Buzz’s Buzz Comes from Buying Things


The article in GQ opens this way:

In the past few years, I’ve bought eighty-one leather jackets. Dozens of boots and leather gloves. I’ve purchased pants that cost $5,000. I own a $22,000 coat. This winter I took a tour of Milan’s Fashion Week (all expenses paid by Gucci, in appreciation of my many, many purchases), where I spent tens of thousands more and began to seriously grapple, once and for all, with a compulsion that could cost me more than just my life savings. My name is Buzz Bissinger. I am 58 years old, the best-selling author of ‘Friday Night Lights,’ father of three, husband. And I am a shopaholic.

Your first impulse might be “Are you serious? What a loser.”  With all the misery in the world this must certainly rank up there as one of the most egregious expressions of First World Problems whining.  But the crisis that Buzz Bissinger describes is real.  It is an extreme example of an “addiction cycle” that defines our consumer culture… a culture that has been aggressively cultivated and is reinforced hundreds, thousands of times daily in ways that we don’t even notice anymore.

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Gene Brockhoff, a flooring contractor in the San Francisco Bay area was struck by the distortion of values inspired by obsessive consumerism and decided to make an investigative film about the forces that compel us to crave more stuff.  Here’s the trailer for Shop Til’ You Drop:


Check out this clip from the MEF film Consuming Kids to get a sense of the extent of the deliberate and intensive campaigns crafted to program us to buy, buy, buy: