Hipsters Got It:
The capitalism and consumerism that is practiced in this country really is becoming a self-referential bit of a mess. What is being sold and produced, here and abroad, for the masses in America is derived nearly solely of status symbols and affectations. That is the nature of American Capitalism.
The stupid expensive cars. The $100 yoga pants. Iphones and Ipads. McMansions.
All of these things just don't matter to a life well led. What they are is a way of flouting one's self-perceived superiority and "success". The life that folks are leading is a series of purchases required to cobble together a "lifestyle" in order to establish an identity.
Really think about that last sentence. I especially want to you to dwell on the word that defines our society today. Lifestyle. The two roots are obvious enough that I won't belabor them.
Style is the interesting word. There are a whole series of definitions to this monosyllable (though out here in Orygun the word tends toward disyllabic). We have a society whose sole purpose seems to be the generation of and maintenance of the surface and the ephemeral. Education is not about advancing your knowledge, it is about getting sufficient training to allow a future employer to offer you a job. Government is based on spin. Taxpayer revolts are about starving the commons for the sake of the self.
Nearly all of our "culture" is cartoonish. Super-heroes and super-cops fight out in morality plays.
Even our religion is tainted. Super churches spout a creed of capitalism that would make their erstwhile savior rush into the temple to drive out the money changers. Christian tenets such as voluntary poverty and human brotherhood are traded for the latest fashion, a new 4x4 pickup and a hatred of the other.
Our lives have become a fulfillment of the ruling class' wishes for us. We are now consumers. I think that it is time that we woke up to it and stopped feeding the machine. I am trying. Wish me luck.