The Art of Being a Consumer Whore

As an English major, I chose to give myself a break from ancient texts by supplementing my studies with a creative writing elective. The degree electives are four-course blocks, and one of said courses was English 408: Writing Poetry. I expected to encounter people from several different backgrounds in such a class, but there is nothing, nothing in this world that could have prepared me for ALL THE DAMN HIPSTERS.

For those of you who are unclear, I will try to define this term. Imagine a Woodstock hippie. Give this hippie modern technology, those weird sunglasses that have horizontal bars of plastic instead of lenses, a liberal arts degree, and all the self-righteousness of a sixteen-year-old at a peace rally. Add a dash of ignorant douchebaggery, and you have yourself a hipster.

Generally, I can tolerate these people in small doses. I can pretend to share in their hatred of The Man and wax poetic about Chomsky’s “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”. In this class, however, there came a point where these kids (see note about self-righteous sixteen-year-old; one of the poetry students was actually sixteen) needed a good pimp slap. Between the horrific rhythm-less rap and the free verse poetry about politicians speaking in tongues as cow eyeballs fell from the sky, I came disturbingly close to giving each and every one of them (there were five) a swift kick in the nuts. Throughout this ordeal, one part of hipster philosophy was revealed. It might even be they key tenant, the first of their Ten Commandments. The one consensus was this: if a person enjoys owning things, then said person does not have the correct priorities. Being a consumer is to be, to use a once awesome but not completely overused term, one of the sheeple.

Cars? Those box you in, man. You can’t see the world around you. All those designer clothes you have, they’re barriers, symbolizing the wall between you and enlightenment. You don’t need those heels; they might make you look taller, but they stunt your spiritual growth.

Okay, none of them actually said those things. But it’s in the realm of possibility. Levi, you were there, back me up.

All of this, in spite of my burning hatred of hipsters, forced me to look at the way I live my life. After some serious reflection, I came to a solid conclusion:

I really like owning shit.

Don’t get me wrong, I give to charity when I can. I bought a homeless guy lunch today. I’m growing my hair out so that it can be cut off and made into a wig for a cancer patient (and because it’ll look really pretty if my hair is in a fancy up-do for my wedding). But I firmly believe that one of life’s greatest pleasures is walking through the mall with a Victoria’s Secret bag on my right arm and a Barnes & Noble bag on my left. I don’t care who you are; when you have that beautiful pink striped bag clutched in your fist, you know it’s going to be a good day.

I have favorite things, and they are not as pure and innocent as raindrops on roses. No, my favorite things cost money. I love my mortar and pestle. I love my glass spoon holder that is covered in primary-colored octopi. I absolutely adore my sensible black heels. My X-Box controller with the pink Beauty and the Beast skin? Freaking awesome. Are any of these things necessary to my survival? Probably not. But having them kicks ass.

There are some people I know, however, who drop the names of designers as often as possible, as though there’s a casting director hiding somewhere, just waiting to feature them on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous or Sex in the City 9. People who equate Vera Wang with Gandhi, who strive to be Paris Hilton, who tell me that five pairs of shoes is simply not enough, oh my word, HOW DO YOU LIVE IN SUCH SQUALOR. These are people that should be locked in a room with the hipsters, because their lives revolve around beating other people over the head with sale prices that are still in the triple digits.

What I think some people need to realize is that there is a difference between owning material possessions and enjoying them, and absolutely living for your next purchase. There are a lot of things that I can’t have, and I’m fine with that. It was the same way when I was a kid; my parents didn’t have a lot of spending cash when my Dad was in-between jobs, and when we went shopping, I had to hear “no” a lot. This is according to my mother. I don’t remember any of that, because I never felt deprived. I knew my parents loved me, I had toys at home that were just as much fun, and missing out on some shiny new gadget didn’t affect my life in any way. In short, I was raised to be grateful. So grateful, in fact, that my mother has to convince me to buy a new pair of jeans. Honestly, I’ve sewn them up five times now; why not go for six?

2 Responses to “The Art of Being a Consumer Whore”

  1. Levi Says:

    Damn, I miss your rants so much. Thank God you have a blog!

    I do in fact remember that 16 year old douchebag… And, in an awesome twist of irony, he was the hipster leader.

    … And I believe it was English 408, not 402… Just sayin’…

  2. CM Says:

    The pretentiousness is why I never hung out with the other writing majors at my school :/

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