30 November 2010 § 1 Comment
Anybody else feel nauseated at seeing the Lexus commercials? Where a spouse goes out of his or her way to create a giant box or a giant stocking to cover the brand new Lexus sitting in the driveway. A box that, by itself, would be out of my price range.
The turning of my stomach – as those who know me will already understand – is not that we’re ignoring the “reason for the season,” a euphemism usually used to refer to Christian values. (Ignore that it was originally a pagan holiday appropriated by early Christians.) Though in fact a new Lexus might be a tighter fit into the eye of a needle than even a camel, there are plenty of Christian apologetics that allow the fervent believer to maintain their superficial lifestyle in any number of ways. In fact, I do not begrudge anybody buying a Lexus who can afford a Lexus (based on their relative income, nearly everybody will splurge now and then). Yes, the rampant consumerism – especially the excessive consumption of luxury goods in these lean times – is ugly; but we see it annually during this season and, besides, each luxury item purchased supports the kind of jobs needed to turn around the economy.
So what is it that makes me ill when seeing one of Lexus’s commercials? Perhaps green with envy? Perhaps the mistrust I have toward the rich? Perhaps a pervasive cynicism?
Or perhaps a sense of guilt. Not because I want a Lexus, but quite the opposite: I want to do something of value for this world. And the uncomfortable juxtaposition of the commercial immediately after CNN’s report on a female police chief killed in Mexico and a pair of kidnapping at a Mexican university. A day after hearing a Bosnian friend recount his experiences growing up during the war years. A few days after finishing a novel set in the Dominican Republic during the brutal Trujillo Era.
Besides a vague discomfort from watching a television ad, what good am I doing in this world?