capitalist neo-liberal consumerism creates consumers who can consume like no one else imaginable.
tv shows, technology, food, clothes, money, cars, houses, music, kitchen appliances, leisure activities, holidays, sports equipment, concerts, drinks, ideas etc etc...
and this seems to create a problem with me. i like to think of myself as an open minded person. i am politically aware on the large part, i am engaged in current affairs, i have a mix of friends and acquaintances, a fairly diverse mix of interests, i enjoy conversations and people and the sharing of experiences and ideas on a daily basis... and yet i am a consumer. i can consume like no one else. perhaps not entirely in the sense of material goods like trainers and clothes and cars... but in the realm of ideas and ideologies and information. and because i am a consumer (this sounds like an excuse) i do not always retain the information I am given. however shocking it may be.
i think this may be due to my desensitization. and perhaps fear. Every day we are told single stories of places and people.. the poor people of the continent of Africa, their plight, the poverty and the HIV/Aids issue... the poor people of the occupied territories of Palestine, their struggle, the violence and the anger... the poor people of the UK, drug addicts, from broken homes and council estates... and although i am an empathetic person, and i feel sympathetic to these causes it does not make me take to the streets in protest. it does not make me throw a shoe at the president of the united states. it makes me angry and frustrated and write some words and perhaps say some words to some other people in heated exchanges... but because these stories are told to me every day by the worlds media, i become desensitized just like the rest of the masses. Oh, another picture of the devastation by a suicide bomber, another dying child of starvation in the Congo, another stabbing on the streets of my home town, Bristol. It is as though these stories are so ingrained in my life, as i look towards my studies in human rights and interest in globalisation and capitalism (or anti capitalism) i am immersed in a world of injustices and inequalities almost every day of my life. and i become complacent with my awareness. not every photograph reduces me to tears anymore... not every account of oppression and violence makes me grab a pen to write letters to my government... it has become mediated by the constant stream of information and naturalization of these issues into my world.
and although this may not appear as a positive thing... it also makes me aware of changes that are happening, perhaps not only to me, but perhaps to all of my generation... with this information boom i am able to choose independently where i get my information from. the bbc or al jazeera? i understand that media is far from neutral, that some sources are more reliable than others, that some certain journalists i respect far more than others... that sometimes a single photograph can tell more than an entire essay written on the same subject. that now we are able to share information, documentaries, tv shows, statements, songs, at the push of a button. i have found this most recently when being surrounded by friends from all over the world, sharing incredibly diverse and relevant information every single day, and the appreciation that comes with these acts of sharing.
with this vast and continuous dissemination of information every second of our lives we find ourselves open to certain information that may have never passed into our hands, or onto our screens and into our minds.
and this, i think, is a truly wonderful thing.