Consumer Culture: Having Is Better Than Not Having

This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Mukbang: A New Eating Fad

Mukbang.  This is literally a thing, especially on YouTube. Celebrated gluttony is basically what it has fleshed itself out to be.  Be sure to pronounce it right, as it is muk-bahng. The word itself is a truncated slang word in Korean, loosely translated to “eating room.” The way it works is an individual sits in their room, whatever room, and consumes copious amounts of food. It’s usually instant ramen noodles, fast food, boiled shellfish, or some other calorie and heart-attack inducing food that can be eaten in one sitting. 

The fad is now to the point that there is a literal market for it, and folks are making a killing as people are subscribing, paying to watch, and sharing such individuals. It all started in South Korea, where no name individuals decided to simply make a sport out of eating large quantities of food. Now that it’s seeped into America, more and more people are quitting their jobs just to get paid to eat. This is not associated with The Food Network either!

Consumer Culture

This speaks very closely to the type of culture those of us in the West have. Sociologists have called it a “consumer culture,” where people simply consume products that are abundantly and readily available. Anyone can simply hop in their car, drive a mile down the road to the nearest fast food restaurant, and eat 1200 calories of food, all for about 9 bucks. Most places make this possible even before 9 am!  

Our grocery stores are lined with all types of cereal, tuna fish, mouthwash, shaving gels, and various vegetables that are both organic and “non-organic.” The meat section gives a selection of cuts like filets, sirloins, and rib eyes. They also offer less desired cuts like chuck or bottom round. 

This availability of choice doesn’t stop at food. Vehicles, for instance, are available at car dealerships of all makes and models. From high end BMWs, Range Rovers, Maseratis, and Teslas, to Kias and other less expensive rides, its all just a reach away. Movie theaters are a dime a dozen, some of which have adopted the concept of serving you a full course meal while you watch at your favorite cinema.

There is an abundance factor here in America. It is quite possible that because of the accessible nature of goods, we have a problem with being shallow in what we consume, which does cause problems. The concern is that it is a problem of abundance and not of lack.

Capitalism Created This

In America, we as a nation have thrived on the free market system, where private citizens are allowed to create and innovate and then sell the goods in exchange for capital.  This is how a market works, it pulls people out of poverty. A shining example of how capitalism worked is South Korea itself, the nation where“muk-bang” originated.

After the Korean War, the Communists pulled back to Pyongyang, leaving South Korea a war torn mess with poverty everywhere. Food was more scarce but the culture and pride was strong. In wanting to grow stronger, South Korean leaders asked America for a hand. American leaders showed them a democratic government and free market capitalism.

Nearly 70 years later, South Korea has a booming economy and a unique pop culture seeping outwards into the world. It offers the “muk-bang” community on Youtube and South Korean k-pop groups touring internationally, even hitting US soil. It is out of a culture of abundance and even a problem of abundance that we have the means to see more and do more. Never has there been a system that has pulled a nation out of poverty like free market capitalism.

Meanwhile…

Today’s academia, far-Left politicians, and media figures are all towing the line to become a country where it’s a culture of scarcity. Democrat Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders was caught on record saying that waiting in line for food is a good thing. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal states that because of cow flatulence we should overhaul the beef industry.

These are among ideas that take away people’s freedoms while simultaneously and excessively taxing everyone. The numbers were thought out and put on paper that the GND will cost $93 trillion. All the while New York politicians are instituting “meatless Mondays” to curb the pollution of the beef industry with no real proof, and keeping people from eating meat.  

From today’s college students comes this disturbing love for socialism and communism, a result of being taught by far-left professors who tout the notions that communism works if done right. Yet not one person can claim they know what that means. The scary thing here is that when university professors and politicians like Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib, as well as Hollywood celebrities like Sean Penn, all sing the praises of a system that does not work. The gullible, uninformed citizens and ignorant college students fall victim to their narrative and help create this culture of scarcity.

It is My Choice!

Yes, the abundance of things does create an issue.  Americans are some of the unhealthiest people on earth with some of the most obese people walking around.  Admittedly so, Americans tend to also be the laziest on a global scale. The lack of movement and exercise coupled with the abundant availability of empty calorically dense food makes for this stigma.

That’s far better than waiting in line for bread that you may or may not get depending on what may or may not be there. It is a far better life to live where waiting at the meat counter to decide on which cuts of meats is better than waiting 4 hours in a line with no real guarantee you’ll even get meat that day, much less that week. Then to have it rationed out to you because of the government? That’s what the left-wing elites like Ocasio-Cortez and Sanders push for, and it is undoubtedly encroaching on our freedoms.

Even the freedom of available goods is something America prides itself on, much like every other Western nation. South Korea is enjoying the blessings of a culture of abundance as people are not only working but actually going out to eat at the plethora of Korean BBQ restaurants while on their iPhones or Samsungs or LGs scrolling through Safari or Google Chrome on their smartphones as they are wearing their Reeboks, Jordans, Puma, Yeezys, or New Balances. 

America is the same and there is a statement of greatness to it that yes, we can get fat and lazy, but that’s our choice and we have every right to make it. Is it the wisest and the best choice that leads to longevity and quality of life? That’s debatable, but a debate every individual needs to make for themselves. The government has no bearing on it because we all know they’ll screw it up more than anything.

John Lee
NRN • New Right Network
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