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So good afternoon and welcome to Book Passage, my name is Hannah Daguerre and today it is my pleasure to introduce Harrison Sheppard, one of the authors of "Too much for our own good". Too much is also the first publication of the Aristotle and Alexander press and it is co-written by Alex Aris. I should also mention that you would be able to view this afternoon's talk on www.fora.tv in about a week's time and so now I will introduce our speaker. Harrison is a distinguished lawyer with a widely published author with nearly 40 years as an attorney and managed to practice before the US Supreme court. His previous titles include "Churchill-The unexpected hero", "What's right with lawyers? What's wrong with lawyers?" and his writings have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post and several law magazines. In his solo practice in San Francisco he specializes in alternatives to litigation. Too much for our own good puts forward a powerful argument that America's consumer culture has turned toxic destroying the values of our democracy, impairing civic community, jeopardizing our health, threatening our economic future, degrading the environment and endangering our international relations. The book explores the origins of this consuming disease and demonstrates its destructive effects. However, the book poses real choices and progressive solutions that start with you the now truly informed consumer. While I read this book I found myself asking important questions like how many times a day am I exposed to advertising? Can I remember a day devoid of a single advertisement? And exactly how happy do things I purchase make me? So I hope this this book would get you asking those important questions as well. Please join me in welcoming Harrison Sheppard. Thank you very much Hannah, and that was a superb summary of the book by the way. This first time I heard it was a wonderful summary of the book and I do have to correct one thing and that was an attribution of "Churchill: the Unexpected Hero." I would have loved to have written that book but I didn't, the reason for the confusion is that the author of that book Paul Addison gave a glowing review to my book and it's the first of the reviews on the back of my book. So it's an understandable error from the book passage announcement. It's a book I can recommend to you by the way. I want to do several things after - first of all welcoming, thank you all for coming to this talk. I want to say a little bit about the book itself. I intent to read some passages from it and then instead of doing a straight reading, I have three different sections I think would tell you important things about the book that I will read and then I will stop for questions for a while then we will go on to the next reading. To tell you something about this book after Hannah's marvelous summary of it it's a book that really contains thoughts that I think most of the people in this audience will agree with. It contains perspectives on what is happening to American culture which I think most of us at some level certainly people who read are aware of at some level but don't really want to think too much about. It talks about things that are happening to American culture and to us as individuals in that culture that we not only are reluctant to think too much about. But we do have some difficulty of what we should do about it. What this book does is address how American materialism American consumerism principally but not entirely through the ubiquity of commercial advertising has overwhelmed the American spirit and American culture transforming us into a culture of buying and selling that is drowned out almost every other nobler, cultural aspect that made the United States what it was and that makes us what we would like to think of ourselves as American citizens. It also addresses what the effects of this materialism in this consumerism has been on us as individuals. How it has diverted us from pursuing paths of true happiness because of the habits the commercial advertising American materialism and consumerism have been gendered in us. American advertising is premised in the idea that when you advertise you don't talk about the merits of the product principally what you are trying to do is sell consumers a dream. American advertising is essentially premised in the idea that if you buy a product or service it will fulfill your dreams. And that's a lie. All the social, psychological research on a scientific basis uniformly concludes that the pursuit of materialist objectives does not bring happiness. So American advertising which has swamped our culture and made us really a culture of buying and selling is lying to all of us in ways that deeply affect the vitality and the happiness of our own lives. The book is not a survey. It's not a skin and bones survey of the subject. I would like to say with some proud - pride but also some humility it has blood and muscle and marrow in it particularly if you are patient enough to read the notes at the end of every chapter. It also seeks to enlist reader's interest by beginning every chapter with a scenario from a movie. I love movies and that's why the subtitle is that consumeritis epidemic at good movies. The movies are introduced to paint a scene that can introduce the substance of the particular chapter. Kevin Starr, the author of the California Dream and wonderfully published author said that he thought that the pursue paragraphs of the introduction which I am going to read state the moral centre of the book and those paragraphs relate to a Humphrey Bogart movie Key Largo. The last chapter which deals with remedies quotes and gives some scenario from the Fight Club, a rather brutal movie, easily misunderstood. The book deals with movies not only because I love movies and they are convenient thing to do to introduce a subject and most of us love movies. But also it contrasts how American movies as an export of American culture won the worlds love, for America, for our morays, for our ethics, by painting a picture of what American aspirations are, what we think of ourselves Americans in the best way and contrasting that export of American movies with our export of materialism and consumerism which is definitely not winning us any friends and in fact is deepening and sharpening anti-Americanism around the globe and even putting a rationale on some international terrorism. That's my overall description of the concerns of the book. The last chapter particularly deals with what I think we should do about it and as I said in my my first remarks, I think one reason we are inclined not to think about these problems of what's happened to Americas consumer society is because we are not sure what we should do about it and I hope in that discussion in the question period we will have some conversation about that, certainly in the last chapter of the book addresses that particularly. So I am going to begin my reading by reading a few pages from the introduction which describes the book again and I may interrupt that first reading with a page or so from another chapter that describes some of the statistics about advertising which I think are very important. Now perhaps before I begin the reading, are there a few preliminary questions, somebody would like to ask something before I begin the reading? Okay, let me start the reading to give you an idea of the book. This is it from the introduction in the very beginning, what this book is about? In a Humphrey Bogart movie Key Largo, celebrated a song of the same name. Bogart plays a war hero named Frank McCloud who is held captive in a hotel by a paranoid gangster named Rocco played by Edward G Robinson. Rocco has taken over the hotel to complete a counterfeit money deal. McCloud asks Rocco what he wants out of life and when Rocco hesitates McCloud recognize the mob - recognizes that mobsters greed as key to his character, answers his own question for the benefit of his fellow captives. He wants more, the villain agrees, "Yeah, he says, that's it I want more." McCloud then asked Rocco whether he will ever get enough and Rocco says, "Well I never have. No I guess I won't." I first saw Key Largo in a movie theatre and as an avid movie lover I might want to watch it again and again on TV. But commercial television today has so much advertising watch fewer and fewer broadcast movies. I'm curious how many of you in the audience have a similar reaction to broadcast movies and advertising. On most commercial TV channels scenes from movies seem to occupy only slightly more broadcasting industry itself the movie scenes are now referred to as filler I mean the ads are just real broadcast content. Even going to the movies has recently brought new kinds of exposure to commercial advertising. Movies in theatres are now commonly preceded by slideshow ads before the movie begins a time when it's given over to music while the theatre was filling and filmed ads after the theatre is dark before the previews of coming attractions. In addition, movies themselves are now often vehicles for product placement. Advertisers pay the film producers to have the actors use their products conspicuously in the film. How many people in the audience remember when you went to movie and you didn't have to sit and watch ads before you saw it? One of the interesting things about this is that as a common little further - later people in their or young people in their early 20 simply don't know a time when our culture was not completely immersed in advertising. Those of us are little older enough reach a better can remember that there was a time when commercial advertising was an important incident of our society but we were not absolutely submerged in it. The American culture of buying and selling is now a culture of more fueled by evermore invasive advertising that interferes not only with our enjoyment of broadcast movies but with many other more significant aspects of our lives. A torrent of advertising invites indeed urges us to spent money often letting us know how we can borrow the money to buy what is being advertised. Americans have been responding to this advertising not only by getting ever deeper into credit card debt but by changing the way they think about themselves. Before I I want to give you some idea of the volume of advertising. The amount of money American businesses spent to advertise the this is from this is actually from chapter one. The amount of money American businesses spent to advertise their goods and services and identify them with the stuff that dreams are made of. The dreams are personal fulfillment that the people long for and hope for and almost despair of and that's a quote from an advertising company's advice about how to advertise. Helps explain the increasing impact of the consumerized epidemic during the past two decades. Hang on to your hat. In the year 2000, commercial advertising expenditures in all media amounted to over $263 billion or $934.81 for every man, woman and child in the country. So the advertising industry is spending nearly a $1000 for every single individual in the country to promote the ethos of buying and selling. This represents by the way a growth in advertising expenditures since the 1990 census of more than 55 percent where 37.8 percent per capital taking into account population growth. The growth numbers from TV advertising are similarly impressive. TV advertising expenditures of 1990 were about $34.7 billion. In 2000, they were $47.6 billion, a growth of more than 37 percent and an advertising bill of more than $169 for every American. Direct mail advertising expenditures grew at an even faster rater than advertising generally. How many have clogged mailboxes from your direct mail? From $30.4 billion to $47.4 billion amounting to a 64 percent growth at about a $168 for each person in the United States, by the year 2000. Internet advertising was added in the mix beginning in 1997 with a reported 891 million in expenditures 97 ballooning to 6.9 billion in 2000 an increase of over 700 percent. This recently estimated that this daily use of advertising from all media results in the on the average American being exposed to as many as 3000 commercial messages a day. Now, the clearly established statistics are that on average Americans see 40,000 or more commercials a year. So that by the time a person in this country is 20-years-old they have seen more than a million advertisements. There is simply no other institution public or private that gets its message to the public in the volume and in the intensity that advertising does and that messages buy a product or service and fulfill your dreams. The path to happiness is a path of buying and or selling. Returning to the introduction. Americans have been responding to this advertising. Not only by getting ever deeper into credit card debt but by changing the way they think about themselves. Key Largo was produced in 1948. It was not until more than a generation later that American citizens came to regard themselves and to be regarded by their government primarily as consumers rather than the citizens. So much so the federal agencies now refer to us as their customers in the option menus of their recorded messages. I had to make a call for client who - the INS immigration service and the voice recorded message option menu literally says, please hold the line, we will try to get to our customers as quickly as possible but and there were other references to my call not as citizen but I'm a customer of the INS. This shift to cultural consumerism constitutes a radical transformation of the idea of consumption from a negative to a positive one. As the author Jeremy Rifkin points out "No one and especially no American we denied that we are the most voracious consumers in the world." The term consumption dates back to the early 14th century and has both English and French roots. Originally, to consume meant to destroy, to pillage, to subdue, to exhaust. It is a word steeped in violence and until the 20th century had only negative connotations. Remember that as late as the early 1900s, the medical community and the public referred to tuberculosis as consumption. Consumption only metamorphosed into a positive term at the hands of 20th century advertisers who began to know began to equate consumption with choice. On the pervasive deceptiveness of advertising but I wanted to mention well this book is written in a highly topical domain and I'm going to demonstrate that in a minute, its not merely topical, it really doesn't tempt to go to reach to an understanding of what our basic American ethos is at it's best and how it has declined and what we need to think of in terms of ourselves our own individual fulfillment in terms of what our aspirations are. So although it's very topical, its it's a book that aims to deal with very fundamental issues. With respect to the preface pervasive deceptiveness of advertising just yesterday in in the San Francisco Chronicle everyday in the newspaper there is something that this book is addresses. The front page of the San Francisco Chronicle has a headline story, "Fruit shown on label often not in the box." Kid's food study show and then in the inside of the story here is a picture, "Berry Berry KIX" that's the name of the product. There is not a single berry in Berry Berry KIX and the box of course also shows berries. Parents who were concerned about the fact and discusses are some lines of the book that because of advertising direct to children we have an incredible increase in childhood obesity and Type II diabetes. These are very serious medical conditions and in fact medical researchers say that obesity in this country the childhood obesity pose a future health problem for America more costly than cigarette smoking. That's how dangerous the situation is and yet now the general mills maker of Berry Berry KIX and this is not an isolated example by the way. Now the FDA responded to any phone calls made by the reporters about this story. We are certainly not being adequately protected by the federal agencies against the outrageous outrageously injurious practices of American commercial advertisers. We all know that money can buy things and pleasures but neither greed nor the common desire to have more money to increase our acquisition of things and enjoy material pleasures is the same as our yearning for genuine happiness. What makes life most worth living is for the most part, neither material things nor transient pleasures but the intangible rewards of a good life, love, friendship, family and community, physical and mental health, enough leisure to time to enjoy the fruits of our labor in a job well done, the delights we can take in playing sport, music, song and dance, art, learning and philanthropy and appreciation of the beauty we can find all around us in both nature and humanity, from the wondrous splendors of the earth, sea and sky to the glowing aura of a happy child. For most of us of course having enough money to ensure some degree of financial security is necessary to avoid a miserable existence. But beyond securing the basic necessities becomes largely a matter of individual choice, where we direct our energies and focus our intention to make our days as fulfilling as possible and our lives not only worth living but genuinely happy. As a 1992 periodical put it "Real choice for humans both as consumers and as social beings is matter of quality not quantity. Shelves filled with impersonal goods like address books, filled with the reminders of shallow friendships present us with meaningless choices, as the earths possible end comes into view it could be the caring for what really matters to us, will really save us." There are many miserable people among unquote; there are many miserable people among the rich and many truly happy people of modest means. In fact, studies of both rich and poor countries throughout the world show that above 20,000 per person - $20,000 per person, additional income is not associated with greater happiness. Since most people agree with the well known saying that money can't buy happiness why are so many Americans choosing to go into debt to buy things that are unessential to enjoying the best that life has to offer? And before I open for some questions and discussion I want to say something about American abundance. There was no question although this book is very much an attack of what American advertising and and credit card debt is doing in this country. It also acknowledges with some historical background that commercial advertising and consumer credit had made wonderful contributions to American prosperity. It was really responsible for opening up the west. When the Singer Sewing machine - Company introduced buying on installment plans and the Ford motor company allowed installments sales that completely elevated the American people, raising many people up to a level of middle class living that they were unable to enjoy before. So consumer, credit and advertising have done wonderful things for the country. But something happened in the the book traces the data possibly by the 70s but certainly by the 80s where the volume of consumer credit and the volume of advertising has so much changed, had so much increased you know it's a old philosophical principle that at a certain point the change in quantity represents a change in quality that it has become too much for our own good. This book might have been titled too much of a good thing as well as too much for our own good; it also might have been titled "American Culture and the fall of the American Empire." I had two experiences that I want to relate, both of which are related to the book which have to do with American abundance and the de-spiritualization of America. I had a young Russian friend who is the son of a the Director of a School of Psychology in Russia who visited here for the first time when he was in his early 20s, to New York and the first thing he has to do this was in the mid-80s first thing he has to do was to go to an American supermarket. And he was familiar with what Soviet Russia was like you know, if you go to what is supposedly a supermarket in Russia you would see some pig knuckles and pigs feet and maybe cabbage. He was brought to an American supermarket, New York City and he literally fell to his knees and wept. He said for the first time he realized that he had been censurably deprived in Russia and had no idea that there was abundance of the kind that we enjoyed. A month later he felt he wanted to go back to Russia. He said he felt that after recovering from this shock of our abundance that the activities of the people that he met there were mostly to shop or get some new thing and that he couldn't enjoy the conversation that he was able to enjoy in Soviet Russia about art, literature, the human condition that he just found that our culture had become so shallow and superficial that despite its abundance he wasn't sure that if wanted to continue to live here. The second anecdote is even more telling and it's in the same direction. A friend of mine named Kimon Friar translated Nikos Kazantzakis great modern artist for which he won the Nobel prize for literature was a translator of Greek modern Greek poetries of Seferis, Cavafy and he was invited here by a a Greek American philanthropist, put up in an condominium in Pacific Heights, I really allowed to stay here, to give talks and be available to the Atlantic American Community especially and that was when I became acquainted with him because a client of mine was actually doing a portrait of his when we met and after knowing him for about two years he told me he was going back to Greece. Now here is a man who has really offered the opportunity to live at a very high standard of living for only just being available as a writer and speaker. And I said, "Well, Kimon why are you going back to Greece?" and he said "Well, I will tell you. When I go into the supermarket its worrying to me to have to think about which of the 24 different kinds of bread I want to buy. I would much rather go back to Greek village where I live, where I can only buy two or three kinds of bread and have some time to talk to the baker." So these are two vivid examples of testimony about how consumeritis the American culture of buying and selling has shallowed our culture and deprived us of the constant appreciation as you can feel in the other cultures about the highlights of being human. That's - those are introductory remarks, there is one other long reading I would read before the end of this hour, do you have any questions? I am looking up for some questions about the book.