Part of the responsibility of being an American is being a consumer. That's how capitalism works; people make things, other people buy them, repeat. This peculiar system of consumerism is neither good nor bad. It can be manipulated for good or bad by various people or entities for their own purposes, but the system itself remains neutral.
Right now in America, the system seems driven by youth. Strange things called "demographics" drive decisions at the highest levels of business, which is really pretty silly; why do the desires of tweens shape the business decisions of corporations across the country? Naive, inexperienced consumers who don't even make their own money have forced the world to recognize the talents of the Olsen twins, the vocal stylings of Hilary Duff and the importance of glitter as a fashion necessity. These littlest consumers hold sway over thousands of adults, and they don't even realize it -- but what would happen if these trendmakers were cognizant of their remarkable power?
Anne Elizabeth Moore (pictured), associate publisher of Punk Planet and author of the new book Hey Kidz, Buy This Book! A Radical Primer on Corporate and Governmental Propaganda and Artistic Activism for Short People, seeks not only to awaken the younger set to their latent powers, she's hoping to drive them to develop a sense of responsibility and a conscience, too (just like Uncle Ben did for Spider-Man). Moore lays out the economic reality of the choice target demographic's spending power and then offers ideas for transforming that power from blind consumerism to keen-eyed activism. Chapters cover topics such as effective means of productive self-expression and the proper way to hook up a PA system, and established activists Janeane Garofalo and the Infernal Noise Brigade (www.infernalnoisebrigade.org) offer helpful tips and advice as well.
Moore arrives at Subterranean Books (6275 Delmar Boulevard; 314-862-6100) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28, to read from Hey Kidz! and perhaps inspire a few kids to start thinking about their next purchase. Maybe some blank posterboard and a couple of Sharpies for the upcoming elections might be in order.