Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture

Back on the research beat this morning, and blowing through a killer book on spirituality and consumerism by Tom Beaudoin called "Consuming Faith." This shit is delicious. Beaudoin relies heavily on Naomi Klein's important 1999 condemnation of the whole branding/globalization process, "No Logo," and takes it one step further by integrating a theological worldview with Klein's brilliant economic analysis.

Beaudoin's stuff is useful for me in the ways it looks at the underbelly of branding in conjunction with materiality; the ways bodies, real human living breathing bodies, are implicated by commodification, both as victims of abuse at the third-world factories that produce the goods Americans buy at Wal-Mart and Kohl's and Macy's and Bloomingdales, but also the way that identity and personality are trampled on by the increasing ubiquity of brands. There's a massive disconnect right now in the popular "Christian" imagination about economics, a great blindness to the connections between these people who supposedly live a "moral" life (whatever that means, which is usually something about abstinence and no alcohol and Republicanism and homophobia) and the ways our daily economic choices are implicated in what it means to be moral.

Whew. Anyway. I could go on. But sitting here, now, it all makes sense, and I think, geez, no wonder the media doesn't report on this shit. Because if people actually make the connections between the J. Crew shirt they have to have to define themselves as "cool" and "sporty" or "bourgeois" or "preppy" or whatever (instead of doing so without the help of a brand) and the serious human rights violations going on outside of their line of vision, well, wow...things just might change.

Sidenote: "Lush Life" is playing right now...which, if you don't already know it, you should. Go. Now. Soon. "Burning inside my brain..." Ahh, great lyrics!


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