The Gustavian Weekly

Dear Materialism | The Gustavian Weekly

By Kevin Matuseski Staff Columnist | December 12, 2008 | Opinion

Dear Materialism,

I am on to you, dude. We are getting close to Christmas time, and I am aware of your plans. I refuse to let you tell people, “If you buy a Hummer, everyone will bow down to you,” or, “Nintendo? Get with the times; Playstation 3 is where it’s at!” Stop right now. You have turned this country into a giant money-spending machine.

I saw what you did on Black Friday, your day of rampage. I almost threw up when I saw you drive people to take a human life for the sake of your pleasures. You thought you could get away with it, but CNN told me everything. What does Wal-Mart have that is more valuable than human life? You have gone too far, my foe!

Materialism, it is your fault I spent my last paycheck on a state-of-the-art back massager, it is your fault my ’91 Ford Tempo is no longer a sweet ride and it is your fault I have trouble seeing the television unless it is bigger than 57 square inches.

Everyone seems to enjoy the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The honorable people of Whoville might say, “We don’t need all those material pleasures to have a merry Christmas.” Unfortunately, you fire right back with your smarty-pants comment, “Well, I bet that film would make a great stocking stuffer, huh?” No! We will not give in to your tricks.

The time has come to declare war on your trickery. What better time to do it than while our economy is failing? The American Research Group let me in on a little secret. Last year, people planned on spending $849 on Christmas, and this year, the average person’s planned spending is only half that. This year, we will prove our happiness will not decrease with our spending. We will rise again like the Whos of Whoville.

I refuse to let your ideals throw my mind into a great depression. My hero Henry David Thoreau will back me up, for he once wrote, “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.” I, personally, feel rich when I pass up your name-brand shoes. You have got to start telling people how many lives we make miserable by giving into your selfish ideals. I do not believe you when you tell me having a Nike Swoosh on my shoe is worth people slaving away under miserable sweatshop conditions.

Your ways swindle us into thinking we need to buy our happiness. Must I win someone’s love with the money I spend? You sure make it seem that way. I have spotted your presence all over society. Watching your De Beers diamond commercials, I am disgusted. Yeah … right … I need to buy my girlfriend a super expensive diamond; otherwise, the guy who “went to Jared” might steal her away. I don’t think so, bub. Alicia Keys scoffs at the people who “need three dozen roses, and that’s the only way to prove you love them.” Ms. Keys and many others cast a keen eye on your brainwashing tactics.

OK, I admit that as adults we are old enough to decide for ourselves whether or not we should buy into your offerings. But it really clogs my chimney when you start targeting children. You have even infused your evil spirit into my sister’s Barbie dolls. “I like shopping,” she says. You are conditioning our young to calculate how many Hot Wheels cars they can buy before they even know how to tie their shoes. There is a website now called where you are encouraging us to buy our little ones cutesy Disney cell phones. You force us to raise materialistic children.

I know we live in a slightly more materialistic world than the hunters and gatherers. At certain times, I can relate to your values, and I confess that when I wake up on Christmas morning, the sight of Santa’s contribution fills me with joy. It is fun to give and receive gifts, but we must not get carried away. How about you ease up a little and promote other values. I hear love is a pretty sweet gift to receive on Christmas (it’s a little abstract, but hey, it’s free).

OK, in all seriousness, Mr. Materialism, ease up a bit. This Christmas we will ignore your not-so-subliminal messages and appreciate the finer things in life. Maybe you should channel your energies elsewhere or create a new campaign. Start convincing people to buy food for the hungry, or maybe encourage us to buy a gift for a kid who usually receives few or no presents on Christmas. With all the misery you have brought over the years, you owe us a little happiness.