Dear Mindless, Busy Consumer and Buyer of Fleeting Joy – SASM 110
Who's coming with me into unchartered satire territory?
I tell you what – this Smart and Simple Matters episode really tested my withered creative writing muscles. And it's an experiment (for me and on you) that I'm nervous about.
But first, the backstory.
In May 2013, I read a biting blog post by Patrick Mustain that was comically called, “Dear American Consumers: Please Don't Start Eating Healthfully. Sincerely, the Food Industry.”
That title sums up what billions of marketing dollars are trying to tell you, me, and the children of the world every day (not to mention what hordes of corporate lobbyists are trying to influence).
The blog post and was clever, funny in a sad kind of way, and I wished I'd thought to create something like that for a topic other than food.
So that's what I'm doing now. I've used Mustain's satirical framework to read you a fake letter I wrote on behalf of people and industries that want to keep us frantically busy, sleep-walking through life, powerless, and buying for the sake of buying.
It comes from the mythical Working Group for Being Frantic, Overwhelmed, and Chasing Money at Citizens against Quiet, Idle Hands, and Saving.
What does it feel like to try to be persuaded to keep doing what you're doing against your own best interests and that of our broader society or the whole world? How much of what I wrote is the gritted teeth truth and how much is nonsense?
Press play because you're about to hear my letter, “Dear mindless, busy consumer and buyer of fleeting joy: Please don't start intentionally identifying your needs.”
You're about to Learn ...
- What the food industry is rubbing your nose in (often successfully).
- What Citizens against Quiet, Idle Hands, and Saving need you to know.
- Some eye-opening stats about how much stuff Americans actually own.
- Why capitalism contradicts itself and how most people don't even care.
- The children's cartoon I happily ridicule – even though my boys love it.
Resources and Items Mentioned in This Episode
- The Dark Side: A Conversation with Paul Bloom (Sam Harris' Waking Up)
- Dear American Consumers: Please Don't Start Eating Healthfully. Sincerely, the Food Industry
- 21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own
- David Brooks: The Ambition Explosion
- America’s Donald Trump Complex: We’re Addicted to Consumption – and It’s Destroying Us
- 9 Lies that Keep Our Schedules Overwhelmed
Direct Audio Download for This Episode
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Timestamps and Topics
- [06:39] The inspiration for my satirical writing
- [14:28] A comedic letter from Citizens against Quiet, Idle Hands, and Saving
- [21:50] Some housekeeping, a podcast recommendation, and how to support this show
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“SASM is one of those podcasts that I came to check out with the intention of just staying for a few episodes, but Joel does such a fine job with it that it's now one of the six that I listen to like clockwork. A few dozen episodes later, I can attest that Joel brings a great sense of genuineness, compassion, and good old fashioned social interest to each episode.
He is one of only a few guys I know brave enough to publicly put his own failings and emotions out on stage without defending them or seeking sympathy.”
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