Monday, January 05, 2009

the temple of mammon

During the brief three and a half year history of the agent b files, we’ve been very militant about posting reports strictly on the happenings of and around agent b. No frills or fluff. Except for that one time Christmas greeting of the Star Wars Holiday Special in just five minutes. Oh man, I am so funny.

But generally, we try to stick to the mission here and not follow whatever is fab in blogland.

Yet for the last few years, my disdain for consumerism and stuff has grown as rapid as my interest in social justice. Why should I have the vast availability of cheep shit to buy if it means raping the world? Or something like that.

And for crying out loud. The texts I read about my god claimed he had little or nothing when he walked the earth with us.

Admittedly, I use to mildly defend Wal-Mart and similar places. I figured if you are going to boycott Wal-Mart, then you’ll have to boycott everyone. Because they all carry the same slave labored crap made in China and Bangladesh. Just because Wally is the biggest target doesn’t mean the little guys should get off the hook.

I admire brother Shane and co since they go the extreme to make their own clothes and such. Don’t know if I’ll ever get to that point. But all last year I bought clothes from Goodwill. And it was fun. I figured second hand is second best to making your own.

Also – as a field agent embedded within the poverty culture, I figured since the local poor folks go to Wal-Mart, then so should I. Why should I act more uppity than my friends?

But the poor drink sodas like no tomorrow. And I’ve barely drank sodas since 1994. So there blows that logic. And if the poor were going to jump off a cliff I probably shouldn’t follow. Or something like that.

Bottom line: I am not a fan of our nation’s consumer culture. I’m quite vocal against our fat-ass whiney babyness. I refuse to bow to the god of convenience and the god of entitlement.

After September 11, 2001, our president addressed the nation and suggested we all go shopping as a means to help the country. Like people who hide their deep seated issues with spending money or eating or drug doing.


I try to buy as little as possible. And when I do spend, I prefer local business owners who offer various services and give back to the locals. Blah blah blah.

I’m not militant or preachy about all this. But I am more serious than before. Since I was born and raised in a consumer society, I figure this anti-consumerism lifestyle seems the best way to subversively live the gospel within this culture.

But my primary reason for sharing all of this...

Since about 2006 or so Agent Wife and I have received dozens of Wal-Mart gift cards. Christmas gifts, random thank yous, whatever. $25, $50, $100. Even a $150 once

We are thankful and don’t want to complain. I’d REALLY like to avoid Wal-Mart all together. Forever. But we can’t. Because we keep getting this damn currency for the temple of mammon.

I don't know what to make of this. Lord god, help me.

* If you have 20 minutes and can stomach the peppy narrator and her mentions of global warming and toxic breast milk, the story of stuff makes a good classroom-type lesson of our consumeristic godlessness.


miller said...

preach it preacher man!

we haven't been in a walmart in a long time.

it's nice!

it's kinda like quitting church... it's a hard step to take but once you do, there's no going back.

by the way, is the baby here yet?


Agent B said...

Wow Miller,I didn't think you visited these parts anymore. Welcome!

The baby is due soon (next week?).

miller said...

yeah it's been a while since i've been here... i went through a pretty major blog slowdown a year or so back.

but i'm feeling like i need to get back in the mix.

when did you start back up on the cigars and the pipe? we need to get together for a stogie and brews.


Agent B said...

Cigars & pipe...I don't think I ever quit. Well, I recently fired up the pipe for the first time in 12 years.

Would love to get together. We are finishing a flip project early next week. Then baby could come any moment...I'll let you know.

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Agent X