At the Cato Institute, David Boaz writes:
Adjacent articles in the latest New Yorker deplore “consumerism” among the American revolutionaries and the modern Chinese. You wonder how a magazine so concerned about manifestations of consumer desire would support itself. Surely it struggles along on a shoestring, preaching the message of austerity and simplicity to sincere but poor readers. In fact, however, these laments about consumerism in societies vastly poorer than our own are sandwiched between lush full-page advertisements for Chanel watches, Samsung home entertainment centers, single malt Scotch, Grey Goose vodka, Cristal champagne, David Yurman jewelry, German automobiles, and Norwegian Cruise Lines. The articles themselves appear on pages lined with small, elegant ads for Jay-Z’s book-ebook-app, tours of Wales, monogram rings, Aeron chairs, European berets, cashmere caps, and a remarkable number of expensive psychiatric facilities, perhaps specializing in the treatment of cognitive dissonance.
The New York Times assuages its guilt over all of the consumer advertising it runs by regularly featuring Unibomber-esque stories about Greenwich Village residents eschewing toilet paper, a refrigerator, electricity, air conditioning and the like. NBC turns the lights off in its studio, while covering massively illuminated night football games, and pumping air-conditioning into its outdoor broadcasting booth at the Beijing Olympics.
James Cameron makes us all share in his self-induced guilt, by releasing Avatar: