Saturday, March 22, 2008

Culture Consumer

We live in a consumer culture. This is a problem. But what does it mean when you obsessively begin to consume culture? I love to read. I love to watch movies. I love music. I am one of those people who is obsessive about discovering new bands, reading as many books as possible, and watching any movies someone tells me I will like, in an attempt to somehow be aware of everything and anything that is...well, I hate to say it, but cool. I'm that guy. Which means that the I simultaneously love and loathe the Internet.

Every day, I am inundated with thousands of new articles, blog posts, and recommendations. I am constantly consuming, trying to organize this information for myself, and also to share it with those whom I think would also appreciate it. My Netflix queue is almost 200 movies long, and I've had the same two discs for over a month now because I just don't have time to devote two uninterrupted hours to a movie. But every time I read a movie review or hear someone talking about a new movie they've just seen, I click over and add it to my queue. It's the same with books--though my bookshelves at home are stuffed with books I have yet to read, not to mention the reading I've got to do for classes, I am compulsive about scanning book reviews and author blogs, adding books to my Goodreads "To-read" shelf. And don't even get me started on music. Since I can't listen to music on my computer at work, I have been starring the audio blogs I want to go back to download mp3's of new bands I want to hear--but do I ever go back and actually listen to them? Sadly, not very often. I also favorite songs and bands I like on Pandora, but am too poor to actually purchase new albums on iTunes.

Are all of these "to read", "to watch", "to listen" lists adding to stress of my already massive daily "to-do" list? Does my anxiety grow in proportion to the number of unread items in my Google reader (currently 611)? Maybe, but I can't seem to's a compulsion. And where would we be without our compulsions?

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