11.29.2014

Smaller

The largest size of take away coffee you can get in Australia is about 12 ounces, equating to about the smallest size in America.

One thing you notice when traveling in Australia, or really any country other than the USA, is the moderation and simplicity of the people. Everything is quite a bit smaller.

It is not all about consumerism and competition - bigger, better, faster, more.

Granted, the Australians make their coffee better and stronger than Americans. So in a sense it is about better, meaning quality. But it is quality at the expense of quantity. To me, that is the definition of VALUE - emphasizing quality rather than quantity.

American corporate advertisers and mainstream media emphasize excess without regard to quality and this cheapens American society. People don't need quality in America...when things don't last they can just throw them away and buy more, dirt cheap. I understand why corporate America does this. They want to generate large profits and are not content with modest profits because they fear their competitors will outcompete them. It is literally a race to the bottom. Cut costs (and thus quality) and gain profits.

I want to disenfranchise mainstream America because it is unhealthy. More accurately, I would like to make quality and moderation mainstream again. But I think as long as mediocrity is mainstream, quality doesn't have a fair fighting chance. So first we need to work on the collective American mindset, a much more formidable task. But people can be rational and most would say they prefer quality vs. quantity, I think.

Disenfranchising weak sauce and consumerism seems challenging. But it has been done before. Look at the example of smoking cigarettes. Collectively as a society we realized that cigarettes were a bad product and we disenfranchised smokers to the fringe of society. Smokers are relegated to defined areas and the disgust of non-smokers around smokers is scarcely veiled anymore. Smokers are objectified as a nuisance to others.

Just five minutes ago, as I was lying on my hotel room bed in Cowes, Australia (Phillip Island) writing this post, I smelled cigarette smoke. The window near my bed was open.

"Is someone smoking outside?" I asked my pops. "I smell smoke."

He opened the door of the hotel room and looked outside.

"Yep," he replied. "Right next door...that must have been what I smelled last night."

"Can you close the window?" I requested. He closed the hotel room door and then turned the knob that closed the window.

Our conversation wasn't hushed. Every word we spoke could be clearly heard by the smoker outside the adjacent room. He or she (I did not see) was relegated to second class status, legitimately ridiculed and shunned (disenfranchised from our lives) for their habit. It is perfectly OK to tell a smoker to get out of your face to their face nowadays.

So mediocrity can be disenfranchised. The key is to first recognize something as a danger to society and decide to do something about it.

Mediocrity and consumerism are ultimately destructive to American values and long term wellness. Once we all agree on this, we can start jailing bankers.

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