Thursday, September 6, 2007

cult of americanism

"American culture is no longer created by the people...A free, authentic life is no longer possible in America today. We are being manipulated in the most insidious way. Our emotions, personalities, and core values are under siege from media and cultural forces too complex to decode. A continuous product message has woven itself into the very fabric of our existence. Most North Americans now live designer lives- sleep, eat, sit in a car, work, shop, watch TV, sleep again. I doubt there's more than a handful of free, spontaneous minutes anywhere in that cycle. We ourselves have been branded."

Lasn likens life in what he calls America to life in a cult in which 'we have been recruited into roles and behavior patterns we did not consciously choose.' Does the child who sits in front of a television set for three to four hours a day, shops at the mall with her parents, goes to school and recites the Pledge of Allegiance, plays computer games, listens to her president encouraging everyone to go out shopping in order to defeat terrorism, wears clothes from the Gap, and plays with the toys created out of the imagination of Disney and Hollywood, ever actually choose the American way of life? Did she go through a ritual of initiation beyond getting her first Barbie? Was there a moment of conversion in her life when the American dream became her dream? No. She imbided this monoculture consumerist dream in the fast food she ate, the polluted air she breathed, and the visual culture she inhabited. And so she was converted, made into a cult member, before she ever knew what was happening. Lasn points out that 'dreams, by definition, are suppose to be unique and imaginative. Yet the bulk of the population is dreaming the same dream. It's a dream of wealth, power, fame, plenty of sex, and exciting recreational opportunities.' When a whole poplulation dreams the same dream, empire is triumphant.

Colossians Remixed 170-171.

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