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Consumerist Culture Questions and Answers, Notes, Summary
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I. Answer the following questions briefly
The writer refers to the catchy phrase, “shop till you drop” in an advertisement.
a. What is the meaning intended by the advertisers?
The meaning of this advertisement is that the consumers should shop till they got tired.
b. Why does the writer call this apt and ironic?
Because the media drives mania of mindless consumption that characterizes our lines in the modern age.
c. Which word shows that the writer is condemning consumerism?
The word ‘posh’ shows that the writer is condemning consumerism.
In the very first paragraph, the writer makes it clear that
a. he supports shopping and shopping malls.
b. he is very critical of them.
b) he is very critical of them.
The writer puts Pepsi, Coca Cola and other ‘artificially colored, flavored and sweetened water’ under absolutely unessential to human health and happiness.
a. Do you agree with his view?
b. List any five such articles/gadgets/ food items which your family has been using at home and which are not absolutely essential for your health and happiness.
Tin food, junk food, burger, ice-cream, bakery products which we use at home are not absolutely essential for health and happiness.
What is the success story of Pepsi and Coca-Cola?
Pepsi and Coca-cola are sold in the remotest corner of the world.
The second paragraph ends with “a seemingly never-ending list”. What ‘list’ is the writer talking about?
In the second paragraph, the writer is talking about the necessary goods.
a. What phrase does the writer use in paragraph 3 to refer to the advertisement?
Equally unprecedented in the world’s history is the size of the machinery of persuasion that has been set up in order to generate demand for this profusion.
b. What does an advertisement aim to do?
The aim of the advertisement is to make money.
In the writer’s opinion, shopping has become …………. (complete the sentence)
more than a need.
What thrills the present day Indian shoppers?
Choice thrills the present day Indian shoppers.
What was the ‘dream come true’ for the US returned Indian?
The US returned Indian dreamt that even we should have more than 83 different flavors of ice-cream to choose from, like in America.
In the sentence, “And they take to it like ducks to water” (paragraph 5)
a. Who do ‘they’ refer to?
Upper middle class people.
b. What does ‘it’ refer to?
‘if refers to the new market.
c. What does ‘like ducks to water’ mean?
‘like a duck to water’ means that they have a natural talent of marketing strategies.
Does the writer approve of the attitude of the Indians spoken of in paragraph 5?
a. What is the ‘deep irony’ referred to in paragraph 6?
The deep irony is while pockets of private prosperity are growing, there is an inexorable impoverishment of the resources that belong to the public realm.
b. Substantiate your answer with anyone example from the paragraph.
Consumers might have a wide variety of cars to choose from but the roads are in a bad state.
a. What is the trend referred to in paragraph 6
The trend is to push even the most essential services into the private realm so that some company or others can make a profit on them
b. Who does the trend benefit?
The private realm.
c. What is the impact of the trend on the poor?
The poor are being pushed into becoming consumers of increasingly expensive goods and utilities.
a. What are the advertisers and marketing professionals working hard at?
Working hard to see that even people live at the subsistence level in remote rural pockets are lured and entranced into becoming passive consumers of everything from cola drinks to shampoos.
b. How will it affect our villagers?
All they see is a vast rural market waiting to be opened up for commercial exploitation.
c. What impact will it have on our environment? ‘
The increasing presence of plastic garbage in our rural areas is a clear warning signal. 4
a. What kind of vision do the enthusiasts of the free market economy have for India?
Enthusiastic of this mission of development are dreaming of a day when all of India will look like the limited states.
b. Do you like India to become another U.S? Why? /Why not?
No, because the final confirmation of our reaching the promised land will Come on the day the sheer tonnage of the garbage we throw out-matches the level of the almighty dollar.
c. What negative impact will the free market economy have on our country?
The day will come to face the sheer tonnage of the garbage we throw out.
Why does the writer say that the model of development based on consumerism is suicidal?
The price paid in ecological terms will make it the most suicidal enterprise the human race has ever embarked upon.
What according to the writer is the only way to restore sanity?
The only way to restore sanity is for local communities, co-operatives, civil societies and democratic governments everywhere to take back the autonomy and initiative for their own development which they recently traded away to the giant global business corporation.
As one of the remedies to the mess we have created, the writer suggests a re-awakening. What does he want to reawaken?
There is now a great need to re-awaken the numerous enabling spiritualities and wisdom traditions of the various people of the world.
Go back to the advertiser’s catchy phrase, ‘Shop till you drop’ in the first paragraph.
a. What was the intended meaning of the advertisers?
Consumers’ tendency is to shop till they get exhausted or tired.
b. How does the writer interpret its meaning in the last paragraph?
Consumers have a right to the basic material requirements for a life of dignity. One should turn to the commodities which is very much. required to make their life simple and meaningful.
c. Now explain why the writer calls this apt and ironic.
The writer says this never-ending shopping will buy only superfluous things that destroy ones’ soul. .
Do you like this article? Why? Why not?
Yes, it gives awareness to the consumers to race the mother earth, restoring the sanity, all human beings have right to the basic material requirements for a life of dignity. It is necessary to say “enough” to the merely material then life to be truly meaningful and sustainable.
Read paragraph 4 carefully and match the statements under A with the examples given under B.
|1. Shopping has become more than a need
|I enjoy shopping
|2. It has become an obsessive compulsion over which we have no control
|I spend my weekend evenings
in the nearby Mall
|3. Shopping is an end in itself
|buying additional pairs of branded shoes because they are on 50% sale.
|4. It has become a form of entertainment
|I was so impressed by this latest version of the smartphone that I bought it using my credit card.
1. – (d)
2. – (c)
3. – (a)
4. – (b)
II. Close Study
Read the following extracts carefully. Discuss in pairs and then write the answers to the questions given below:
It is to actualize this vision that ‘ millions of our youth are rushing to get their MBA degrees.
a) What is the vision referred to here?
The vision referred to here is Advanced West.
b) When the vision is actualized what will India be referred to as?
When the vision is actualized India be referred to as a developed country.
c) Is the writer critical of or admiring our youth who are rushing to get their MBA degrees?
The writer is critical of our youth who are rushing to get their MBA degrees.
It is not a wise thing to hand over to businessmen the task of ruling the world as we have just done today.
a) Why shouldn’t the businessmen be given the task to rule the world?
Because businessmen cannot be counted upon to have the wisdom or the will to think of the welfare of
all of humanity leave alone the health of the planet.
b) What are they mainly trained for?
They mainly trained to maximize profits for the corporations ‘ that employ them.
c) According to the writer, which is the way to restore sanity?
The only way to restore sanity is all types of goods to take back the autonomy and the initiative for their own development which they recently traded with the global ‘ business corporation.
III. Paragraph Writing:
Discuss in pairs/groups of 4 each, the answers to the following questions. Note down the important points for each question and then develop the points into one paragraph answers:
Man today is an unstoppable buying machine. Elucidate with examples.
- The market has expanded for consumer goods.
- Vast amounts of money are spent to advertise these consumer goods.
- Shopping has become more than a need.
- India had remained unaffected by all this. Now we find malls all over the country, even in the smaller towns.
Paragraph: The writer brings to the readers to notice their own spending habits. He wants the readers to understand why they are shopping and what are they shopping for. Is there shopping meeting their basic requirements or are they indulging in unnecessary purchases? He holds advertisers and big corporations responsible for creating a tempting market where the consumers become unstoppable buying machines. An example of it would be buying flavored drinks with no nutritive value.
Write a short note on the views expressed by the writer on the tragic comedy of ‘development’. Why does he call it a tragic comedy?
- People are running after something which is totally self-destructive.
- They are being lured by aggressive advertising which is persuading them to become buying machines.
- They want a wide variety of choice in every consumable.
- They want two cars in every garage and tons of garbage like in the West.
Paragraph: Development should mean the overall progress of an economy but with modern consumerism, we see selective development. In a consumer’s personal life, he or she has many options to choose from. But in the public domain, things are still underdeveloped. Roads are bad, public parks are not maintained. These are just a few examples of it.
Do you personally share the concerns raised by the writer here? If ‘yes’, what individual initiative can you take?
- Yes. I do share the concerns of the writer.
- We need not mindlessly ape the West.
- choice is not the most wonderful thing about any product.
- Other concerns like eco-friendliness, bio-degradability, the personal need should matter.
Paragraph: Yes, I share the concerns raised by the writer here. Consumerism has reached a level which is totally mindless and self-destructive. Consumerism is due to the vast expansion of industries and markets. It is directly a consequence of Western influence. Though we need to benefit from the improvements in science and technology, we need not mindlessly ape the West. A wide variety in consumables is not a desirable thing if it is to only provide more choice to the consumer. Often choice can lead to confusion and unnecessary waste of time, effort and money. The other aspects of a consumable like eco-friendliness, its bio-degradability and personal need for the product are more important.
Select from the box, two synonyms for the words given below:
|display, different, come up, tempt, plentiful, varied, broadcast, attract, excessive, develop, bear, existence, perplexing, unheard of, support, singular, forceful, confusing, pushing, survival.
- lure: attract, tempt
- abundant: plentiful, excessive
- sprout: come up, develop
- diverse: different, varied
- advertise: display, broadcast
- bewildering: perplexing, confusing
- unprecedented: unheard of, singular
- subsistence: existence, survival
- aggressive: excessive, forceful
- sustain: bear, support
B. Find out from the lesson, one word for the following definitions.
- the preoccupation of society with buying goods __________
- goods for sale ___________
- borderless economic order ____________
- foreign’ trading companies which export capital along with their products ____________
- anything that is meant for the public ____________
- Global Economy
- International trade
- Commodities / Goods.
C. Fill in the blanks with the opposites of the word given in brackets.
In a largely uncertain (certain) world, even, with gold prices moving upwards, the craze for the yellow metal remains unabated (abated). A key reason is a disgust (enchantment) with other investments. A large percentage of savings are held in unproductive (productive) gold assets and a lot of banks and non-banking (banking) companies are offering loans against gold. But the supply is sadly inadequate (adequate), in spite of unbridled (bridled) mining. Gold attracts unwanted (wanted) attention and is its major disadvantage (advantage). So, do you feel that gold is non-essential? (essential).
D. Bring out the difference in meaning between the words in pairs, by using each of the following in sentences of your own
present(n) – presence
later – latter
decent – descent
career – carrier
cloth – clothes
alternate – alternative
lonely – alone
advice – advise
- Present (n) – Presence:
Rama gave a memorable present in the book releasing function.
Her presence was very graceful.
- Cloth – Clothes :
He did not have a piece of cloth to put on.
The clothes were washed and dry cleaned.
- Later – Latter :
Do your homework now. You can go out to play later.
Both gold and platinum are worth buying, the latter is too expensive.
- Alternate – Alternative :
I go to swimming class on alternate days.
The boss asked to think on an alternative option to improve the business.
- Decent – Descent:
Man decented from apes.
He is the most decent boy in our class.
- Lonely – Alone :
When you feel lonely, come over to my house.
The old mother is living alone since her children are working abroad.
- Career – Carrier :
One should choose his/her career carefully.
The children were asked to bring their carrier to the school.
- Advice – Advise :
I would need your advice to choose my career.
The students studied for the exam as per their teacher’s advise.
E. Fill in the blanks with the appropriate idioms given in the box.
|keep a level head, leave no stone unturned, go around in circles, have the last laugh, full of beans, jump on the Correct bandwagon.
- All his relatives made fun of Charles when his grandmother left him only her old wooden box, but he _________ It contained all her savings.
- We have been trying all day to find a solution to this problem, but we just keep _____________
- Sriram seems to have fully recovered from his illness: When I saw him, he was ____________
- He has had a successful career, partly because he always _________ at the correct time.
- Even in the middle of the fire he __________ and saved many lives.
- The minister said he would __________ in his attempts to improve the standard of education.
F. “These sellers of colored, sweetened water are giant multinational corporations…”
‘multinational’ means foreign manufacturing and trading companies. The prefix “multi” – means many, more than one. With the help of a dictionary, find out the meaning of the following “multi”-words.
- multimedia, multicultural,
- multifaceted, multilingual,
- multifarious, multilateral,
- multimedia – the use of a variety of artistic or communicative media
- multicultural — Relating to or containing several cultural or ethnic groups within a society, multifaceted –
- Having many different aspects Or features.
- multilingual – Using several languages,
- multifarious – Many and of various types
- multilateral – having members or contributors from several groups, especially several different countries,
- multimillionaire — a person with assets worth several million pounds or dollars.
V. Grammar Revisited
Subordination: Simple to Complex
Note: Main points generally go into main clauses. Any simple sentence can be changed to a subordinate clause but the choice of subordination or main clause must be guided by your purpose.
- Students were protesting.
- The lecture was canceled.
If your focus is on the students’ protest, you can say:
Students were protesting because the lecture was canceled.
If your focus is on the cancellation of the lecture, you can say:
The lecture was canceled because the students were protesting.
A. Combine each sequence of sentences below into a complex sentence by using at least one noun clause. The first one is done for you. Your teacher will help you with the rest.
- He tells me.
- He distrusts his own sons.
- It is difficult to understand his reason.
He tells me that he distrusts his own sons, which is difficult to understand.
- Someone said this.
- History is a record of dates and battles.
- This ignores most of history’s significance.
- This makes history merely a list of selected events.
Someone said that history is just a record of dates and battles, which ignores its significance, making history merely a list of selected events.
- A restaurant becomes a five-star restaurant.
- This means the restaurant has consistently maintained superior standards.
- The standards are of quality in food and service.
A restaurant becomes a five-star restaurant when its superior standards of quality in food and service are consistently maintained.
- The earth’s climate changes.
- The earth’s climate even now may be changing rapidly.
- This is widely recognized.
It is a widely known fact that the earth’s climate is changing rapidly.
- He pretended to be one of us.
- He took part in all our pranks.
- This helped hide his identity.
- He was a policeman.
The policeman, pretending to be one of us, took part in our plans, which helped him hide his identity.
B. Combine each sequence of sentences below into a complex sentence by using at least one adjective/relative clause. The first one is done for you. Your teacher will help you with the rest.
- Walden Pond is now the site of many tourist stands.
- Walden Pond was once admired by Thoreau for its natural beauty.
- Henry David Thoreau built himself a solitary hut on the shore of Walden.
- He lived there for two and a half years.
Walden Pond which is now the site of many tourist stands was once admired by Henry David Thoreau who built himself a solitary hut on its shore where he lived for two and a half years.
- Alcohol, a drying agent, is frequently used in cosmetics.
- The drying agent evaporates rapidly.
- The drying agent, therefore, has a cooling effect.
Alcohol which is a drying agent is often used in cosmetics as it evaporates rapidly and therefore gives a cooling effect.
- The roller coaster is still one of the most exciting rides.
- The rides are in an amusement park.
- The roller coaster made its appearance in 1884.
The roller coaster which made its appearance in 1884 in amusement parks is still one of the most exciting rides.
- The man shoved the woman into a car.
- The man was fat.
- The man had a nasal voice.
- The woman was startled.
- The man mistakenly thought the woman was about to have a baby.
A man. with a nasal voice who mistakenly thought a fat woman was ‘ pregnant, startled her by shoving her into a car.
- A cottage and his wife had a hen.
- The hen laid an egg every day.
- They were lucky.
- The egg was golden.
A cottage and his wife were lucky as they had a hen which laid a golden egg every day.
C. Combine each sequence of sentences below into a complex sentence by using at least one Adverbial clause. The first one is done for you. Your teacher will help you with the rest.
- Suppose there isn’t any cake.
- Suppose there aren’t any friends around.
- A birthday cannot really be fun.
- His birthday is on 4 January.
If there is no cake and if there are no friends, his birthday on 4 January cannot really be fun.
- The experiences were sung about in poems.
- The poems were written by pupils.
- The pupils were between the ages of 70 and 90.
- The pupils were residents in a nursing home.
The experiences were sung about in poems written by pupils between the ages of 70 and 90 residing in a nursing home.
- Poet Kenneth Koch would teach folk poetry.
- He hoped to free them from bonds.
- The bonds were cruel.
- The bonds were of growing old.
- He hoped to free them for moments, at least.
Kenneth Koch would teach folk poetry and hope to free them from the cruel bonds of growing old for a moment at least.
- “Good evening. I am CountDracula”
- Bela Lugosi’s voice chilled theatergoers.
- His voice is now famous.
- Then it ushered in the modem Dracula era.
- He did this 70 years ago.
Bela Lugosi’s famous voice, “Good evening, I am Count Dracula,” chilled theatre goers 70 years ago when it ushered in the modern Dracula era.
- The train arrived at the station.
- A man sprang out of one of the carriages on to the platform.
- His clothes were torn.
- They were stained with blood.
- The policeman saw this.
When the train arrived at the station, the policeman saw a man spring out of one of the carriages onto the platform wearing clothes that were torn and stained with blood.
Coordination: Simple to Compound
Note: We use coordination to suggest that the two clauses are logically related but neither has more weight than the other.
Combine each sequence of sentences below into a compound sentence using at least two main clauses. The first one is done for you. Your teacher will help you with the rest.
- Some species of whales are nearing extinction
- Many countries refuse to accept even a partial ban on whale hunting.
Some species of whales are nearing extinction and yet many countries refuse to accept even a partial ban on whale hunting;
- In private life he was kind.
- In private life, he was even generous.
- In public life he was severe. ENGLISH (First Language)
- In public life, he administered strict justice.
In his private life, he was kind and generous but in his public life, he was severe and administered strict justice.
- He does not study.
- He does not allow his friends to study.
- That’s why many of his friends avoid him.
Many of his friends avoid him because not only does he not study but he doesn’t allow his friends to study too.
- You may not care for wealth.
- You may not care for fame.
- You shall have to care for the truth.
- Life without truth is a degraded life.
You may care neither for wealth nor for fame but you shall have to care for truth because life without truth is a degraded life.
- I shall not oppose your plan of action.
- I cannot approve of it.
I shall not oppose your plan of action but I cannot approve of it.
VI. Fun With Language:
What intonation is to speech is punctuation to writing. Any slight variation in intonation or punctuation will completely change the meaning of an utterance or a sentence.
Look closely at the following pairs of sentences. Same words, same syntax, yet the meaning is so different! All because of a change in the punctuation.
a) I left him convinced he was a fool.
b) I left him, convinced he was a fool.
Which sentence shows extraordinary powers of persuasion?
(a) I left him convinced he was a fool.
a) Shall I stick the stamps on myself?
b) Shall I stick the stamps on, myself?
Which of the two will require a lot of postage?
(a) Shall I stick the stamps on myself?
a) A clever dog knows its master,
b) A clever dog knows it’s master.
In which case has the dog the upper hand.
(b) A clever dog knows it’s master.
a) He ate a half fried chicken,
b) He ate a half- fried chicken.
Which would be followed by stomach disorder?
(a) He ate a half fried chicken.
a) Go slow – children,
b) Go slow, children.
Which is a warning to drivers?
(a) Go slow – children.
a) The officers ate chicken, their wives, vegetables.
b) The officers ate chicken; their wives, vegetables.
Which would suggest cannibalism?
(a) The officers ate chicken, their wives, vegetables.
a) Students’ protest gains,
b) Students protest gains.
Which of the two suggests that the student force is becoming strong?
(b) Students protest gains.
a) The dictator, who was recently ousted by the citizens and his wife arrived in Hawaii yesterday, b) The dictator, who was recently ousted by the citizens, and his wife arrived in Hawaii yesterday. In which of the two cases is the dictator feeling worse?
(b) The dictator, who was recently ousted by the citizens, and his wife arrived in Hawaii yesterday.
a) The film ended, happily,
b) The film ended happily.
In which case was the audience apparently bored?
(a) The film ended, happily.
a) My wife, who lives in Hong Kong is arriving tomorrow,
b) My wife who lives in Hong Kong is arriving tomorrow.
Which of the two suggests that the speaker is a polygamist?
(b) My wife who lives in Hong Kong is arriving tomorrow.
Consumerist Culture Summary in English
In this lesson the writer has made it very clear that people have become mindless consumer, buying things which have practically no use.
Advertisements have made certain products hard to rest and these have become available in every nook and corner of the country.
Artificially flavored and colored water is being preferred to nutritive drinks.
Shopping malls are springing up everywhere bringing availability of options that make us greedy for more.
Small communities and co-operative societies are losing their foothold.
We should know that it is time for us to say ‘enough’
We should stop this damage which is being caused by extreme consumerism,
otherwise, nothing of value will be left standing on this earth.
Consumerist Culture Summary in Kannada
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