Inordinate Ordnance: Season of the Gift - Part 2
Friday, November 30, 20120 Comments
A good friend of mine once told me he invented the sprinkled donut. He called it the Hawaiian Donut, but he swears it was his childish, sugar-addled mind that gave confectionary birth to the iconic donut.
He also told me, “Chris, you need to start treating each dollar as a vote.” Now, the donut has nothing to do with the second part, but I feel it illustrates the scope of his wisdom.
And he was right, once you start to consider your purchases as votes, it creates a grand new spectrum for consumerism. A dollar at Apple is a vote for Apple to succeed. A dollar for British Petroleum, post 2010, is a vote for dumping copious amounts of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Buying from Tiffany is a vote for blood diamonds. Buying hamburgers and hotdogs, is a vote for the senseless slaughter of millions of animals. By spending money, we are allowing companies license to facilitate horrible acts.
If we begin to consider our dollars as votes, it’s simple to see that these dollars turn into excuse notes for corporations to act in accordance with the gaining those votes. If you pay them to do evil, companies will do evil, simply.
Consider the Christmas season dichotomy. We buy presents for those who are buying presents for us. On and on, circling and drowning, all the while feeding the Christmas Spirit, like an owl swallowing whole rats. Companies feed off of this phenomenon, gaining blind votes, while you gain a modicum of social decency.
I’m not for bringing the Christ back to Christmas, as that’s a different subject. I’m talking about the imposed responsibility on consumers to consume during this time of year. We do this because we have to, not because we want to. We perpetuate a system that causes us to loose money for the sake of not wanting to be considered a jerk for not reciprocating.
I, for one, would like to opt out.
“What do you want for Christmas, Chris?” I don’t know, how about we hang out, play some scrabble and drink our weight in eggnog and rum? “Okay, I’ll get you a gift certificate.” The stuck-buyer may say. The stuck-buyer is someone who is either unconcerned being a disciple of the Shopping God, or has no idea they are tethered to the oppression.
This idea stuck with me, when last week for one of my classes, we discussed lawn care (because that’s what we do in philosophy). More importantly, the social standard of cutting your lawn. If we don’t cut our lawn we get fined, even though we own this plot of land and we are “free” to use it as we see fit. Nope. You cut your lawn, or find another plot of land to park your van on, maybe down by the river! “You cut your lawn, or we will cut your throat” the stuck-mower may say.
I feel we live in the same scheme regarding this Season of the Gift. You either buy things to appease the people who are buying things for you, or you are ostracized. It’s like the consumerist’s human centipede, wrapped in a bow. Just passing crap on and on ad nauseum. Until what?
Until we opt out. Let’s just be with friends and family for no other reason than to eat a cheese log and fight, after too many candy cane vodka shots. Let’s give gifts all year to show our loved ones they are truly loved. Let’s not vote for a system that oppresses our choice to make a decision about who deserves what and how much they deserve, monetarily. Let’s vote for our own freedom, by keeping our money in our own wallets. Or, maybe, here’s a kooky idea, instead of buying an iPad mini for your eight-year old shitty kid, give that money to a family that won’t have anything more than a Hawaiian donut to eat this year on Christmas.
Chris Carr is Editor-in-Chief of The Cannon. Inordinate Ordnance publishes every Thursday in The Cannon and in The Ontarion Student Newspaper at the University of Guelph.
The opinions posted on thecannon.ca reflect those of their author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Central Student Association and the Guelph Campus Co-op. We encourage all students to submit opinion pieces, including ones that run contrary to the opinion piece in question.