Literacy, ill.

While tooling around on the internets this morning, I noticed that Dr. Giroux paid a visit to Bill Moyers (watch it here and it reminded me about this post I wrote around this time last year.

I had just been thinking, again, about our selfie culture and insane drive to buy moreandmoreandmore crap- as I watched the footage of the battles happening in shops on Black Friday- and ruminated on the fact that the impulse to buybuybuy- at times and places dictated to us by the marketing people and the economics ‘leaders’- has become increasingly repugnant to me. Not that I don’t love a good bargain (my Dad was a notorious bargain shopper- I guess I picked that up from him), but because I really resent the rank consumerism that is eating us alive.

We celebrated US Thanksgiving last night- Fletch and his lovely better half always host us for an amazing food-and-drink fest in their home. I’m still full. Of the food, certainly, but mainly from the friendship and fellowship and great conversations we always seem to find at their place.

I can’t imagine rushing out to fight crowds in stores where under-paid employees are forced to leave their homes and hearths to serve the state-sanctioned consumerism of the general public.


I love words.  I love seeking their origins, working out where they came from and why we use them to say the things we’re trying to say.

I have a fairly developed vocabulary- owing largely to the fact that I read a lot, but also because I know a number of languages, in addition to my mother tongue.  The ancient languages provide a foundation for some of the whys and wherefores, and the modern languages help explain particular usages.  It’s like a big puzzle- the way words connect us.  Words demonstrate the way in which we communicate- across this wide world of ours- and the way we always have done.

‘Newer’ languages borrow words from those that came before- adapting them to seek their particular linguistic needs.  Language is never static- it develops with each passing day.

Literacy- in any and  all languages- is something I regard as supremely important.

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10 comments on “Literacy, ill.

  1. “Raging narcissism.” Worse now than ever before. Great post last year; sad to say doubly relevant today.

  2. Well said, as usual. You captured that lovely feeling of friends and food, as opposed to the shopping madness. Hec, even the Pope has come out against consumerism.

    • colemining says:

      So true, Booksy. It’s one of the things I like best about him- he isn’t afraid to challenge aspects of the status quo- regardless of what other world leaders might have to say.

      Thanks for the visit! xo

  3. Here’s my penny-ante analysis of US-style holiday consumerism: There’s a whole lot of folks out there who have huge voids in their lives, and shopping helps them fill that void, if only for a short time. I know, because I was married for one such individual for many years. It didn’t matter how much we were in debt, if there was a bargain to be had, even if it wasn’t something we didn’t need now, or at any time in the foreseeable future, it had to be purchased. And then there were the random luxury purchases that I would come home from work to: purebred dogs, thousands of dollars in arts and crafts supplies that were never used, a new sports car (fortunately, the dealer was willing to take it back), etc.

    Of course, no matter how much a compulsive consumer buys, it’s never enough because they’re seeking something that can’t be found on a store shelf. Unfortunately, advertisers and merchandisers prey upon these types quite effectively with promises that happiness and being cool rests just around the corner with the next purchase, all while they line their pockets. Needless to say, you didn’t find me anywhere near a store on or around Thanksgiving.

    • colemining says:

      There’s a whole lot of truth to that CBC. Having known a compulsive shopper or two, myself, I do understand that pathology all-too-well. And yes, the corporations and advertisers and the media certainly do target these unfortunates.

      But the larger concern I have has to do with the complicity of the political system and the 1%- who see a great deal of advantage in keeping the rest of us in debt and struggling while, at the same time, feeling somehow ‘less than’ since we don’t have the latest watch, or car, or gadget, or television set, or whatever.

      I didn’t buy anything on Friday (or Saturday or Sunday or Monday, for that matter), but I do admit to feeling some anxiety yesterday that I haven’t done much in the way of purchasing anything for the holidays and December is suddenly upon us. So I’m somewhat guilty of the imbedded impulses. No matter how I might try to avoid them like the plague.

      Thanks for reading- and for your always-insightful comments.

      • Yes, Cole, you’re absolutely correct about the powers that be working to instill a sense of inferiority in the masses by highlighting the fact the rest of us may not have the latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos.

        Have you ever noticed, and I’m sure you have, how much unnecessary foolishness is advertised this time of year? Stuff that serves no real purpose other than it’s “neat-o” value? Maybe I’m too frugal for my own good, but when I see advertisements for “shiny stone” products that can’t possibly be of any use other than to wrap and unwrap at Christmas time, I get irritated.

        Sadly, the fact that companies spend millions to advertise these frivolous items tells me plenty of people buy into this scam.

        Bread and circuses, just in different form.

      • colemining says:

        YES! It’s insane- the amount of useless crap out there that’s endlessly pitched to us as something we ‘need’ to have.

        Bread and circuses. That’s it exactly. And yet, we keep on buying it- and the glittery trinkets they peddle to remind us that we are worthy. Our economy is driven by the endless repetition of production/advertising/marketing/selling/buying the needless things. And if we challenge that particular status quo we are labelled ‘communist’– or something equally meaningless. I’m very close to completely opting out of the Xmas-machine this year. I really resent being told what to buy and when to buy it. I’m feeling incredibly rebellious this year…

  4. Black Friday antics were awful to view. Then tonight I tuned into the TV for a change and watched a programme called Posh People – Inside Tatler.
    Good grief. Self-absorbed and oblivious wasn’t in it.
    Two ends of the same length of string inside a couple of days. If anything, the self-proclaimed elite were worse to view. So much opportunity provided wasted on wanton displays of wealth and pursuit of so-called prestige.
    Sad viewing between the two. No wonder I rarely watch TV. It just makes me angry. And kind of despairing. Which I hate feeling. Thank god that communication outwith this source assures me that there is another field of thought and perception and that it does look to be growing. I hope and pray. We need it.

    • colemining says:

      Oh my, A-M. As I watched some of the footage from the UK, I was more-than-a-little stunned by the fact that it could/should have been happening in a WalMart in the US Heartland, rather than in a Tesco in Edinburgh. Jebus.

      And yes, the self-absorption seems to be at an all-time high. It’s hard to turn on the tv and not be disgusted by it all. I hope there is some change in the weather occurring. It’s hard to judge that positively at this time of year- when all we see is tinsel and glitter and all we hear are admonitions to buy more, and eat more…


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