Consumption Junction: "A Word to the Wives"

by lana lynne on March 10, 2012
Check out this promotional video from a 1955 home construction company, a perfect portrait of advertisers' sale of the American Dream in which two friends cook up a scheme to convince the one woman's husband to buy her a new house with a modern kitchen. The plot involves the husband spending an enlightening two and half days trying to keep house with outdated appliances and a long trip to the trash can, and, in this case, the best laid plans of Mrs. Consumer fall right into place. One of the most interesting parts arises in the assertion of a fifth freedom, following from Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous four freedoms: freedom of speech and expression, freedom to worship God, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. The savvy friend with the enviable kitchen calls for "freedom from unnecessary drudgery, freedom to go shopping when the urge hits you...or when there's a sale going on."

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  1. freedom for the practical mind.. :> in fact it's a natural instinct, but the thing here is, you could use your practical mind as hammering the cupboard for that to open, or just to buy someone else's practical mind's product. the picture here is isolated. maybe that's what the disturbing thing is. the practical mind will always have to win, unless you broaden the picture (environmental effects, justice in income distribution, worker's rights, health effects etc. which usually involve longtime results), or you have artistic considerations. or that you have a pleasure of doing your own thing :> if you could be isolated, then maybe you could be happy in this system.

  2. well, using "happy" in a sense of "at ease" or "with less frustration" probably...

    1. Interesting point zo. The concept of the "practical mind" may be involved, and you're probably right that the modern conveniences depicted in the video are a "natural instinct" to improve our condition. And it's true that many lives have certainly been improved through innovation and efficiency. It's the blatant message of the video to consume that we find interesting. It's a message that continues today, but this is an early and instructive example. We see consumption equated with class, and leisure time as something through which you can spend more money.

      And remember, if you have a problem, "A new hat would be just the tonic."

  3. -1-
    :> yes, the thing is so prone to get dirty in the lest attempt... i have many people around of the same kind. know well... yet another possibility that formed on my mind lately, anything of any kind of an example; whether you see on tv, or read about, or see a photo of it, or simply see it happen in front of your eyes, maybe the last one having the most effect, brings you a way of coping with daily stress, boredom or problems. so what you say, from this viewpoint is so true. people also tend to use other people's minds instead of their own when the thinking process is not fully in health.. as doug's writing about the slump in his work. if there was something he could use in his books or if there was another person around that he could take a clue from, he would probably try that in the first place, which is sensible. in daily life, it's even faster for every behavior we learn, we probably will have an example in front of us. and as the woman in the video from malawi says, for most less tried methods of coping, "people will need to see it with their eyes".

    the place where it comes to a deadlock is to put a new way of coping, try socialize it and make it "accepted/acceptable/valid behavior". that people won't be alienated if they use this method. how to fill this void, is mostly social related as much as i can observe in my life... its so rewarding to have a friend(group), or be accepted, or be envied (anyhow social even though it may look isolated) unless you are a really heated adolescent :> but then comes in the character and culture... my father, for example copes with his problems, even admitting it, by shopping (besides other habits). (his father, who did not have so much money, used domestic violence.. who to take as a model...) it doesn't have to be expensive things. mostly unnecessary and small things, but if he had more money for his use, he would use it. he also claims to dislike some behavior of consumerism, as a reaction i guess as he sees its getting "more important than him" :>. he's not so much into technology so he is really out of this "next new model" kind of buying pattern. he even makes fun of it when colleagues "talk about it all the time".

  4. so important to have the chance to see "good" or at least "different" examples. but as mentioned in your previous posts, most of the media is controlled by same hands of consumerism. here the only things left are the dignity of human, and the feeling of love. that's why i am somehow in favor of some of the censorship... as seeing dishonorable act and hopeless corruption may cause the reactive feelings to get worn in time, and also every method you see is a method that keeps in your mind to cope when the time comes. but as usual it is also very prone to get dirty in such hands...

    you also had a post about this difficulty to start a new family in the system. the more isolated people get, the more this social reward thing turns to envying, rather than actually sharing something.. don't know where this will lead.

    being at age of 25, i feel so insecure of everything happening around me and this constant terrorizing self. and the ways of coping ahead of me is this arab spring?? where you go on the street to die, which does not guarantee any better future for your people as the strong countries come and rule over you, or go on the street and be put in jail, as in my "democratic" country if you have anything to say against their (in fact those who have power, that hide behind it all, US or Israel or European or corps or whatever), or go on the streets as in US, have the most of the intellectual backgrounds and be ignored by the state.

    don't know if anyone ever tried forming a political party without being left or right or anarchist or green... thats one thing that comes to my mind as a solution :S anything that will bring a fresh mind to the system. anything that don't favor one side heavily. and that could be elected. (the arab spring provided that for some but will they ever be able to "freely elect"..) my problem in Turkey is people are usually very sharply divided into two as left and right (which is inherited :>). evolving as both parts grow capitalist the only difference is the so called religion attributed to right. you people over there could form a party for the occupy move participants, as you are more organized under this simple protesting cause. a chance for "change of hands" at least, to have a voice.

    most of the old ones, i haven't read but thanks sincerely for all these posts. helps me a lot on the way :>

    seems i need more twitter for my summarizing skills :P :>

  5. pardon me for the confusion of the name.. should have been "dooglas" :>

    1. hi zö!

      doog here - First, no worries on the name - dooglas is a nickname, so doug(las) is equally correct!

      Second - thanks for your thoughtful comments! We wish more of our readers would engage with our work! From what I glean from your writing, I think you really get at some things that we hold dear when working on our articles - namely sharing and community. We have developed Recycled Minds with these two (among others) themes at the forefront. We want RM to be a space for sharing - ideas, knowledge, creativity, work, experience - and a space through which to foster community. We hope RM continues to grow towards a conversation wherein our ideas (our writers) and those of our readers and supporters can build on each other and begin to motivate us to action - to begin working on the changes we want to see in the world.

      We can let the world happen around us, or we can happen to the world. We're hoping that in some small way, RM contributes to the happening!

      Keep reading and keep sharing zö - and thanks!

    2. :> hope the same...


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