When we think about Christmas these days, what comes to mind are tons of gifts and over indulgence. People are maxing out credit cards, and spending thousands of dollars getting presents, even though they can barely afford rent. I feel that this mentality is engrained in us at an early age, by the time we are adults we have no hope. In Cross’s article “Modern Children, Modern Toy,” he talks of how the people responsible for this is the parents. Now it’s not just giving their children whatever they wanted, it has become a climb to the top for who has the most money. Christmas is the perfect time to be able to over indulge your kid in whatever they want without looking irresponsible. An amazing example of over indulgences with kids and their toys is when little babies like this have expensive things when there is really no need for it. The problem with this is that there is no reason for a two year old baby to have an Ipad. The only reason a child would have something like this is so the parents can impress other people, by giving the impression to others they have enough money to blow on buying a completely useless (and expensive) “toy” for their child. Consumerism has gotten way out of control in our country, and I believe it is time for a harsh wake up call. With the economy how it is, it is time to start making smarter choices with our money. The rest of the country needs to learn something from us “Austinites” and stop caring what other people think about us. What’s important is over indulging your kids with love, not material possessions.
In the spirit of the video that we saw before class began, I decided to share this video on the blog. Logorama is a short film that was released back in 2009 and is made entirely up of logos from both past and present. It makes the viewer aware of just how much we are engulfed in consumer culture because many of the logos are very recognizable. Most are used for what they are advertised as such as Firestone being used as tires and others are used to mock such as the Batman logo being used as an actual bat. The film is very entertaining and actually won the Academy Award for Best Short film in 2010. The film touches on many areas such as youth, violence, debt, consumer culture, as well as other political undertones. However it blends all of these themes together so very well that it is very hard to decide on whither this film was made to poke fun at us for recognizing all of these brands, or to call out society and point out that humanity has taken a turn for the worst. I believe that the creators of the film made it to poke fun at society because many of the logos are used in very comical ways. There is some strong language in the film but we are all adults here and its all in good fun, and there is also some violence but they are cartoons, so it doesn’t really count. I don’t want to give away too much about the film so I will wrap things up here, so make a bowl of popcorn and enjoy the film! See if you can break my record of 217 logos on the first try, there are over 2,000 logos so good luck.
If you pick the “Reading Journal” category for your first blog post, respond to this prompt:
In Gary Cross’ chapter “Modern Childhood, Modern Toys,” Cross argues that during the twentieth century Christmas gifts for children became a form of what Thorstein Veblen called “vicarious consumption”; through buying a ton of Christmas presents for their kids, parents could display their wealth to others without being seen as self-indulgent or spendthrifty. (See packet page 59 for the passage in which Cross develops this argument.) Apply this thesis to the contemporary American scene, using scenes from advertisements, movies, or television to argue whether or not Cross is correct.
This is the course website for Rebecca Onion's American Studies seminar at the University of Texas at Austin, convened during the spring semester of 2012. You can see the website for last semester's version of this course at this link.