Nothing in this blog can be believed. If you think that anything in this blog is true or factual, you'll need to verify it from another source. Do you understand? No? Then read it again, and repeat this process, until you understand that you cannot sue me for anything you read here. Also, having been sucked into taking part in the mass-murder of more than 3 million Vietnamese people on behalf of U.S. Big Business "interests", I'm as mad as a cut snake (and broke) so it might be a bit silly to try to sue me anyway...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

consume, be silent, die...

It all started with the editorial in Wednesday Nov 16th Sydney Morning Herald. Blame them. In a blurt about Telstra, they used the phrase "...a magical new world of digital connectedness for consumers..." And that's where I lost it...

Consumers? Consumers? CONSUMERS?

We're not people anymore, we're consumers. We are to consume. Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to consume or die!

And I was ranting to my poor, much-pitied, much-suffering partner, who mentioned the phrase "consume, be silent, die" and duely sent me off to Google to find the author.

Well, I failed.

But I did find the following:

A photo of Benny Zable, Australian environment and peace activist. The first word which is partly obscured is "GreeDozer" (as in GreeDozer The Company).

And then there's the punk band "Man Will Destroy Himself". They have an album out titled "Consume...Be Silent...Die..."

And there's a neat and apropos poem by Bruce Dawe in some notes which dissect it for HSC students. The poem doesn't mention "consume, be silent, die" as such but the dissecter uses it in a fashion which seems to be saying "everyone knows this phrase so I won't display my anality by actually mentioning who its author is."

And there were lots of other references to "consume, be silent, die" but none which gave me a clue to the phrase's author.

So, me little lovlies, who is the author?


Blogger GreenSmile said...

We yanks have been consumers for decades.
The permanent nature of this shift is now, lingusiticly engraved in our government agency names: Consumer Product Safety Commission etc.

It all got started innocently enough by Ralph Nader, whose work has been institutionalized in the Consumer Reports organization and its publications. But what started as a crusade against the greed and disregard for product liabilty on the part of large coroporations has lulled us into loosing the distinction between "consumer" and "citizen". The latter is a role most of us, if you consider the shit our politicians get away with, have abandoned.

November 21, 2005 4:20 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

The only term which makes me madder than the word "consumer" does is "the economy". Like, we're expected to sanction mass murder (and to die) in the name of this thing called "the economy".


November 21, 2005 9:47 AM  
Blogger the urban fox said...

I agree 100%. "Consumer" and "customer" drive me insane too. What happened to "the people" or "the public"?

Great photo too, Gerry.

November 23, 2005 3:28 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

I want to go back to being called a patient not a health consumer!

November 23, 2005 6:09 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Yes, Fox, Ron, that's my point. We've been consumerised... Literally...

But can none of you guys (including Greensmile, and all the sandbaggers too) tell me who the author of the expression "consume, be silent, die" is?

November 23, 2005 11:13 AM  
Blogger Ron said...

The best I can come up with, Gerry, is this:

"Work. Consume. Be silent. And die."


November 23, 2005 9:46 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

Or how about this:

"Man Will Destroy Himself silent...die"
Extremely Baked Records

November 23, 2005 9:49 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

I am sure you have trod on this path before me!

"A History of the Australian Environment Movement devoted eight pages to the NSW
campaign, quoting data from the Colong publication. The authors concluded that the
blockade radically changed the nature of campaigning for nature conservation in that:
direct action in a forest dispute was novel and the Terania Creek protest showed the effectiveness of theatre in
getting the conservation message to the public. The protesters staged set-piece actions, using non-violent
methods, to convey their moral objection to logging. As well they had the doleful Benny Zable, artist and
Nimbin resident, wearing a gas mask and a black costume on which was printed WORK, CONSUME, BE
SILENT, DIE – I rely on your apathy, it’s costing the earth."

November 23, 2005 9:57 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

Summer Nights

Somnambulist of the frittering days,
Largesse of spirit dumped,
Full house of the gleaming nightmares —
What mysteries are borne
On this hot circuit,
Arteries flash-flooding
Then drying up the dams behind your eyes.

For all these sheeted ramblings
A hired fool performs,
But when the acid sky
Pits each bedroom's inner springs
Your soul is studded bloodily
And melancholy fills the fierce horizon.

Here a king and queen
Stand in swirls of wheat,
Their Magna Carta setting down
A sunset clause extended,
Containing sure decay.
They order tax, obedience:
Consume, be silent, die.

And we obey,
Even though a cataclysm
Barges the heart
And a passionate retrospect
Tells us something important came
Between the sperm and flame.

Acrid dream.
Sitting up in a sweat,
It's morning, and the air scorches.

November 23, 2005 10:04 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

"Back in the seventies, there was a piece of graffiti that spread around the world. It said simply "Consume, Be Silent, Die"

November 23, 2005 10:06 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

The graffiti angle continues:

"A few years ago there was a graffito that some urban philosopher had sprayed on a wall at Central Railway Station. It said simply, in a silent challenge to the commuters walking past it, 'Consume, Be Silent, Die.' Consume, be silent, die. That was that anonymous graffiti artist's summary of life. He was obviously suffering the same kind of angst as our ancient writer here."

November 23, 2005 10:07 PM  
Blogger Ron said...

Ahh .. a slight variation:


November 23, 2005 10:10 PM  
Blogger Link said...

Fortuntely for us consumers we hold the keys of power as we can decide to stop consuming. Indeed its the only power we actually have. The power of the consumer in a consumer driven society should not be underestimated.

Big biz rully fealise this and is sared skitless and so voila we now face the prospect all sorts of draconian constraints being delivered up to us to interfere with our thinking and keep us in check about possibly protesting this ship of fools. Throw in a hefty dose of fear and loathing and we's all will become compliant, terrified, little submariner consumers.

Soncumers of the world unite, throw out your tamsa seen telees and coybot Coollies and Wolls. We can win the war on the world!

(as you can see this subject so hear to my dart makes me incoherant with rage)

November 24, 2005 7:44 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Ron, thanks heaps. But does it really mean there is no acknowledged author for this wonderful piece of wit? I was SO hoping some brilliant writer ahd thought it up.

Link, sell waid!!

November 24, 2005 8:01 AM  
Blogger hottr6 said...

I spray painted "Consume, be silent, die" on the entrance to a train tunnel near Homebush in mid-1974. I don't remember where it came from; probably from too much weed.

January 24, 2007 7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did a little research and started a
Wikipedia page based on it. Please add there anything you find! (Early dated photos of GreeDozer would be great.)

October 20, 2011 8:07 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Thanks for the update, Anon. Well done!

October 23, 2011 12:40 AM  

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