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豆知识 2011-04-24&04-30 物品的故事(4/5)

时间:2011-09-09 02:19来源:互联网 提供网友:gmeng   字体: [ ]
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 President Eisenhower's Council of Economic Advisers’ chairman said that “The American economy's ultimate purpose is to produce more consumer goods.” More consumer goods? Our ultimate purpose? Not provide healthcare, education, or safe transportation, or sustainability or justice? Consumer goods? How did they get us to jump on board this program so enthusiastically? Well, two of their most effective strategies are planned obsolescence1 and perceived obsolescence. 

Planned obsolescence is another word for designed for the dump. It means they actually make stuff to be useless as quickly as possible so we'll chuck it and buy a new one. It's oblivious2 with things like plastic bags and coffee cups, but now it's even big stuff, mops, DVDs, cameras, barbecues even, everything, even computers. Have you noticed that when you buy a computer now, the technology is changing so fast that in just a couple of years, it's actually an impediment to communication? I was curious about this so I opened up a big desktop3 computer to see what was inside. And I found out that the piece changes each year is just a tiny little piece in the corner. But you can't just change that one piece because each new version is a different shape. So you gotta chuck the whole thing and buy a new one. So I was reading industrial design journals from the 1950s when planned obsolescence was really catching4 on. These designers are so open about it. They actually discuss how fast can they make stuff break that still leaves the consumer having enough faith in the product to go out and buy another one. It was so intentional5.
But stuff cannot break fast enough to keep this arrow afloat, so there's also perceived obsolescence. Now perceived obsolescence convinces us to throw away stuff that is still perfectly6 useful. How do they do that? Well they change the way the stuff looks. So if you bought your stuff a couple of years ago, everyone can tell that you haven't contributed to this arrow recently. And since the way we demonstrate our value is contributing to this arrow, it can be embarrassing. Like I've had the same fat, white computer monitor on my desk for five years. My co-worker just got a new computer. She has a flat, shiny, sleek7 monitor. It matches her computer, matches her phone, even her pen stand. She looks like she is driving in spaceship central, and I, I look like I have a washing machine on my desk.
Fashion is another prime example of this. Have you ever wondered why women's shoe heels go from fat one year to skinny the next to fat to skinny? It's not because there's some debate about which heel structures is the most healthy for women's feet. It's because wearing fat heels in a skinny heel year shows everybody that you haven't contributed to that arrow recently, so you are not as valuable as that person in a skinny heels next to you, or more likely in some ad. It's to keep us buying new shoes.
Advertisements and media in general play a big role in this. Each of us in the US is targeted with over 3000 advertisements today. We see more advertisements in one year than people 50 years ago saw in a lifetime. And if you think about it, what's the point of an ad except to make us unhappy with what we have? So 3000 times a today, we're told that our hairs are wrong, our skins are wrong, our clothes are wrong, our furniture are wrong, our cars are wrong, we are wrong. But it can all be made right if we just go shopping. Media also helps by hiding all of this and all of this. So the only part of the materials economy we see is the shopping. The extraction, production, and disposal all happen outside of our field of vision.
So in the US, we have more stuff than ever before. But polls show that our national happiness is actually declining. Our national happiness peaked in the 1950s, the same time as this consumption mania8 exploded. Hmm. Interesting coincidence. I think I know why. We have more stuff, but we have less time for the things that really make us happy. Friends, family, leisure time. We're working harder than ever. Some analysts9 say we have less leisure time than any time since feudal10 society. And you know what the two main activities are that we do with the scant11 leisure time we have? Watch TV and shop.

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1 obsolescence bIjxr     
n.过时,陈旧,废弃
参考例句:
  • For some small unproductive mills,the reality is not merger but obsolescence and bankruptcy.对一些效率低下的小厂而言,现实不是合并,而是可能被淘汰和破产。
  • Finally,the cost approach can provide a basis for allocating penalties,specifically economic obsolescence.最后,成本法可作为一个分配因陈旧特别是因经济
2 oblivious Y0Byc     
adj.易忘的,遗忘的,忘却的,健忘的
参考例句:
  • Mother has become quite oblivious after the illness.这次病后,妈妈变得特别健忘。
  • He was quite oblivious of the danger.他完全没有察觉到危险。
3 desktop sucznX     
n.桌面管理系统程序;台式
参考例句:
  • My computer is a desktop computer of excellent quality.我的计算机是品质卓越的台式计算机。
  • Do you know which one is better,a laptop or a desktop?你知道哪一种更好,笔记本还是台式机?
4 catching cwVztY     
adj.易传染的,有魅力的,迷人的,接住
参考例句:
  • There are those who think eczema is catching.有人就是认为湿疹会传染。
  • Enthusiasm is very catching.热情非常富有感染力。
5 intentional 65Axb     
adj.故意的,有意(识)的
参考例句:
  • Let me assure you that it was not intentional.我向你保证那不是故意的。
  • His insult was intentional.他的侮辱是有意的。
6 perfectly 8Mzxb     
adv.完美地,无可非议地,彻底地
参考例句:
  • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said.证人们个个对自己所说的话十分肯定。
  • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board.我们做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
7 sleek zESzJ     
adj.光滑的,井然有序的;v.使光滑,梳拢
参考例句:
  • Women preferred sleek,shiny hair with little decoration.女士们更喜欢略加修饰的光滑闪亮型秀发。
  • The horse's coat was sleek and glossy.这匹马全身润泽有光。
8 mania 9BWxu     
n.疯狂;躁狂症,狂热,癖好
参考例句:
  • Football mania is sweeping the country.足球热正风靡全国。
  • Collecting small items can easily become a mania.收藏零星物品往往容易变成一种癖好。
9 analysts 167ff30c5034ca70abe2d60a6e760448     
分析家,化验员( analyst的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • City analysts forecast huge profits this year. 伦敦金融分析家预测今年的利润非常丰厚。
  • I was impressed by the high calibre of the researchers and analysts. 研究人员和分析人员的高素质给我留下了深刻印象。
10 feudal cg1zq     
adj.封建的,封地的,领地的
参考例句:
  • Feudal rulers ruled over the country several thousand years.封建统治者统治这个国家几千年。
  • The feudal system lasted for two thousand years in China.封建制度在中国延续了两千年之久。
11 scant 2Dwzx     
adj.不充分的,不足的;v.减缩,限制,忽略
参考例句:
  • Don't scant the butter when you make a cake.做糕饼时不要吝惜奶油。
  • Many mothers pay scant attention to their own needs when their children are small.孩子们小的时候,许多母亲都忽视自己的需求。
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TAG标签:   豆知识  物品的故事
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