How does Dawe's poetry challenge us to be critical of consumerism?
Consumerism is the process of selling, advertising and promoting goods and services. Society tends to become acquisitive, that is, it becomes a desire to acquire and possess goods and services. Consumerism is suggested to be an obsessive consumption of goods because of the 'ism' associated. Bruce Dawe describes the negative aspects of consumerism in the poems: Enter Without So Much As Knocking; Televistas and Americanized.
Dawe expresses Enter Without So Much As Knocking in a negative feature. The title of the poem suggests how consumerism has made itself welcome in society. The poem begins with the birth of a child whose first thing he hears is a consumer show, with host Bobby Dazzler. In this scenario Dawe bases consumerism as the most important thing in one's life in a humourous way by exaggerating that a child hears a game show before his parent's voices.
The surname of the host Bobby Dazzler is not a genuine name; Dawe is suggesting that the name was given because of his 'dazzling' ability to dazzle the audience. The title also shows that Bobby Dazzler Entered in the child's life without so much as knocking. Bobby Dazzler's first line of the show is "Hello, Hello... all you lucky people" suggesting his low interest in the consumers, which also represents today's sellers. Sellers attain no interest to what you purchase as long as you buy something. Dawe also expresses that consumerism has been introduced into this person's life with consumer descriptions of his parents - "One economy sized Mum and One Anthony-Squirrel Cool stream summer weight Dad." Dawe uses metaphorical descriptions of products to describe his parents, where he also uses the siblings as products "along with two other kids straight off the Department Rack" which suggests that they have been bought off the shelf, just like they have been bought / influenced by consumerism.
Dawe continues to add humour by the use of advertising in his poetry, "When Mum... shopping in the good-as-new-station (lb 495 at Reno's). The aspect of consumerism is expressed in a negative way through this poem showing how the poem is the process of one's life as it follows the "Work, Consume, Die" motto. Our lives are dominated by the 'rules' of consumerism, "BEEP BEEP...
No Parking... ." This dominance of consumerism is also shown in Televistas. The title Televistas can be separated into two different words, tele- meaning television and vista meaning outlook. The word Televistas therefore means television outlook, where the word has been exaggerated to show Dawe's criticism of consumerism.
The opening stanza begins with "She was Sanyo-oriented... He was Rank-Arena bred" which describes the background of the characters through the use of metaphorical descriptions of televisions. The meeting of the two characters is from a broken / faulty television, which has lead to the female inviting her male companion. The poem follows a pathos scenario where the two characters meet up because of a faulty television, and then continue their lives watching happy shows like David Nixon Show and Carol Burnett. The poem Televistas also concerns the process of life through the descriptions of television and its use. Dawe uses the television shows as a symbol of the relationship's status.
It begins with Bugs and Daffy, Sylvester and Tweety-pie, which shows how both characters had childish minds and childish ways. As time moved on, shows like Carol Burnett and David Nixon Show - "happy shows" indicated the status and position of the relationship, and as it continued on more mature movies and shows were watched - The Mummy's Hand; Candid Camera; The Many Faces. The fourth stanza of the poem shows the problem, which is experienced in the relationship; Dawe adds irony to it by showing the problem on Candid Camera. The last stanza predicts when they will meet again that is, in the movie World at War, which is also in reference to the determination of the status of the relationship. Dawe's poetry shows his criticism by television shows as processes of life, he expresses this in a humourous way to show tease to consumerism. However, shows that are mentioned in the poem are by the influences of the United States, which is further shown in the poem "Americanized." The title and word Americanized, shows the influence of America on everything including the author.
The British and Australian style of spelling the word is Americanized. In the poem the mother of child is a symbol of the United States showing her dominance as a higher and more intelligent federation. The child is a symbol of a nation, which has been completely dominated by American civilization. The first stanza describes of how the mother loves her child, and how both people are happy in their current position.
It shows how a normal mother would treat and raise their child, however as he is bound to leave, his mother will not allow him out: "The streets are full of nasty cars and men." This line concerning nasty cars and men may be an indication of how the U. S are rebellious against communism, symbolizing that nasty cars and men is communism. "'Today,' she tells him, putting on her hat (she's off to nurse an invalid called the World) 'Today, I'll let you play with Mummy's things.' " A mother with an infant child would not leave him alone at home while she aids others. This quote indicates how America raises a country just like a mother raising her child and then leaves without care onto another country. Dawe expresses America's dominance as 'uncaring' and careless. "Toys that mark his short life" shows how products and technology become obsolete compared with America's products.
America's /mothers goods are those of American companies like Pepsi-Cola, Spam, Chewing gum, hot dogs, electronic brain. These products are ones, which influence and colonize other 'infant' countries. Dawe expresses this allegorical poem in the same way as a process of life, except he symbolizes how American culture is spreading, just like a mother's figure being passed on to her child. He is criticizing consumerism by representing Australia or any nation as the infant and America as the mother. Dawe shows how he is critical of consumerism through the metaphorical descriptions in the poems: Enter without so much knocking, Televistas and Americanized.
He expresses his criticism in humourous ways using consumer products and influences as symbols of today's society, symbolizing how TV is a major influence of society in Dawe's day and age. But as technology is excelling till this present day, as described in Americanized, society is becoming more dependent on different and improved mediums from more industrialized nations - today we are dependent on the internet just like how Dawe's society was dependant on television.