Saturday, November 27, 2004
Here is a link to an Adbusters Culturejammers page on Buy Nothing Day (BND).
The famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) Adbuster's Magazine and the first Buy Nothing Day were both started by a man named Kalle Lasn, an advertising executive turned anticonsumerist activist. He produced the ad that the networks wouldn't run. He tried to buy air time for it over and over, but was turned down, with remarks to the effect that "there's no law that we have to" and "it's in opposition to the current economic policy of the United States."
"I get a creepy sense of déjà vu listening to remarks like that. I was born in Estonia, where for 50 years during the Soviet era people were not allowed to speak up against the government," says Kalle.
If you believe that people have the right to make decisions based on information instead of propaganda; if you believe that overconsumption is selfish; if you believe that shopping can become a compulsive disorder and if you believe that it is the vehicle for getting one deeper and deeper in debt, then please do participate.
It's easy. Simply stay home, buy nothing at all. Don't go shopping. Don't buy anything. If you work, take your lunch instead of buying it. Take a snack if you usually buy one, a thermos of coffee, a thermos of tea. If you can, walk to work instead of buying gas or a bus ticket. Don't run to the grocery store for milk and bread... find a way to do without - just for 24 hours. Make bread instead. Drink water.
Of course, mainstream news organizations are typically contemptuous of BND and the tone of the writing reflects this. Considering the advertising revenue for newspapers is 50% to 70% of their income, it's not surprising. Here are some quotes from The Washington Post (subscription required). Note also the suggestion that online shopping isn't real shopping and therefore is safely exempt from BND.
Buy Nothing Day is a 13-year-old observance in the same vein as tree-hugging or World Bank-bashing, though not as widely known, because its organizers hate advertising, too. Promulgated by the Internet and word of mouth, Buy Nothing Day is a non-acquired taste....
Buy Nothing Day coincides each year with Fur Free Friday, giving Tom and Cheryl Kucsera of Silver Spring a chance to buy nothing and scare those who might buy fur....
Though not formally observant, he typically buys nothing at this time every year. Except, he explained, "Full disclosure . . . . The iron broke," he said, so he was headed to Hecht's for a new one. [Wordlackey note: An iron was an emergency purchase?] "But that's it," he insisted. He will buy the iron, go straight home and buy books for everyone on the Web, "where they'll even ship them," he said....
Jerry Holm, 50, an Arlington resident, sat at the bar. "I am anti-shopping," Holm said. He buys what he needs online, and "I'm pretty much against shopping on any day, but especially this day."