Shame on You, You Ugly, Narcissistic Consumer


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"If you had a secret wish, would you make it beautiful?" - False Creek Plastic Surgery Centre

Some days it’s hard to make it through the day without something like the [theoretically] “public” transit system trying to shame us as ugly narcissistic consumers with their adcreep, just in time for Christmas!

Because we are not beautiful, we need plastic surgery. But we should not brag about it or openly discuss it with our peers: it needs to be a secret wish. Ads like this one from the for-profit False Creek Plastic Surgery Centre abuse us into thinking we’re ugly, then shame us into secretly wishing to be beautiful.

Priceless. We’re beautiful already, but the ad’s job is to convince us of the lie that we’re ugly.

"Our World Revolves Around You" - The Perfect New World of Technology: The HP Store in Vancouver

And then we have the new HP Store in Vancouver. Its goal is to let us know that the world revolves around me. I truly am that special. Except I’m a mark. HP is modelling its narcissism-inducing relationship with its customers after the Apple Store’s worship/exploitation of its cult members.

And perhaps the worst thing about this particular ad is that it appears to be on a bus shelter on Burrard near the SkyTrain station, but in fact it’s the same physical structure of a bus shelter ad, but it’s just sitting there on the street for people to walk into. It’s a TransLink billboard plunked right there on the sidewalk in our way when we’re walking, a billboard outside the transit system.

Adcreep takes a new angle.

So what is our job this Christmas?

  1. voluntary simplicity
  2. reject affluenza
  3. recognize we already have enough stuff
  4. remember that we’re all beautiful
  5. get over yourself if you think the HP world actually revolves around you, or that anything does
  6. know we are loved, honoured and cherished as human beings regardless of how much plastic surgery we’ve had or how big our hard drive is.

It’s hard to have a merry Christmas if you let the adcreep brainwash you into perceiving yourself as ugly, shameful and narcissistic…all at once. It takes decades of psychological work and training to get us to be all those things simultaneously.

Break out of that and suddenly you’ll notice the homeless teen 75 feet from the HP ad who also deserves the dignity that the adcreep is trying to rob from us all.

Now go give a hug to someone you love.

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Post-partisan eco-socialist. at Politics, Re-Spun
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, professor, speaker, consultant, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website, dgiVista.org.

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3 thoughts on “Shame on You, You Ugly, Narcissistic Consumer”

  1. Two thumbs up. We almost entirely reject consumerism during the holidays, and have spent the last several weeks explaining to other people why we don’t get roped into the festive spending orgy. There is too much crap out there, we don’t need it, it’s a waste of our money, we’d be poor stewards of our finances if we did, and heck, we’re cheap.

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