After a long and painful period of illness, I’m very happy to be able to resume studies this week. I’m reacquainting myself with my own research and recommencing my thesis first draft.
Things to distract me from the task at hand include a new series on consumerism on BBC2: The Men Who Made us Spend
The first episode addresses built in obsolescence which is all about increased profit margins on consumer goods and results in vast amounts of unnecessary waste.
The second episode looks at the health industry and the how the drugs companies increase consumer spending by manipulating health anxiety (fear of death). The increase in products branded as healthy, including bottled waters and the like sell the consumer more products they don’t need and in doing so add more packing to landfill.
The third episode focusses on merchandising and collectables, particularly directed at children, incorporating film, TV and video with the branded toy market as well as ‘gamification’ of the food industry, plus credit cards and ebay/paypal facilitating instant consumer gratification.
In other rubbish news; an LA based professor is visiting me in Halifax to talk rubbish for research on her book on trash. Her research interests include cultural studies, gender studies, transatlantic studies and comparative literature so I’m very much looking forward to meeting and talking rubbish with her!