Lee Evans on the Trouble with Newness

To focus on newness is to focus on packaging, not on content. Newness suggests that which exists for the first time. Since newness becomes more and more difficult to create, then things must be packaged to provide the illusion of newness. Marketers and advertisers do not want us comparing products in terms of how they are similar, but rather in terms of how their product is newer and different than the others. Newness is fetishized in this country…

Because the search for newness is based upon how things differ rather than how things are similar or connected to one another, the search for newness stems from and fosters alienation and disconnectedness. The search for newness is the search for those things that allegedly stand out from, are apart from that which is. The ability to perceive how things, events, people and power are connected and relate to each other is at the very core of our political skills. When we participate in the focus on newness, we lose the ability to develop and use political skills because we are focused on the differences that are used as proof of newness. We are no longer able to focus on our connections with each other…

Personal preference, which is an underpinning of psychological perspective, discourages us from examining the connections with each other and the organic world. If we attend to ways in which events, people and things connect, it would be very difficult for the boys to package our lives and sell them back to us. It is the breaking of the world into parts and even the objectifying of the world itself which feeds the vicious cycle of buy and sell. The boys cannot sell that which they cannot objectify. It is the forging and recognizing of our connections which shield and protect us from the boys’ objectification of us.

~Lee Evans, The Spread of Consumerism: Good Buy Community


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