The Middle Children of History

February 11, 2008 at 12:49 am (Consumerism)


In one of his rousing speeches, Brad Pitt’s character in Fight Club says:

“I see all this potential, and I see squandering. An entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off. ”

 The anti-consumerist refrain that runs through this film is incredibly appealing (though living in a dillapidated tenement is not).

 Maybe Tyler Durden is right. Maybe invention is the mother of necessity. Maybe we Americans spend way too much time living as wage slaves in order to scrape together enough stuff to distract us from the truth we dare not face.

 It may do us some good to remember that the American Dream does not come for free. And no, I’m not referring to our boys in uniform who lay it all on the line to ensure our way of life, but to the thousands of people all over the world who have to endure poverty and squalor in order to enable us to have Blackberrys for ourselves and Barbies for our kids.


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