Controlling your own personal intake of media is important, seeing that what you are exposed to every day influences how you view the world. It is hard to resist assimilating into a culture that is so prevalent everywhere you go-- yet it can be done, and should be done, because our Western culture is built on the basis of aquiring more material possessions.
And so, here are some things to avoid in the media:
- Celebrity gossip and worship: Yes, I said "worship". For many people, they worship celebrities as idols (and even sometimes admit it, like American IDOL). This is the worst on television and in magazines, and on the Internet, of course. You can take all sorts of quizzes comparing yourself to celebrities-- on things like personality type, fashion style, dream date, body type, BMI... It is as though we need to match ourselves up to a celebrity to have worth! Unfortunately, most celebrities lead luxurious, and, ultimately, unsustainable lives; if we all tried to live like them, I'll bet the Earth would be depleted at least twice as fast. So please, surround yourself with the real world instead of celebrity magazines and such... You'll be happier anyway.
- Advertisements: ARGH! They are everywhere nowadays. You can't use a search engine or check your e-mail without advertisements popping up left, right, and centre! Even my beloved virtual pets website has ads all over the screen and it makes it less fun :( Not like I play on Neopets anymore, really, but I still go on once in a while! It is best to distance yourself from hordes of advertisements, telling you to buy, buy, buy. Even if you don't rush out to the store and buy that particular product (does anyone actually do that?), you might order it online, or simply be encouraged to go shopping in general. Even if you don't notice a difference before and after you see an advertisement, look out-- your mind might be on "shopping mode" for the rest of the day!
- Certain movies and TV shows: Especially the ones with the "product placement" woven right into the story line, in which the characters of the show talk about how wonderful a certain brand is (they're paid to do that).
- Certain songs: Especially the disrespectful new pop songs. True, they do not actaully tell you "buy stuff NOW!" but they do originate from the same faulty and obnoxious culture that is destroying the environment.
By now you might be wondering what to do instead of immersing yourself in a flawed culture. After all, it wouldn't really work to pull yourself out of one culture only to find that there is nothing to replace it. The key is to join groups that think like you. Try joining any one of the following types of groups:
- Environmental Organizations and Other NGO's: You can go to the meetings, events, etc. and meet people who also don't believe that we should be consuming the amount of stuff that most people do. You can join local nature centres, vegetarian associations, etc.
- Libraries, which are amazing for many reasons, including the fact that they hardly ever focus on business and consumeristic habits. You just go and borrow a book and take it home and bring it back... and hang out for free at one of the tables, without anyone expecting you to buy anything.
See you later, then... :)