Culture Consumed with Consumption

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People consume things daily–knowledge, information, daily grocery store purchases–and we are all consumers. Our lives are partially driven by our need for consumption. But, can this preoccupation with things in a consumer culture be too much? We all love food. I love food. You love food. My dog loves food. The ant crawling on my window sill is probably looking for food. Food is good; we need to consume it to survive, but could modern American culture be way too obsessed with food? A preoccupation with anything is never good.  In Nigel Barber’s article, “Top Reasons Americans Are Food Obsessed”, Barber writes:

“When nations get to be wealthy enough that most individuals are well fed, interest in food typically declines as people expand their horizons through reading, the arts, entertainment and so forth. They cultivate their minds and pay less attention to their stomachs. All of that has changed in recent years. As a nation, we have become more and more obsessed with food.”

Do you agree with Barber? Do you think that Americans are obsessed with food? If so, where do you think this tendency to place our emotions on our eating habits comes into play? Is this why obesity and other health problems are an issue? Society focuses so strongly on food that people are becoming famous for their eating habits, or their food creations. For instance, The Guy who Survived on Pizza for 25 Years , now has his own documentary and is famous for having a complete obsession with pizza–his fridge is stocked full with the item–he only eats cheese pizza and claims to never eat pizza. Surprisingly, this so-called “Pizza King” is still healthy, according to his doctor, but is his obsession with one food? The main existence of food is to provide sustenance. What else does it provide and is this a beneficial thing or is it detrimental?

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4 thoughts on “Culture Consumed with Consumption”

  1. Great blog post! I read Barber’s article and I agree that Americans are obsessed with food. I believe there are more reasons than he provides that explains peoples’ obsession with foods and what some would call America’s ‘Obesity Problem.’ Barber believes food obsession stems from lack of nutrition from constant snacking and consuming junk food , and other issues arising from not consuming a healthy diet. I believe food obsession comes stems from different reasons for every individual. Some may have emotional issues that use food as a comfort. Others may over snack for reasons , as Barber proposes. I believe this is why obesity is a problem hard to diagnose in America, Our nation is so large it is hard to solve a problem where each individual’s solution is as varied as the individual themselves. A single solution cannot be proposed for the general population.
    But I do think food provides other secondary purposes for people that sustain this ‘food obsession’ fallen into. I believe these secondary purposes people find in food is what makes food so detrimental.

  2. yes, we are driven by our need for consumption. Unfortunately, this is the way society in set up. Even when an individual have it all, its never enough. The desire to have thing even when we really don’t need it. Like cell phones are designed to keep you coming back as a customer. For example, have you ever noticed after a certain amount of time we are forced to buy a new phone because, it no longer functions well. This is one of many examples why people are constantly driven as consumers.

  3. Live to eat or eat to live? Your intriguing post reminds me of the movie, Over The Hedge where humans have overtaken the natural habitat of animals. So the animals are forced to scrounge for food in garbage cans. I found a great clip here:
    Yes, I believe most Americans are obsessed with food and go on quests to find tastes to their liking, for pleasure not to survive.

    In Fact, the biological make up of humans were never intended to congest cow’s milk or any other milk than that of the woman’s breast milk but we have adapted. Well, some of us have and thus the reason for “lactose intolerance” diagnoses. Also, our stomachs were never ‘designed’ to consume the variety of grains today, hence Celiac Disease. Therefore, are we as “healthy” as we think with all of these intolerances and diseases? In your research, I would like to suggest that you dig into human biology, and could even speak with a few biology professors about our stomach design.

    In other words, our stomachs are vastly different than that of a cow, which consumes grass for nutrients. Cows have two stomachs in order to sufficiently break down the glucose and chlorophyll in the grass. There is no possible way that we would ever be able to eat grass because our stomachs cannot break it down. So, what is the difference in the leaves (spices) we use to season our food?

    In addition to cows, birds also have a different biological makeup so they can digest seeds for nutrition. We eat seeds on burger buns, sunflower seeds, etc. It’s particularly that our stomach cannot handle the seeds but it can’t break it down, which causes trouble in the digestive tract (intestines). So, the question lies here…why do we want to consume everything instead of what our bodies are made up to do? Interesting subject and I cannot wait to see the final paper!

  4. I enjoyed reading your post. My first thought was the over-indulgence of class privilege: in “The Hunger Games,” members of the capitol district eat to the verge of sickness, then drink a potion that makes them throw up so that they can eat more. I think that the series, in itself, is a critique of our late capitalist society. Your study of consumption is interesting, especially in looking at compulsive and problematic relations to consumption, in that it’s a timely reminder to consider how we relate to the environment and those about us and in the world abroad. I read somewhere that the United States consumes about 25% of the energy produced globally. That made me think.

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