A Book of Emptiness, Indeed

“Consumer” talk started with capitalists, for obvious reasons. Democratic voices, alas, have never caught on to the important prejudice inherent in such a thing.

To this very day.

Consider this item from today’s New York Times Book Review:

Lest you doubt that the work reviewed, Ruth Ozeki’s new novel, the unintentionally comically titled The Book of Form and Emptiness, is really as bad as this headline suggests it might be, here’s what a Google Books (Amazon having done away with this crucial feature in its drive to herd people into its atrocious Kindle DRM prison) content search reveals:

Excerpts from The Book of Form and Emptiness

So, this is a book about how “the American consumer,” high on “the religious ideology of consumer capitalism,” is reproducing a “crazy” world by clinging to “our fucked-up consumer culture.” Ozeki must imagine that, by placing it at the bottom of a trippy, personalized, magical-realist tale, she is somehow making such stale, unreflective, apolitical overgeneralization fresh, sharp, and liberating.

But, here at TCT, we have to ask, again: With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Ruth Ozeki seems like a lovely person and is certainly a very fine writer. But, no matter how you package it, more standard-issue “consumer” claptrap simply won’t do. There is no such thing as “consumer capitalism,” “consumer cuture,” “consumerism,” — or, for that matter, “consumers.”

Nobody who misses such elementary facts is going to do anything but sow even more confusion in our reeling, careening, truth-skirting global society.

We have met the enemy, and it is NOT us.

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