Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cynical Happiness

The NY Times has a piece up about the end of conspicuous consumption, or some crap like that.

I think the topic is fine, but the people in the article really grind my gears. I'll spare the quotes, but it's full of people who obviously think very highly of themselves because they asked their husbands not to buy the jewelery for Christmas last year, or are wearing the same dress twice, or don't rush out to every sale at Saks, or don't really want that new power tie. In other words, the people you want to punch in the face for how smug they're being about their new found "frugality".

Somewhere in there is the buried message that people are finding happiness in new things - like the love of their families, or relaxing, or just reading a good book on the patio. You know, shit that most people who can see past their nose and give two shits about anyone but themselves already enjoy.

So, being the cynic I am, I immediately thought - there's your next mini-boom. I expect once the economy has stabilized (it won't get back to its old heights), most of these douchebags will go back to their old lives. But in the meantime, they're going to need help finding true happiness. I expect a rise in spiritualism. Not necessarily religion (although there will be that), but meditation, incense, candles, and new-agey gurus preaching love of family and seeking the simple pleasures. There's nothing inherently wrong with this, except that I imagine the majority of those taking advantage of the situation will be carnival hucksters selling snake-oil as sandalwood. I also expect to see the big corporations discover this and push all kinds of feel-good products and ideas. Expect more commercials with soft voices and Yanniesque music in the background pushing an eco-friendly aromatherapy product that will stabilize your Qi and calm your chakras or something.

I also imagine "family coaches" will start appearing to help distant ├╝ber-rich parents connect with their spoiled unruly children by suggesting things like family games night or going to the zoo, and of course, talking.

Where holes are seen, cons will fill them.


1Queens Up1 said...

i thought chakras were a boomerang type-weapon ;)

BamBam said...

So having said that...

1) where do we start?
2) Shall I gather the oil or the wood?
3) Do you want to get started with a focus on the busy working Mom's, or their putting in 10 hrs. a day and barely treading water Husbands?

Oh my.... YES, there is soooooo much potential out there, should one decide upon being a dickwad!

What's that combination of naivete and con called again? Oh yes, Human nature.

Astin said...

1.- New York City. California's already got all that crap.
2.- Wood, you're in a more forested area. I'll start saving bacon fat.
3.- Housewives worried about their husband's job (or switch the sexes). Start with small, cheap items and advice, maybe rope them into becoming the sales force a la Tupperware or long distance.

Easy money.

lj said...

this will be qft in a few years...i feel like i'm already on my way, having recently started practicing yoga.

lj said...

not that i'm comparing myself to the people in the article. :( i would never urge lucko not to get me a hanukkah present. :)