i juxtapose this with no logo for the following reasons. whereas no logo is radical, thorough, wide-ranging and empowering, judith levine’s not buying it is whatever words occur to you as the opposite of those preceding. i probably deserved what i got for buying this. i assumed that this book would be at least predominantly one of the following: a) radical, b) inspiring, c) instructive, d) entertaining, e) heart-warming. but i did not feel radicalised, inspired, instructed, entertained or heart-warmed by it in the least.
not buying it is a title which speaks to radicalism, but levine’s method wasn’t aimed at, or informed by radicalism at all. levine allowed herself to buy things, albeit basic ones. however, these things weren’t necessarily radical in themselves, like fruit trees. she still bought food (though restricted types) and other necessities. this strategy raises the question of what her goal is – to actively and sustainably reduce materialist wastage? or ‘just to see’? there is no question that not buying it treads the latter path, which makes for minimal education and challenge.
equally ambivalent is levine’s writing style. occasionally her use of personal anecdotes as jumping boards for wider discussion of consumption and capitalism works, but it doesn’t happen enough. there are lots of cute stories about making gifts for family members and joining non-consumption groups that fall slightly flat once you realise levine has a limit in terms of how far she’s willing to go. at the resolution of levine’s travails, her relief is palpable, which is discouraging to say the least.
end with a ready-made joke right here: