978-0-231-11518-6 / 9780231115186

Lead Us Into Temptation


Publisher:Columbia University Press



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About the book:

Is consumerism a spiritual dead end? Isn't it true that mere things can never make us happy? Why, no, says James B. Twitchell, in a sequel of sorts to his popular Adcult USA. We are what we buy, says Twitchell, and we like what we buy. After food and shelter, the next step in the needs hierarchy is self-actualization--and in contemporary society, what better way to self-actualize than to co-opt the mojo of recognizable name brands? The semiotics of purchase are important, he argues: durable goods make us comfortable, provide us with a sense of security in an age when religion no longer works the way it was designed to. The new high priests are celebrities who hawk basketball shoes, cars, telecommunications infrastructures, Carnival cruises, cosmetics, nicotine patches, and medications. Shopping, in this sense, may even be the ultimate act of self-identification with the divine principle. Radical though it may be, the hypothesis of Lead Us into Temptation is strongly supported by the evidence. Never before has the science of selling been so well understood, the market's ability to measure consumer satisfaction so complete. Read Twitchell and weep--or better yet, go shopping. --Patrizia DiLucchio

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