You Are What You Buy: When Consumers Replace Citizens / Edition 1

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When President Bush promoted shopping as a patriotic duty, the American culture of consumption hit a new low. But a quiet revolution is growing in the developing world and in a new generation of Americans, fighting the advance of the shopping malls and the desolation they leave behind. Written by one of the most insightful critics of American commercialism, The Business of America probes the forces that have transformed citizens into consumers eager to take as much as they can from the planet. From on-line shopping to spectator sports to the cash-and-carry ethos of political campaigns, Saul Landau decodes the subtle ways in which advertising images tell us to correct our inadequacies with more things: SUVs, credit cards, air conditioning, video games. The winds of change are blowing, Landau shows, from resurgent student protests for underpaid janitors to the "Group of 21," the developing countries that stopped the World Trade Organization dead in its tracks in 2003. Eschewing nostalgia for a simpler time—a less-interconnected world that can never return-The Business of America shows how we as citizens can regain our identities, stripping away the plastic overlay of consumerism.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Saul Landau, an internationally-known scholar, author, commentator, and filmmaker, is the Director of Digital Media Programs and International Outreach at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He has made 40 films, including the recent Syria: Between Iraq and a Hard Place. He received the Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award, the George Polk Award for Investigative Reporting, and the First Amendment Award, as well as an Emmy for Paul Jacobs and the Nuclear Gang. He has written fourteen books including his most recent, The Pre-emptive Empire: A Guide to Bush's Kingdom, and received an Edgar Allen Poe Award for Assassination on Embassy Row, a report on the murder of Orlando Letelier. He is currently working on a detective novel.

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Table of Contents

1 The Bush vision : a bipolar political disorder 9
The culture of naked power 11
Politics and the Enron scandal, part I : the Enron system works - well, for some people! 18
Enron, part II : sex and the Enron scam 24
A dialogue about sex, violence, and the budget 26
It's the budget stupid! - Bush's lucky duckies 30
2 Classify this! : national security culture sets the norm 35
The intelligence culture in the national security age 37
Our aging Faust 41
A Panglossian conversation 46
History? : what's that? 50
3 Sheep don't need whipping : media in the twenty-first century 55
World news in shotgun pellets of anxiety from the media 57
Religious diversion from the issues in the age of reason and hi tech 62
Review of Pollock 65
Advertising can make you personally and politically crazy 67
Commercial messages produce advanced scatteration 71
Television : democracy at its ugliest 75
Clear channel fogs the airwaves 79
The film industry : business and ideology 83
4 Ahab can beat the whale 87
At two with nature 89
Commuting in Los Angeles 95
Privatize - the key to public culture 96
Will the next war be against smog? 100
A global warming sermon in dialogue 103
An Anza Borrego odyssey 106
Mount Whitney towers over Death Valley, but Death Valley doesn't look up to Whitney 108
Diseased meat? - could be wurst! 112
Exporting the best chemicals the stomach can absorb 114
Las Vegas : Bush's America 118
Cuba is not Las Vegas : scenes from a late summer Havana wedding 121
5 The Iraq conundrum 127
Bush and King Henry - similar birds of different feathers 129
Don't get distracted by Cameron Diaz's acne or talk of war 134
How 9/11 events helped democracy to evolve toward perfection 139
Different worlds 145
Shiite happens 149
The quiet American returns on film 153
Shopping, the end of the world, and G. W. Bush : part I 160
Shopping, the end of the world, and G. W. Bush : part II 164
6 Closing remarks 169
There is life after shopping - and its feels good 171
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