Idle Culture

Writings of a cultural dysfunct

Location: Seattle, United States

Monday, March 14, 2005

Couch Potato Blight

Average time spent watching TV commericals over a lifetime---2 years.

Number of commercials seen by the age of twenty---1,000,000.

Minutes of commercials during half hour show---8 (up from 6 twenty years ago).

Production cost of typical 30 second commercial---$300,000 (that is $10,000 per second).

Production cost of an entire hour of prime time public television---$300,000 ($83 a second).

Amount spent annually on TV advertising---$200, 000,000,000 (yes, the billions!) and it is growing at a rate of 7.6% annually, more than twice the average rate of the economy as a whole.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Karl Marx on consumerism

"Excess and immoderation" becomes the economy's "true standard" as the "expansion of production and of needs becomes an ingenious and always calculating subservience to inhumane, depraved, unnatural, and imaginary appetites...(Every product is a bait by means of which the individual tries to entice the essence of the other person, his money. Every real or potential need is a weakness which will draw the bird into the line...)...The entrepeneur accedes to the most depraved fancies of his neighbor, plays the role of pander between him and his needs, awakens unhealthy appetites in him, and watches for every weakness in order, later, to claim the remuneration for this labor of love."
--Marx, The Economic and Philosophical Manual of 1844

Henry David Thoreau

"If a man should walk in the woods for the love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer, but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen."
--Thoreau, Life Without Principle

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