The July issue of Café is a timely reminder for me. The Rev. Julia Seymour writes in this month’s issue, “We live in a cargo culture–a cargo cult that worships newness, cheapness, and disposability. Visible in commercials and print advertising, we are constantly confronted with messages about our worth, our abilities, and our image.”
Yesterday I learned that I was pre-approved to buy a new sporty hatchback. Currently my husband and I own a car that has been paid off for six years with over 180K miles on it. And although she has been banged up from city living and parking, she works. Plus, since she’s a little bit rusty and a little bit rock ‘n roll, I never worry about being carjacked.
The reality is that she is nearing the end of her life (and clutch), and we will have to find a replacement. But the joy of driving (as promised in the car ad) is tempered by my fear of paying off a large debt over the next few years.
So, today, as much as I want to throw caution to the wind and purchase a car that is beyond my means, I may have to resist cargo culture and buy something in my price range. Perhaps rather than looking for happiness with a car purchase, I can remember to be thankful for what I do have.
Do you think we live in a cargo culture? Have you been tempted to buy things out of want instead of need?
Elizabeth McBride is the director for intergenerational programs and editor of Cafe.