You aren't just what you eat — you're what you buy, too! Nike shoes, Calvin Klein underwear, Lexus SUV's — brand names matter. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, how stuff replaced religion. Also, one scholar says Americans aren't materialistic enough. And the overspent American, broke and in debt on $100,000 a year.
James Twitchell is the author of "Lead Us into Temptation: The Triumph of American Materialism." He tells Steve Paulson that buying things has replaced religion as the most meaningful thing in our society, and that this is a good thing. He thinks a society based on materialism is no worse than one based on religion or blood lines.SEGMENT 2:
Douglas Rushkoff is a media consultant and professor of Virtual Culture at NYU. He tells Jim Fleming that modern merchants excel at coercion and use a myriad of techniques to get us to spend money. His new book is "Coercion: Why We Listen to What 'They' Say." Also, Nature writer Jennifer Price tells Judith Strasser how the advertising industry co-opts our vision of nature. Price's book is "Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America.SEGMENT 3:
Lawrence Weschler writes for the New Yorker and is the author of "Boggs: A Comedy in Values." Boggs is the artist who paints reproductions of paper money and tries to get merchants to accept them. The art world loves him; the Secret Service wants to lock him up for counterfeiting. Weschler and Boggs tell Steve Paulson what Boggs' work is all about. Also, Vince Passaro was bombarded with hate mail after he wrote an article for Harper's Magazine ("Who'll Stop the Drain?", August, 1998 issue) explaining how he can't get by in New York on a hundred thousand dollars a year. Passaro talks with Judith Strasser about the article and the vehement public reaction to it.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 99-07-18-A.
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