I really enjoyed reading Lopez’s Media as Environmental Education chapter as he gives several examples of the way media shapes our world views and consequently the way we interact with nature. In particular I enjoyed reading his interpretation of the Shakira Pepsi Commercial (click if you haven’t watched it). If I hadn’t read Lopez’s description of the commercial I may have completely missed the underlying narrative of the concert metamorphosed into a mass. You have to really stop and replay the commercial to make notice of the long column on the walls and the crucifix shape of the stage. However, the allusion is surely unmistakable, Shakira is colonizing and bringing the “Pepsi mentality” to new markets. Pepsi is clearly using a Latin pop star to sell the “Black Water of Imperialism” to a new Latino market (73). However, one thing I noticed that really speaks to my topic for the final project, is the way Shakira’s image is whitewashed to appeal to Latino youth while not disengaging white audiences. It took only one quick look at the youtube comment to find young Latinos commenting things like “Dosn’t any body else thinks that she looks like madonna?!” and “her best looks everrrrr. I would like to see her again looking like this”. In this commercial the Columbian brunette is transformed into a white seductress that sings English songs – blonde hair and all. All in all, this commercial is used to get youth to consume Pepsi while remaining ignorant of toxic by-products or health effects it brings (77). Consequently through our interaction with the commercial and our consumption of the product audiences begin to adopt an ecological worldview that bolsters monocultural crop production and welcomes the use of non-envirementally sound containers. 

However, something else that I enjoy about Lopez is that he offers possible solutions to the problems we face. In the case of mediating the “Pepsi mentality” he urges us to take Pepsi and Shakira out of the equation, and instead, appropriate churches and concerts as positive ritual spaces. He also says that to avoid consumerism we can try to find contentment through our interactions with others, through activity, curiosity, giving, and attempting to untangle contemporary happiness from authentic happiness. 


2 responses »

  1. mik1999 says:

    Excellent post. I honestly wish I had faith that we could disentangle ourselves from rabid consumerism and all of its nefarious impacts. But I don’t think we can – I think we are hardwired to consume as a evolutionary response to avoiding times of shortage. I have come to the conclusion that the better option is to harness consumeristic tendencies to environmentally and socially responsible ambitions. The trick then, and this is hard, is to depoliticize environmental and social issues and make it ‘sexy’ to consume responsibly – a very tall order.

    • mgoldman3935 says:

      I agree with the comment above. While I appreciate Lopez’s solutions, I don’t think it is realistic for our society to completely avoid consumerism. I think the importance of other interactions, and the distinction of pure vs expected happiness, should certainly be emphasized. But perhaps we could find a way to apply consumerism to positive social change rather than avoiding it completely, as the later does not seem to be possible.

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