Sunday, November 11, 2012

Counterfeits, Value, and Living a Life of Value

Danny Liemthongsamout

Entry # 2

Growing up, having counterfeits was looked down upon.  It represented an absorption into brands and consumerism, while being unable to afford the fashion.  Buying expensive items and having no expendable money is also symbolic of absorption into brands and consumerism to the point of slavery.  In this society where we have to take out loans to buy houses and cars, are we not slaves?  I realize Melissa A. Decker  has a bias towards counterfeit products supporting the Italian Mafia.  However, isn't supporting corporations and buying their products the same thing?  Both organizations' purposes is to increase their profits.  Tagliabue states, "Italy remains a nation of entrepreneurs, giving counterfeiters a vast potential supply of nimble and imaginative partners in crime." (Decker, 16)  Corporations are intent on making money.  A commitment to craftsmanship is a way to make money.  I never condemned counterfeiting operations, but always the people who buy into brands.

It becomes a question of what is value to each individual?  Is value the quality and durability of an item?  Is value the uniqueness of an item?  Is value a brand name?  I guess growing up poor, I realized it doesn't matter what anyone wears.  It's nice to have fashionable name brand clothing, but it's fake value.  I always hated people who put value inherently into a brand.  Having a name brand shirt doesn't mean it is better than my brand-less shirt.  This belief in value to lineage and labels permeates into many people's lives.  Does a person's job position make him or her better than me?  Does being from a family of wealth make a person better than me?  I admit I have many items from name brands.  Sometimes an attempt to purchase quality resulted in buying name brands.  I have over ten $150 dollar jackets but they've lasted years.  Most items were valuable for being cash cheap to their physical quality.

Update on Green Challenge:

I was throwing up blood and watching "Buddha's Lost Children" by Mark Verkerk.  Khru Bha, the head monk who creates a monastery to raise orphans and children from families unable to feed them, does good even if he breaks rules.  He has reason for his actions.  He lives the life of a monk to do good, but he breaks a rule to have magical tattoos to do good.  He uses modern tattoo machines to have more time during the day.  Khru Bah teaches the children to fight, because they live in drug warlord territory.  He even attacks village teenagers during an argument to calm them down.  He is radical to defy not only societal norms but also traditional norms.  His main supporter is a nun.  She defies the rules of monkhood not to touch males but she does for good.  As a mother, she helps them try on shoes and shaves their heads.  Everyone I was with was critical for the things they do, because it truly defied Buddhism and our Lao culture except in the context of doing good.  Our first belief is to do good even if there is a rule in the way.

I decided to quit buying name brands or items from corporations.  No more Walgreens or Chevron.  No Tylenol or Dole pineapples.  I could buy illegal no brand cigarettes  but I've decided to quit everything poisonous in my life.  I feel this challenge against consumerism is a way to reevaluate our understandings of value. Consumerism makes us slaves to spend our value we earn through physical and mental labor.  Consumerism supports a ideology of organizations intent on making money instead of reasonable use of money.  I began to question if I've been wasting the value of my life.  Do I really value my life?  Am I healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually?  Khru Bah asks his monks if they can wash their hair, light a candle, and clean their bowls.  He tells them to not be dead in their lives.  Titles and honor are lost in time.  When we die, we can't do anything physical and we can't hold physical items or imaginary numbers.  Life is about doing things of value. I want to live with the intent of doing good in all endeavors and actions.

Here is a general list of what I've bought this week.  Hopefully, there will be a big difference next week.

4 Packs of Black & Gold cigarettes
1 Packs  Fantasia cigarettes
4 Packs Of Marlboro Red Shorts
1 Pack of Marlboro Red Long
1 Pack of Camel Crush
15 Packs Of Good Times Cigars
2 Bottles Of Metamucil
$30 Open Rice Kitchen
$27 Carolina's Mexican Kitchen
$40 Quickly's
$80 Shell gas
$200 A&A Supermarket

"Buddha's Lost Children". Mark Verkerk. n. 2006. Film.

Decker, Melissa A. ""Knockouts of Knockoffs:" The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy." (n.d.): n. 16. Print.

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