Livin the American Dream

After feeling an awful sense of guilt for EVER shopping at Walmart last week, a trip to Ten Thousand Villages in Central Park was a breath of fresh air. Ten Thousand Villages is a chain store that buys goods from artisans in other countries, sells them in the United States, and gives the artists a […]

Last week’s class discussion was dedicated to Juliet Schor’s book, The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need. I found this book to be fascinating. It was all about how the American identity is tied to consumerism. Schor argues that what we acquire and own is tightly bound to our own personal identity. […]

On a recent trip to Walmart, my friend asked me upon our entrance to the store,”Wanna see something freaky? Look up”. I looked up to the ceiling of the Walmart Supercenter and almost lost my breath as all I could see was neat rows of flourescent lights for what seemed like miles. I made a […]

The issues discussed in Schor’s book, The Overspent American, are disturbingly applicable to a new season of the Bravo TV show, “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”. The clips below illustrate issues of conspicuous consumption and competitive acquisition that Schor is talking about. Brutal Bowling Keeping Up With Sheree Here\’s to being real …sorry Chet.

Last week, we finished our discussion of Rome’s study, The Bulldozer in the Countryside. Chapter 5 discussed “where not to build”, referring to the tendency of housing developers to build on land that is not conducive to such development. Developers have not hesitated to build houses on marshes, hills, and floodplains. This causes serious problems, […]

I found myself in a shady Richmond parking lot at 11 pm last Sunday night, shivering and watching my Dad fumble with his broken car jack, attempting to fix a flat tire. I wiped away a tear as I thought about all the work I had to do that night, and also as I heard […]

Last week, we focused on Adam Rome’s book, The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism. Rome focuses on the emergence of suburban neighborhoods in America and their lasting effect on our environment. The Introduction and Chapter 1, “Levitt’s Progress”, discusses the beginning stages of suburban development. In the late […]

This week was all about “cool”. On Monday, we watched the “Merchants of Cool” PBS video. I think I can sum up this experience by the comment Irene made to me as we were leaving class after the video. She gave me a blank stare and said “I want a lobotomy after watching that video”. […]

We spent last week examining the relationship between women and consumerism. The two articles we read explored the types of products that have an influence over the female psyche and why there are gendered spheres of influence in our consumer society. The first article we discussed was Janice Radway’s “The Act of Reading the Romance: […]

I’d like to start this reflection with a scene I observed at the Spotsylvania Town Center Mall on Friday afternoon. A young father was walking through the mall with his four children: one little girl in a stroller, one older girl of about 7, and two older boys who were about 9. One of the […]

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