personal

Gift Cards and True Presents

As I’m becoming more focused on spreading something real, banal consumerism has begun to really annoy me.

There was a picture at my local IHOP. It said, “Give the only gift that makes everyone feel good inside”, or some such drivel.

The gift?

A goddamn gift card.

Not love. Not a poem. Not a story. Not a painting. Not the kind of gift that someone takes from apartment to apartment, home to home, because of its beauty and the care put into it.

Nope. A gift card for pancakes.

I know this is just the slop that a marketing wiz came up with. I’ve done marketing. It’s somewhere between lying and advocacy. Hopefully, the dude who wrote that at least thinks IHOP makes a decent product.

But it stems from a consumerist set of values, and that’s something far, far more serious.

It demeans and trivializes the real experience of human and spiritual merit that we have that actually brings us together, the experiences that we really need. Those experiences can happen at an IHOP, a Denny’s, or even in a trench on the Western Front.

I wonder how much we forget this daily psychic assault. And remember: Given that corporations spend untold billions on it, that psychic assault is winning.

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