Feb 23 2010

KPFK Fund Drive – Day 22

Feature Stories | Published 23 Feb 2010, 10:44 am | Comments Off on KPFK Fund Drive – Day 22 -

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Shop ‘Til You Drop: The Crisis of Consumerismshop til you dropA new study by scientists at the University of Chicago is looking for a correlation between childhood obesity and television advertising. The federally funded study is the first attempt to investigate whether the barrage of television advertising of food influences children’s eating habits. The same researchers previously found that 98% of food ads viewed by children from 2-11 years of age, were for foods high in fat, sugar, and salt. There is growing concern that the influence of advertising on adults and children has a negative impact in terms of physical, mental, and financial health. Today we spend the hour looking at how corporate marketing over the past two decades has created a society whose children grow up to be better consumers than citizens, and whose adults are obsessed by materialism and consumerism. A brand new documentary, not yet released on home video, called Shop ‘Til You Drop: The Crisis of Consumerism, takes aim at “the high-stress, high-octane pace of fast-lane materialism,” and “helps us make sense of the economic turbulence of the moment, providing an unflinching, riveting look at the relationship between the limits of consumerism and our never-ending pursuit of happiness.”

Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood

Today’s kids are advertised to almost from the time they are born with market researchers finding that even six month old infants have the ability to recognize and distinguish between brands and logos. Since the 1980s all regulations on advertising to children were dropped with the result that today hundreds of billions of dollars are spent yearly by parents for clothing, toys, gadgets, food, and even cars that their kids’ demand. A new documentary called Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood, examines how children are relentlessly exposed to commercials almost every where they look and listen, at the store, at home, at school, through their phones, and in the car and school bus. An entire field of marketing called youth marketing, has employed advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to transform American children into one of the most powerful and profitable consumer demographics in the world.

Century of the Self

How did the US financial system become a largely consumer economy? It’s a fascinating story that has its roots in the fallout from FDR’s New Deal and the rise of the Public Relations Industry. It’s a story about how Americans were manipulated to shop based on desire rather than need, a concept pioneered by a man most of us have never heard of: Edward Bernays, the father of the PR industry, and nephew of Sigmund Freud, the founder of the field of psychoanalysis. Today we’ll hear that story through BBC documentary film maker, Adam Curtis, whose 4 hour film, The Century of the Self, explores the growth of the mass-consumer society in the West. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?. According to Adam Curtis, “This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy.”

Thank you Gifts:

Consuming Kids – $120
Century of the Self – $90
Shop ‘Til You Drop – $100

Commercial-free DVD pack (all three of the above) – $300

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