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Devra Torres

7 Quick Takes: Consumerism and its Discontents

Nov. 24, 2012, at 2:22pm

 (Yes, it's Saturday.  I lose track of time when long-lost adult children come to visit. But I wanted to get in on Jen Fulweiler's weekly blogger tradition.  You can, too, if you like: see Jen's instructions at the very end of this post.)

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As my philosophy professor, the late lamented Dr. William Marra, used to say,

“Money is happiness in the abstract.”

He was right: if we dedicate Black Friday to commerce,

it’s not so much because we want this particular HDTV or that particular vegan leather handbag: it’s because money seems to bestow the power to be happy in whatever way we might turn out to desire.  It

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Devra Torres

Kierkegaard Goes to Walmart

Jun. 7, 2012, at 11:55pm

I've never lived in the Third World, unless you count that one-year stint in Jerusalem when I was three (a subject for another day).  

I have very little first-hand experience of real poverty.

I did live in and around Barcelona for ten years—not conditions of misery by a long shot.  Coming from America, though, I imagined I was enduring hardship.  Only a few stores had fresh milk.  My American pizza pan wouldn’t fit inside my little Spanish oven.  Apartments were tiny, by my standards, and so were refrigerators, washing machines and cars (not to mention people, and families).  Life was lived on a small (if much more elegant) scale.

I got used to that.

But what really struck me, every

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