Friday, November 25, 2005

Edgy Earth Day?

Proving that idiots abound, there is a movement called 'Buy Nothing Day', which is apparently a protest against rampant consumerism.

Now, on the surface of it, I really do think this type of thing is fine - everyone has the right to protest as they see fit, if they think this really is important, good for them. The idiocy comes from some of the things they say.
Wired News: How are you using the internet to spread the word about BND?

Kalle Lasn: BND was a relatively insignificant event in its early days. It wasn't until we put the campaign on the internet that it took off worldwide.... That synergy that we created on the internet was what really launched BND into the worldwide event that it is today....

(Using a new message-board system) we've managed to basically create these BND headquarters in cities around the world.... We have 85,000 culture jammers around the world who have signed up for our culture-jammers network and who receive our listservs and who then decide if they want to go the extra step and join a JammerGroup.

WN: What about the use of blogs?

Lasn:: Buy Nothing Day has become this huge phenomenon around the world. It's sort of like an edgy Earth Day and people are doing all sorts of things including blogs. But I have to tell you that there is also a downside to blogs. There are a number of people who think they are activists if they start a blog and talk sustainability.

I think there is more to it than that. The downside of the internet is that it has spawned a generation of activists who are actually very passive, who basically forward an e-mail to a friend and they think they are being some kind of an activist, and to me that is not the sort of activism that is effective.

Yeah. It's huge. Edgy. Using blogs. Unfortunately, no one really noticed.
WN: You mentioned advertising culture on the internet is getting worse. Do you see yourselves having to engage with internet advertising culture, too?

Lasn: We are brainstorming all the time on ways to get people to unplug, ways to get people to stop living in the virtual world and start living in the real world.

People who grew up with the internet or iPods, that whole digital revolution, are the first generation that spend more time in the electronic environment than they do in the natural environment. So we are definitely going to try and launch social-marketing campaigns that encourage people to just unplug, just to pull out of the virtual electronic environment and try to live more than half their lives in the real world.

Huh? I thought the blogs made the movement edgy. Now the internets is bad?
WN: Some people criticize BND as teenage high jinks, or bad for the country considering we're at war and shopping is patriotic. How do you respond?

Lasn: Over-consumption in the so-called First World has ecological implications. It's one of the root causes of the ecological crisis we are in. I think it has psychological consequences because we have become consumer drones who live lives of consumption, suffering from mood disorders.
And since Sept. 11, many people have realized that over-consumption has political dimensions. Many people are angry at us because of how we control the global economy. So there is an ecological, psychological and political dimension to BND, and people who don't get it should look a little bit deeper.

Now, I do think the 'unpatriotic' tag is just as stupid as BND, but this is pretty unreal. They hate us because we go to the mall on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Now, I don't go shopping on Black Friday, mostly because I don't like crowds, I don't have fun fighting for parking spots, and I'm willing to forgo the potential savings of the sales for shopping enjoyment. That's the way the market works, something these folks don't seem to like.

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