September 30, 2015 |
I ENJOYED having the pope in Philadelphia because he seems unafraid to confront the evils of consumerism, violence, poverty and even the scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church in recent decades. He genuinely seems to be a nice guy - a grandfatherly type. I could see him dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans reading bedtime stories to children in a Norman Rockwell painting. He seems to take it in stride that he's the head of a 1.2 billion-member church. As I looked at the coverage of his visit to America, however, it seemed that my media colleagues were a bit awestruck.
June 10, 2014 |
A short list of references that date Eric Bogosian's 1990 Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll includes Phil Donahue, Dan Quayle, NutraSweet, famine in Ethiopia, and talk of microwave ovens as something new. Only the mention of Vanna White retains any cultural currency. And yet Plays and Players' fun, engaging production uses the 80-minute piece as a continuing indictment of consumerism and hypocrisy that dates the work in a much different fashion. Bogosian's hyper-masculine one-man show originally contained 15 male characters.
July 27, 2012 |
A FEW YEARS AGO, filmmaker/photographer Lauren Greenfield took a picture of a rich lady's purse that ended up hailed by Time magazine as one of the best photos of the year. The purse belonged to a woman named Jackie Siegel, who mentioned that she was in the process of building a Versailles-inspired home that would be the biggest house in America — 90,000 square feet. That's the house, not America. "I knew that was a movie I wanted to make," said Greenfield, who is also in the midst of an ongoing photography project aimed at wealth and consumerism during what she considered the country's new Gilded Age. She persuaded Jackie and husband David (a real estate mogul)
December 7, 2010
THE OTHER day, while shopping for jackets for my youngest daughters, I noted that one of my favorite department stores was a big disappointment with its preholiday sales. Instead of the carefully displayed, high-quality items that used to be the hallmark of that store, it was packed with cheap items much less substantial than their usual fare. But I knew the sad truth that many retailers engage in this type of marketing to capitalize on the Christmas shopping season. They ignore the fact that some consumers are still looking for quality merchandise, and may not realize that by lowering their standards, those quality-seekers might not return when the holiday season ends.
April 16, 2010 |
"We're going to do some damage in this town," David Duchovny merrily declares to his beautiful wife, daughter, and handsome son as their gleaming SUV rolls up behind the big moving truck in the driveway of their new McMansion. And damage they do - but mostly to themselves - in The Joneses , an overobvious and underwhelming satire about American consumerism run amok. For all its timely allusions to living beyond one's means - to credit card debt, mortgage foreclosures, and financial ruin - writer/director Derrick Borte's film fails to add anything new, or illuminating, to the Great Recession debate.
November 27, 2009 |
Not everyone will be out and about today to buy and revel in one of the biggest-selling retail days of the year. Instead, some may observe "Buy Nothing Day," a day of activism for the anti-consumerism crowd, who oppose what they say is the massive consumption that Black Friday promotes. Although there are no planned "Buy Nothing Day" events in Philadelphia, there are scheduled activities set for many cities worldwide, including Oklahoma City, Kyoto, Japan, and Minneapolis, where organizers plan to screen the Morgan Spurlock documentary "What Would Jesus Buy?"
December 28, 2008
Objective review It never hurts to fantasize in times of crisis. In the 1993 film Dave, the president's double, in an attempt to prevent service cuts, recruits an objective financial analyst to review the numbers. Relentless pork surgery yields a budget that cuts costs but not services. A similar initiative here might well reveal alternatives to closing libraries. Can the "Next Great City" shut down vital connection centers before exhausting every possible measure? No doubt Mayor Nutter would embrace less wrenching austerity measures.
December 19, 2008
IHAVE RECENTLY come to discover that my academic advancements are being limited as a result of our worsening economy. I am currently a student at one of the most populated and diverse universities in the country and I am becoming increasingly displeased with the amount of privileges being revoked due to the limits on our economy. I more than understand that our country is in a time of economic crisis, and with that said, my problem lies in the severe prioritizing issues of Americans.
February 21, 2008 |
The play Affluenza! is all about money, fully written in rhyming iambic pentameter, as in moo/LAH moo/LAH moo/LAH moo/LAH moo/LAH. The story's impossibly rich dad has scads of it. His avaricious, ethically empty son can't wait to stuff his own accounts with it. His scorned ex-wife considers it hers. And his little-girl mistress may be after it, so sonny-boy can't take chances. It's amusing throughout in Tom Quinn's staging at Montgomery Theater in Souderton, where Quinn is artistic director.
May 4, 2006 |
George Saunders' fiction is so twisted that sometimes it even shocks the man who wrote it. "I'll be reading the earlier stories to a crowd," he says, "and if I haven't read them in a while, I'm often struck by how sick they are. " His new short-story collection, In Persuasion Nation, is another blast of savage Swiftian satire, a vision of an America well past its expiration date, of a society marinating in rancid consumerism, marketing doubletalk,...