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Today’s world is no longer our world. It belongs to the agents of consumerism; media and products. All are under the leadership of money.

It offers the so call benefits to save effort and time in our work and provides abetter lifestyle. But Bruce Dawe’s poems, in particular “Televistas and Breakthrough” points out, in a satirical manner and a depressed tone, the negative nature of consumerism and explores its influence on you and me as individuals of the society.

In support Dawe’s view are Michael Leunig’s cartoon in the Secondary English Book Four and Tesimond’s poem “Attack on the Ad Man”

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The poem “Televistas” depicts that human value is lost within a consumerism dominating the society.

In the first stanza, Dawe identifies the couple as

“She was Sanyo-oriented

He was Rank-Arena bred.”

“She and he” infer us but by identifying us by television brands. It is clear, isn’t it? Our identities together with our value hold no significance. The human beings are simply the by-product of products.

The poem also comments on the fact that consumerism exerts absolute control on us. The title “Televistas”, literally “televisions view” that is our views are constrained and bounded by what being presented to us on the screen. And that control is maintained throughout the poem. As the relationship between she and he was revolved around the television; their first meeting, their common interest, the day they fell in love and married one another. As you can see, the couple plays a passive role in that relationship. No individuality. No control.

The cartoon of Leunig is a metaphor giving a visual statement of thematic concern of “Televistas”. It features a father and a son viewing the sunset on television while the real sunset is occurring outside their window. The father and son indulge in the glorious view of sunset shown on television, the agent of consumerism. Yet if they turn their heads outside the window, the reality, the sunset is much bigger, wider and more glorious. Isn’t true that the “view” presented by consumerism is just a fraction of reality?

In the second poem “Breakthrough”, Dawe employed black humour through the image of a “little girl died in hospital singing an advertisement commercial” to further paints the negative nature of consumerism. The girl’s death, something that is regarded as tragic has been manipulated and exploited by the commercial created by companies and marketers. They turn death into going to heaven with their products to gain sale appeal.

The marketers and companies show little concern or any emotion at all for the girl’s death. They regards it strictly as a scene as they “stand by for action” and supports with background music by guitars and choir group.

Likewise, in the poem “Attack on the Ad Man”, Tesimond label Ad man as capable of “manipulates the truth” and “knows how to hide an inconvenient fact”. This can be compared to those marketers and companies who give the impression that the girl is going to heaven not dying.

Tesimond suggests that the ad-man metaphorically big companies will deceive, attack your feelings and so on until you buy and continue to buy the products. It can be seen through these two poems that money is the motive of all things in consumerism and nothing matters.

In summing it up, consumerism is under strong criticism of Dawe.

But want it or not, we are living in a materialistic world. Dawe’s poems, although sarcastic, are not to condemn but rather reconcile, not to criticize but to encourage us to use consumerism in a good cause.

We create therefore let us control.

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