Results tagged “consumerism” from Six Hours A Week: Adventures in American Exile

Getting "On the List"

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Jackie Kennedy.jpg
The most "radical" act I have ever taken part in is one I organized. It was a miserable failure, and I was embarrassed by it. I write about it now not out of pride, but as a way of letting readers know what it takes to get "on the list."

You may remember the lead-up to the Iraq war as a frustrating, heartbreaking time. Many of us believed that preemptive aggression was a way to further agitate people who hated the U.S. and would only make future terrorist attacks more likely. We could see right through all of the pretextual explanations for war. At the same time, as I wrote last fall, the anti-war movement seemed frustratingly ineffectual.

So -- what was my brilliant response to the impending bloodshed and the lackluster antiwar movement? To dress up like Jackie Kennedy and carry around shopping bags with Jesus on them. Though this may seem a bit off, I think history will prove this brand of "radicalism" much more sane than Dick Cheney's. Why the Jackie Kennedy imagery?
ball dancing.jpgNaturally-colored teeth. Inappropriate eye contact and personal space allowances. There are enough stigmas dictating our grooming habits and everyday interactions.

Now we're supposed to feel lame for paying cash. Thanks, Visa.

You've likely seen the "Life Takes Visa" campaign ads. A flashback to Breakin' 2: Electric Bugaloo, cast from a United Colors of Benetton poster, shows a now vintage Visa scene of choreographed and carefree consumption. Some lame-ass trips up the funk by using cash for a transaction. Not even the most perfectly wrinkled of parachute pants could distract from the shame.

For over a year, this campaign has targeted a variety of audiences in order to castigate the cash-o-philes among us. Why?

Visa says cash and checks represent a $21 trillion opportunity for itself, and for other card companies able to convince customers that charging is preferable to handing over actual dollars and cents.

We knew that it wasn't about fighting global warming or feeding the hungry. We are used to being targeted and manipulated by advertising. But this is just shameless.

Yes credit cards are convenient, but we know their drawbacks. Most folks swiping their cards these days are in debt. Credit card fees drive up prices. Also, each credit or debit card transaction you make is recorded so that profiles of your consumer behavior can be bought and sold. Soon, law enforcement will be able to monitor us in real time as we make credit transactions (great in the case of Amber Alerts, not-so-great for the rest of us who like to move about freely).

Others have raged against the Visa machine. I'm asking you to give the giant a virtual ear-full: Contact Visa to say "Shame on You." Shame on you Visa, for trying to plant insidious seeds of nervousness and social pressure that will germinate as we try to give the cashier exact change.

You could even call or write a letter if you want to be all slow and cumbersome.


Six Hours A Week Is:

A coping strategy, advocacy outlet, and form of protection. My life has been nearly destroyed by the unconstitutional practices of politically/socially-motivated private intelligence contractors and the corruption and cronyism that allow them. Apparently because I speak out in ways that prioritize the little guy and human and environmental health above gargantuan profit margins, and believe that facts are as important as PR spin, I was someone who had to be completely discredited. In 2007, after a few months of a surreal and relentless invasion of privacy and dignity, I started to spend six hours each week researching, communicating about, and advocating legal and ethical responses to assaults on our shared democratic and republican ideals. For most of that time I was writing from the perspective of someone whose life was manipulated into a constant state of terror and emergency. In 2010, many of the array of entrapment attempts seem to have failed and it seems no longer possible to get away with such excessive, obvious harassment and overt interference. As we take more practical steps to address what has been allowed to happen to my family, we do expect to see some more harassment and intimidation. But I should be able to chronicle it from a more measured perspective, rather than that of someone in constant fear. Part of me would like to go back and delete earlier posts, because even I find them hard to relate to in some ways. But this blog has been one of our only forms of protection as everyone in any official capacity ignored the truth and tried to spin and frame us into the troublemakers and perpetrators of one form or another. So I leave it up as a form of protection, a record of what has occurred, and (with luck) the account of our way back to credibility and some form of legitimate justice. All content on this site is property of Kyeann Sayer. All rights reserved.