Culture Warriors -- To Arms!

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Eden at the Shopping Mall The Sword of the Angel Michael Taking Action

Eden at the Shopping Mall

The wrong people are in charge of our culture. In fact, they are not people at all. The "people" who decide what we eat and drink, who advise us on how to be happy, who create fashion, and tell us what are supposed to be important stories are big corporations and corporate-owned media.

It is only natural that these want us to be god little consumers who believe happiness comes from buying the latest product. On a deeper level, the corporations would like us to believe we can return to Eden. We can be idealized children. Real children make poor cogs in the wheels of industry because their tolerance for mistreatment is poor. If you downsize a child she'll throw a very justifiable temper tantrum.

No, the corporate powers that be want us selectively neotenous. Watch a bunch of adults at the shopping mall. See them in their baby bunting sweats often in pstel olors. Visit the food court. I know. None of you ever goes to the food court, yet it is full of adults who can't wait to go home or who can't be bothered to pack lunch.

Now walk around the mall. Stop by the Disney Store, Spencers, Hallmark or even ( Thadea will shuddder since she buys my scrunchies there.) Afterthoughts and loook at the goods for sale. There are icons of corporately produced stories. There are stuffed animals for "collecting," toys of a lost childhood that never happened. There are a whole array of imaginary childhood companions: doe-eyed angel statues, teddy bears, Mickey Mouse, and a little mermaid who is no longer willing to give her life for a human soul. Read the story by Hans Christian Anderson. The Little Mermaid doesn't get the prince, but that was back in the Ninetheenth Century before we could buy are way back to childhood comfort.

And look at web pages. the icons of an imaginary past abound. The past here is both almost historical and mythic. Victorian ladies stare coyly, dreamily, and even sedutively. Angel children stand there looking oh so cute. There are the cartoon characters, many of them licensed property of Disney, Warner Brothers, and Hanna Barbara. There are unicorns, pegassii, and fairies. Real animals beyond pets are seldom present. And yes, web site creators can build whatever they please, but the corporate culture has encouraged them to reach back to a past shrouded in pink clouds rather than to the wide world around them.

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The Sword of the Angel Michael

There are of course good reasons why the corporate powers want us heading back to Eden. Idealized children are concerned only with play. They do not trouble themselves with history, God, the environment, or answering big questins. Too much thinking keeps us out of stores and may even make us think twice before consuming.

The sad truth, which maybe is not so sad, is that we can NEVER return to Eden. The Bible, which is close to the original text on the matter, says that a return is impossible. Humans must work, learn, and strugge to figure out right from wrong, and then do the right thing. Our childhood is forever behind us.

And being a culture warrior is part of doing the right thing. As culture warriors, my wife and I reject commercial values that the corporate giants foist upon us and we try NOT to teach them to our daughters.

Taking Action

Here is what we do:

  1. Get rid of the television. Cutting off an endless soure of commercials is healthy for both children and adults. It is easier to think for oneself when not being bombarded with a constant barrage of corporate propaganda.

  2. Take an interest in how things are made and how things work. Cook homemade meals. Try new fruit and vegetales. Patronize local specialty stores and the Farmer's Market. Sew. Knit. Paint furniture. Barter your skills for those of others.

  3. Find inexpensive ways to have a good time. Go to the park or pool. Garden. Visit museums and galleries.

  4. Attend a house of worship regularly. This makes you a part of a communal spiritual life, and it teaches values other than those taught by the corporate giants.

  5. Read classic books designed for both adults and children. Remember there was much less media aimed exclusively at children during the first half of this century. There are many many stories generations can share.

  6. When creating art work for web pages, avoid commercial images and popular midi. Create your own art using photos of non-name brand animals and pants or geometrics. You can also hand render or scan in your own cartoons.

In the Bible when the first humans were expelled from Eden, their sons and daughters built great cities. You can't go back to Eden, so you might as well build cities too. Lay a foundation. Become a culture warrior today.

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Text by Jacob Bechstien PhD. Webmastering, design, and illustrations by Thadea Myers.