Posted by: Jim | August 25, 2004

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Worship and Devotion at the Feet of Consumption

Marx said, “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” How right he was. I’ve taken this thought a bit further by saying that whatever we opiate ourselves with is our religion.

My good friend is a devout Christian. Yet, whenever he feels down or blue how does he ease his troubled mind? Does he go to church, kneel and pray, and ask God to show him the way? No. He thinks about what he can buy to make him feel better.

And, to a point, don’t we all? Most of us do, much of the time. Consumerism is our religion, our opium.

But as far as I can tell, even though our consumerism is an oppressive god who sacrifices many off-shore laborers and children, he tends to kill fewer people than other gods like Allah and Jehovah do. So as long as we’re worshipping the purchase of stuff, let’s worship well, shall we?

And here we get to the point of this post: every dollar we spend changes the character of our god.

Should I buy products from companies that underpay workers in 3rd world countries? Should I eat veal, even though those lambs are pretty much tortured until they are finally killed for my dinner plate? Should I buy a book like “Battlefield Earth”, that is recommended by my pal Dread? If I do, the profits–though I can’t prove it–will go toward the Church of Scientology, which is just plain stupid and evil. I, for one, won’t buy it. (UPDATE: Dread would like everyone to know that he is not now, nor has he ever been, a Scientologist.)

The thing that drives you crazy, though, is not knowing if the windbreaker your mulling over at Target is sewn by retarded children in Mauritania … or not.

The fact is we can’t know it all. If we did, it would depress us so much we’d have to go out and buy more shit to make ourselves feel better.

But it still beats starting a holy jihad, or beheading a tourist, no?

P.S. Can anyone name off some good non-government watchdog organizations that let us buyers beware?

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