Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

iReligion 3.12

What I’ve suspected for years is now official – Apple is now…

a religion.

A group of neuroscientists has scanned the brains of Apple maniacs and found that their brains react to the sight of an ipod or an ipad the same way the brains of devout Christians react to images of Jesus on the cross. I call it “iReligion 3.12” because it’s been around for quite a while, though until now undiscovered by science.

This has been pretty obvious for a long time. Ever try to tell an Apple person that an Apple product is not so easy to use or is flawed in any tiny way, whatsoever? Better bring your boxing gloves.

I think that you can extend this definition of a religion much more broadly that just to Apple-maniacs. I think the same reasoning (or lack thereof) excretes a species I will call “brand-o-philes” into the world. Brand-o-philes are people who worship a brand name, like Nike or Adidas, or even a team, like the Cowboys or the Lakers. As I have said in a previous post, these are the elements of fake individuality.

People love to put stickers on their cars – actually PAYING to advertise some corporation’s wares. How many times have I seen a giant Nike “swoosh” sticker in the back window of a pickup truck? How many times have I seen a plain-old t-shirt made to look “cool” by the word, “Abercrombie” or “Hollister?”

But many people go way beyond trying to look cool. They believe so thoroughly in this fake individuality that they convince themselves that this is a form of expression, when it’s not expressing anything but the almost random choice of who or what to follow like a sheep.

But they will defend their brands furiously – sometimes even willing to get into fist-fights over which team is “better”, even if neither team has won a game in the past month.

People feel like winners when their team wins. It’s a sort of vindication for “sticking with the team” through bad seasons in previous years. They feel like winners when they wear the latest styles, attracting the admiring gazes of other fashion-victims. They feel like winners when they drive a new, shiny car down the street. They feel like winners when they outwardly imitate or show allegiance to winners.

And of course I am not innocent in all this. I have proudly worn my Boston Bruins, pro-weight hockey jersey to many a hockey game, emblazoned with the name of one of my all-time favorite players, Ray Bourque, #77. But I draw the line at advertising. I’ve even gone as far as to blacken out logos on clothes or hats because I refuse to advertise for free. Hell, some companies I wouldn’t advertise if they paid me!

Here is a list of our country’s top religions:

1. materialism

2. winner-worship

3. brand-worship

4. celebrity-worship

5. worship of shiny things

What it all adds up to is that we worship coolness and we worship image. We want to look and seem cool, but we also want to FEEL cool. We want to become the “Third Person Singular” as Don DeLillo coined in his novel, Americana. What Delillo meant was not the pronoun we were taught in English class (he, she, it) but the “sublime other” – whose image we long to inhabit. “To consume in America is not to buy; it is to dream.”

And there we are – lost sheep, dreaming and pretending that we are or will be the eagles soaring overhead.

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

Tom also posts on thrustblog.blogspot.com

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7 thoughts on “iReligion 3.12

  1. Great post. My mother-in-law also questions why we wear ‘brand’ names and pay for the privilege of advertizing them.

    I do, however, enjoy wearing a shirt of my local coffee shop, bar etc. I feel good advertizing them – they need it and I am happy to help.

    As for my soccer jersey – don’t even go there!

    And blessed be the prophet Jobs.

    Alon
    http://www.alonshalev.com/

  2. Great! I love the words “ibelieve” and “brand-o-philes”.

    I’m a Packer brand-o-file(s). Just can’t help myself…Superbowl champs, baby!

    Nice post-
    Roger.

  3. Thanks guys. Now excuse me while I genuflect before my iphone. (don’t want to anger the Great Jobs)

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