Well, I dragged my ass to classes and got through them somehow although I was teetering throughout on the brink of exhaustion. One student though came up with a link to an almost archetypical ad—with the deep down message; if you want to be your real self, buy me.
It’s for a drink called Sobe and may be viewed on Utube. Ads have gotten a lot more sophisticated in their pitch since the 80’s. One student found an ad from the 80’s that is almost hysterical in the way it hits you over the head with its pitch. It too can be viewed on Utube.
Free associating, somewhat, these ads make me think of a student in one of my classes who wrote a paper for me about how all her stuff was stolen over Halloween. She went off to celebrate and left her friend and roomates in their place and she even instructed them, if they went out, to make sure the doors were locked and lights left on so nobody would think the house was abandoned. She came home, went to classes the next day, and returned to find her computer, her money, her credit cards, her cell phone and her ipod stolen. Her roommates had all their stuff stolen to and the windows of the car of one of the students were broken and bashed in and the inside of the car had been egged. They contacted the police who were no help at all and even suggested that somehow they were at fault because they live in IV and such things just happen in IV.
Had I been a cop I suppose I might not have been too understanding either. The roommates went out for Halloween, returned to their place drunk as skunks and were followed into the house by some strange guy who started to drink their booze and eat their food and would not leave until they screamed at him and threatened to call the cops. Given their condition, it was easy for him—as he apparently did—to cop the keys of one of the roommates, the one who had her windows bashed in. They were however so drunk out of their minds that they could muster no memory of what the guy looked like except that he was tall.
I know these details from the paper my student wrote. I said she might write it hoping that it would help her to deal with her feelings. Interestingly, she kept throughout referring to the objects she possessed as “belongings.” I never use that word so I started thinking if her pain and sense of hurt came from her sense of losing the belongings that allowed her to belong as a student at UCSB. I mean how can she belong as a student without a computer, a cell phone, and an ipod. If this is the case then this is where consumer society becomes horribly manipulative, making people think that if they don’t have this or that, they do not and cannot truly belong to this or that group.
I tried to say in my response to her paper that her belongings are just objects. They say nothing about her as a person, about her character, her ethics, or her intelligence. As a person she damn well belongs.