Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

LOCAL Commentary :: Arts & Culture

Happy Buy Nothing Day!

It's Buy Nothing Day in Santa Cruz and all around the world. In celebration today, go out and enjoy the surf on this stormy day; check out Big Basin State Park; go kayaking in Elkhorn Slough; or, if it's raining, go see the Long Marine Lab. Above all, avoid those bastions of brazen corporate culture cookie-cutting, such as Capitola Mall. IF you do go, however, be sure to let em know that it IS Buy Nothing Day and that they need to be delivered from American Shopping Sleeping Sickness!
Click on image for a larger version

"Only in Santa Cruz..."

An original and not for sale at a corporate outlet.
The Revolution of Exalted Embarrassment for Buy Nothing Day

And so the Revolution of Exalted Embarrassment begins. The silence of the products, the deep put-on of the products, is no longer the monarch before which we grab and swipe and save and spend. In fact we are belly-laughing profoundly. We are watching the amazed wandering away of our hands. Our consumerized gestures have had some kind of century storm blow through them. We’re just NOT BUYING. And why aren’t we buying? Because YOU, CHILDREN, YOU STOPPED ME. And I am from the Church of the Necessary Interruption and I am returning the favor. I break you from your mindless fondling of the bottle of something or other that you thought you would buy, you look up, giggling, perhaps nauseous, then you pull away from the product. Can we even remember what that product was? It was powerful and silent, and introduced to us by happy famous faces along the walls of the streets.

Can I tell you what that product was doing to you? It protruded itself into your hands, sexual contact from a science fiction world that is ruled by only one bewildering value: per-share return to distant investors. But for you and me—that DO-I-BUY-IT? MOMENT is the last chance for change, the stress fracture in the commodity wall, the nearly invisible actual voting booth of America—and the only glimpse we’ll get of revolution when revolution is not yet content for a product called Revolution. Amen?

And we back away. Carefully we edge away from the predator’s glossy eye, from the commercial hologram, from the great organization chart of averaged desire. Yes, this is the day our shopping stopped in Aisle F. Back near the mousse gels. Back in the instant soup. Back in the uranium depleted bullets. We don’t say, "Today is a good day to die." We say, "Today is a good day NOT TO BUY!" Oh, It Is Buy Nothing Day In America! And the Rumsfeld’s of retail don’t know how to scramble their jets as the post-consumptive children walk slowly off the pavement. And we’re not just discussing a boycott here; we’re talking about all the rest of our lives, the sensuous continuum beyond shopping. Not buying is the Practice, now where is the Temple?

As the artist formerly known as Jesus once said, "Our body is God’s Temple, which he hath created." As the poet Robert Creeley once said, "The Plan is the Body. The Plan is the Body." As Emma Goldman once said, "Love is the Law." As Jimmy Swaggart once said on his knees with his aghast wife staring at him in the front pew, "Oh! God Almighty! Oh! Please! Dear! I’m so sorry, Dear!" And as the advertisers said when the doughboys returned from The Great War, "You need to deodorize your armpits or you won’t ascend to THE LAND OF LARGE WHITE APPLIANCES.

Buy Nothing and you get some incredible THING. And it’s FREE. Back away from the Shopocalypse and you are not merely spared. You’ve got your body back. That’s where the fun starts, my children. That’s the SPRING BREAK where banned books fly again in great flocks, the libraries solemnly removing the fig leaves and refusing the Homeland spies a computer read-out of our curiosity. Getting our body back? HERITAGE FOUNDATION SPY READING THIS - GO AHEAD! MASTURBATE TO THIS PARAGRAPH! This is the love of life that is a couple miles beyond the strategic atmospheres in big boxes and the counter-help terrified into dullness. We become, what?—Unbuying! Damn! We BUY NOTHING. We cause the cigar smoke of CEO’s from Bechtel and Wal Mart to writhe into looming shapes. It is THE WRITHING ON THE WALL. "Oh! Harry! Have you read this morning’s Barrons?—The shoppers are no longer shopping for some reason. It says here that nobody in Tuscaloosa, Alabama has bought anything for days." It’s happening in Perth! It happened down in Queens! Now they’re not buying out in Houston, or down in New Orleans!

There is the backing away from the product, that’s one thing. We hope that we still have the privilege. Being blown off the oil rig, drowning in a petro-chemical lake, being PUSHED OFF THE PRODUCT, that is our lesson from the wind, the waves and the fire. Consumerism’s convenience must wreak its violence, its death by gas and oil. The Shopocalypse is right on schedule, Katrina is only a larger version of the whores and devils that they didn’t want to notice in New Orleans. If we keep shopping then Katrina and Rita will become just two more products on the shelf, costing $300 billion. And since American products never have a past, never have a cause—these storms, final proofs that global boiling is really here, become only products whose advertising campaigns opened badly. The marketers are astonished that we’re still buying, even as the waters rise. We are struggling to awake from a society-wide hypnosis—but soon, soon we will shout: NO! WE STOPPED SHOPPING!

What IS the Shopocalypse? The word Revolution has been trademarked by Nike. That’s the Shopocalypse. And the word God is copyrighted by Fox News. And the phrase "Hi—are you hungry?" is owned by McDonalds. I’m not kidding. That’s the Shopocalypse. It’s the voice-over actor in a Starbucks ad who realizes that somewhere in his air-tight sound booth there is hot water that makes the wind scream. It’s the American public that can’t look at an unnatural disaster without the sentimental response of 9/11 or a bad war, or simply, a purchase of the pop emotion and strictest depoliticized compliance with the no-bid contractors of the Shopocalypse, who wait on higher ground for the dying to get off the news.

In the Church of Stop Shopping we believe that "In The Beginning Was The Body." We believe that the people who translate the Bible so that the opening words are "In The Beginning Was the Word" are trying to reverse life for financial gain. They want their fine print at the creation and the big bang at the end, where they can control it. Come ON! They are snake-oil salesmen posing with the bleeding Christ. Actually, "The Word" came near "The End," several billion years after the body was dedicated to some very beautiful grunting. Words. Children, on your Buy Nothing Day, if we do manage to back away from the product, we will be rewarded by such words as FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY and AMERICA. Now—raw unmediated words, coming straight into your body, this may be an upsetting thing. We must help each other with our remedial education, learning these new old words. Some among us will think that the sensuous honesty is so wonderful—what is more sexy than a real vowel coming up through? - the eeeeeeee in Freedom and Democracy and American vibrating our bones? Some of us will reach for the plastic because we think, of course, ‘I’m having a sensation, where do I pay?’

Now the long-awaited Rapture of Consumption is underway. It’s THE SHOPTURE. The Shopocalypse lifts the fundamentalist bargain-hunters up into the air, up into the super mall of Eternal Convenience. There are thousands of chain stores in these clouds, and even breathing is on credit. The official plan of the Shopocalyptic executives is that the Katrinas and Ritas and weapons of mass destruction will hellishly attack those of us who remain on the ground. They are "shoptured up" and we have buildings and airliners and various tsunamis falling on us because we walked away from the WHITE SALE. They are arranging for the economy to gather in the Chosen People communities under their domes in Arizona, where even the electricity is "Saved."|

But in OUR theological year in the Church of Stop Bombing Weddings, our high holy celebration is Buy Nothing Day. And with it comes this responsibility: As we witness these hapless consumers vortexing straight up into their second America, we have a duty to grab their ankles. That’s what we must do. We shall pull these consumers down, screaming from their advertopia. They will think we’re devils, of course—they will think we are a lot of things. But be gracious. Simply say, "Hello, we are from the Church of Disturb the Customers. Your shopping is the End of the World.

LET US PRAY. We ask for the blessing of the Fabulous Unknown. LET US DRIVE THE MONEY-CHANGERS OUT OF OUR BODY! We can handle the complexity! Yes we can be trusted to forego the mediation of a celebrity or graphic schtick selling us something that presumes to give us PERMISSION TO ASK OUR OWN BODY FOR A DANCE. I’m so ready for the Revolution of Exalted Embarrassment. PUT THE ODD BACK IN GOD! Let us become so strange that we become normal, normal being defined as the ability to sense that we should not buy something whose purchase would start a Blackhawk’s ignition beyond the sandy horizon. Let us see into our own pleasure enough to sense when a product might kill. Peace-a-lujah!


New Comments are disabled, please visit


Re: Happy Buy Nothing Day!

Guess what you didnt win. People will not stop buying things so get over it

Re: Happy Buy Nothing Day!

The thing is, it is not about winning and losing. Of course people are still going to continue to buy things! However, this is about educating people and letting them know that they are not crazy for wanting something more than an object bound between a stiff plastic container. It's about giving people an escape hatch to the mind-numbing, brainwashing messages of consumption we are submersed in, 24/7.

You can buy all the crap you want and it still won't make you happy. You can also spend all day in the beautiful outdoors and that won't necessarily make you happy, but it can make you healthier and that can translate into a great sense of balance and well-being. For me, it feels good to know that I'm reducing my consumption and therefore contributing to the sustainability of our ecosystem. We can't escape it. We are all part of it and dependent upon it. Why keep fighting it??


No events for this day.

view calendar week
add an event


Media Centers

Syndication feeds

Account Login

This site made manifest by dadaIMC software