Everything has been going fairly well today. Still no meat, no paper towels, a darkened room, etc…

However, I have been wondering about our conversation today in class and in lab about progress and what role we play in it. Looking around and seeing most everyone with a phone on the table, a laptop sticking out of their backpack, many times brand name clothes…I began thinking about how much advertising as an industry has played a role in our lives. Of course the customer is always right so our own human instinct to one-up one another to somehow prove superiority factors in as the most crucial part of the consumer culture we exist in, but I find it amazing that the complex of superiority has been so manipulated. I think that most thoughtful, reflective people understand that they don’t need the latest version of something or that the infomercial that’s trying to sell you an all-purpose cleaner strong enough to take rust off of metal is not something you want to splash all over your counters and dining room table. Yet we all find ourselves in desperate need of products that clutter our homes and cause us anxiety because of the meaning we have invested in them as symbols. Especially in this country I can see how the lifestyle that flourished in the fifties and sixties and was thus distilled down to our parents requires these items and discourages agency and thrift…something that new adults in the Post WWII-era who had grown up amidst depression and rationing would have been tired of.

Anyway, I just found myself thinking about the culture that we live in today, but rather than feeling down about it I saw that simply taking agency and asserting one’s own lifestyle in the face of a comfortable but woefully unsustainable life is often all one can do.

Ryan Mitchell


  1. As a separate project, I am working on trying to spend less time on my phone. I truly believe that no matter how it seems we have the ultimate decision on what we spend out time and money on.
    My plan is to put my phone on ring, which will only allow me to check it when I hear it beeps. This may sound silly but I think it will work. Usually my phone is on silent and because of that or maybe my anticipation to constantly check whats going on, I am always reaching out for my Iphone.
    I have control of when i use my phone now even though it is extremely difficult to stay away from it.

  2. I also found myself thinking about the talk we had in class today about cell phone usage and consumerism. I often find myself surrounded by friends, but we are all on our cell phones texting other people or going on various social media sites. It’s hard not to fall victim to wanting the latest and greatest item, but if we could all just be content with what we have and learn to ignore the constant pressure to buy we could all be much happier.

  3. It’s hard not to fall victim to consumerism–after all, consumption is what keeps America alive. I see such a difference between my consumption habits and that of my grandparents, who of course grew up during the depression. They’re shocked when I don’t finish every bite of food on my plate, when I say I bought a new pair of shoes “just because.” When will we stop buying because we want them, rather than need them?

  4. I had similar thoughts today. The industry has created these disposable and out datable items, so that we buy the next version. But the industry is driven by human nature to gain more (profit, stuff, ect.). The only way to change industry is redefine what is gaining more. For example, if we could put more value on improving the environment versus gaining more money, then it would redefine gaining more. I am frustrated with the industry, but we created the industry. Now we just have to alter it.

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