November 07, 2002

Nature™: You Want Fries With That?

[...] any discussion of commodification today must extend to the cultural economy. It turns out that people are most sensitive to the effects of commodification in the cultural arena. Paradoxically, advertising promotes commodification while simultaneously denying it. Advertising blankets the cash nexus with narratives and signifiers that position the meaning of the commodity within non-commodified relations. For example, ads often place commodities at the center of idyllic familial relations. Just think of the many McDonald's commercials in which dad shares a moment of quality time with his son over a Happy Meal that includes a plastic promo from the latest Disney movie. Imagery of exchange is replaced by a representation of a caring moment between father and child.
Life, love and happiness. Songbirds, baby bears and wilderness: spiffed up, packaged, and sold back to us as product. The term 'commodification' came up recently in discussion of why people litter. Has 'nature' become a commodity, a mere side-show hawked by Amazing Animal maniacs, with life animated out of the living world and fed back between commercials? How are our children 'consuming' the natural world? How can we decrease the distance between our children and ourselves and the nurture and wisdom we should find in contact, real genuine and direct contact, with the land? What ills result from this disconnect between the living realm of forest, field and garden and the commercial world of nature artifice as it is resold back to us, subtly, by the media?
Posted by fred1st at November 7, 2002 06:26 AM

"commodification", "cash nexus", "signifiers"? Whassat mean in english?

And here I thought commodification referred to the body's response to a good dose of castor oil. Apparently not.

What do I know? I am, after all, from East Tennessee. :)

Posted by: Jim at November 7, 2002 06:04 PM

We're being sold on nature in a million different ways. The big thing to remember is that YOUR relationship with nature is the one that matters. How YOU feel about nature is how you feel. Chuck the rest of the hype in the pipe out of your short-term memory and just enjoy your world as you see fit.

Posted by: Da Goddess at November 7, 2002 06:25 PM

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