Separation II, 1896. Lithograph by Edvard Munch.
In a world of artifice and sham
Where money and power rule
The Kardashsian shadow
Superficial and empathy lacking
Mind control prospers
Orwell’s prophecy rendered.
The human spirit subjugated
Mass consumption won
Aim for awareness
Gaze in the mirror
Where the only truth
Tree of Life. Photo Credit: Banchop Rasi
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
I don’t recall the first time I heard Margaret Mead’s name, but it’s quite likely I read it on the pages of National Geographic magazine as a child in the early 1960s. I remember being glued to the television when Mead appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Even at that young age, I recognized that she was different from the other ‘celebrities’ the show normally hosted.
Margaret Mead was an American cultural anthropologist who focused her research on problems of child rearing, personality, and culture. In both her personal and professional lives, Mead was a pioneering and controversial figure.
A few days ago, I noticed an ‘invitation’ from one of my USA-based frequent flyer programs, nestled among the dozens of other promotional emails I had received. This one caught my attention with the bold headline, “Earn up to 13,000 bonus miles and help keep what’s yours, yours.” On most days, an advertisement of this sort would only deserve a cursory glance, but physically being back in the USA has heightened my awareness of marketing messages and I found myself pondering the reasons for duplicating the possessive pronoun “yours, yours” at the end of the statement.
I understand these words were carefully selected to dramatize the very real threat of identity theft, but to me the message was typically American since the targeted individual (moi) was being told ‘you possess something of great value, so don’t let anyone else take it away from you’. While the words had been carefully chosen to appeal to personal ego and our sense of self-importance along with highlighting our legal rights of possession, I also see them as yet another sign that the American cultural pendulum has swung to the extreme end of the individualism spectrum.