Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Emoting on Cue: Buy Nothing Day

I think this year's Buy Nothing Day posters (PDF versions), aren't quite as cool as last year's, but my heart is still in the same ambivalent place about the value of the observance.

It's true the landfills are quite full enough already with long-forgotten, never-useful plastic thingies made in remote places by people we'll never know under conditions we wouldn't wish on people we know.

I have no illusions that observing Buy Nothing Day stands to reduce consumption -- the ongoing global economic calamity is taking care of that on Friday and beyond. Those observing Buy Nothing Day will, I would expect, just buy all the same things on a different day. But as emote-on-cue gimmicks go, it's far from the silliest idea out there; it looks downright staid by the standards of Wikipedia's list of unofficial observances.

Setting aside a day to stay out of the malls is, in and of itself, a good thing since malls are such hell-holes. If it creates a little space to reflect on the wisdom of USA-style consumption -- how it serves us individually and collectively, how it doesn't -- then all the better.

That said, Friday is looking rather star-crossed for buying nothing: I'm nearly out of raisins, I don't have enough beer to survive my houseguests, my son lost the mouse to his laptop, and I doubt the stores will be open tomorrow due to Thanksgiving -- which, by the way, may or may not actually increase the aggregate volume of thankfulness within the borders of the nation-states that observe it. Such are the perils of emoting on cue.


Sis B said...

Buy nothing day makes far, far more sense than VI Day, as far as abitrary holidays go. But I guess that's not really saying much, is it?

Dale said...

True, Sis B. So many VI days, so few clear ideas of what V means in definite, no-nonsense terms.