me wonders Ryan if you don’t give those marketers enough credit. They may not word it the same as you, but I think they are fully aware of the present cultural situation. Heck, they are the ones who created and continue to benefit from it. Unfortunately, this may make the situation even more lamentable, as it shifts from being an ironic cultural depiction, to sly capitalization on the traps that have already been set.
Good point Dave – although I’m not sure if “credit” is the word I would use if these marketers are being as deliberate as you suggest. I would prefer it if they were just ignorant (as you know, I just can’t help but view the glass as half full…). You’re right, it’s much more lamentable if this kind of a vision of human beings simply being defined by what they consume is something that is being actively cultivated…