Tis the season to be merry, shop ‘till you drop; but stop, stop, stop.


(To tune of Imagination by Jimmy Van Heusen & Johnny Burke (1940))

Accumulation is silly.
If Ben has much more than Willie.
He’ll think he’s better until he
is planted six feet underground.

Accumulation if mindless.
A mass consumption fed blindness.
If you find more or find less.
You don’t keep what you’ve found.

People rushing, running, shopping, buying,
on Thanksgiving day.
No one thinking, is accumulating OK?

Accumulation is dangerous.
A devilish drug that will change us.
To ourselves become strangers.
High’s the cost.
While we’re accumulating, our values are lost.

Lyric © 2015 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved


It seems to me that today’s world is more about material things than ideas.
We consume, are taught and encouraged to consume.  Instead of thinking about the world we self-indulge in our own world.  Twitter messages or Facebook posts cannot convey the insights and ideas of the likes of Joseph Conrad, “The horror, the horror!” (Heart of Darkness), Victor Hugo, “The miserable,” (Les Miserables) or Dostoyevsky, “The Grand Inquisitor,” (The Brothers Karamazov).  As a culture we are no longer reading serious writers with serious ideas.  We amuse ourselves.  But, amusement distracts from what is important in the world.  Absent our own ideas, germinated from interacting with great minds, we adopt the media spin.  We accept propaganda as truth.  We relish chain emails that reinforce our narrow-minded views.  In doing so, we sell our souls to the devil.  We slowly yet certainly eviscerate our treasured democracy.



(To tune of “But Not for Me,” by George and Ira Gershwin)

Don’t know what’s good for me
So they decide
Don’t know what I should be
So they decide

I live in ignorance
A dull consuming trance
No will to take a chance
So I abide

Don’t know the price I pay
When I agree
Go shopping twice a day
That’s being free?

But freedom’s all amiss
When ignorance is bliss
Then I don’t even miss
What’s good for me.

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved


The theme of this post is related to that of my earlier post, “Taught to Buy.”  I was reading a magazine article last weekend that highlighted stylish clothing for the summer.  It started me thinking about fashion trends.  Are not the most fashionable simply the first to conform to fashion dictates of the season?  Follow the designer’s latest fad or be “out-of-style.”  Wear clothes that  fit the formulated trend and you’re “in.”  But, do not these constantly changing commandments from the fashion Gods make you feel just a bit manipulated?       

(To tune of “How About You,” by Burton Lane and R. Freed)

The Fashionista is
First to conform
Swayed by the fashion biz
To be first to conform

The fashion industry
Springs its yearly storm
New shades and lengths of hem
Who’ll strut out wearing them?
The first to conform

What’s wrong with that old suit?
Once made her smile
Why should she give a hoot?
If it’s yesterday’s style

In the Salvation Army bag
Threads with a pricey tag
Some barely worn
There to be first to conform

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved


This post was derived from  a phrase in “The Call of the Toad,” in which novelist Gunter Grass writes of “succumbing compulsively, as it were, to the principle of capitalist accumulation.”  Consumers swarm the malls like locusts buying up everything in sight, mostly stuff they don’t need.  The buying frenzy creates jobs; the jobs beget more consumers; who, in turn, buy more stuff they don’t need – none of this activity adding to happiness or enriching existence in any meaningful way – simply an endless cycle of consumption.  Should we not ask ourselves, to what purpose a life, to seek vibrancy in what is high and noble, or to sleep-walk through our consuming diversion? 

(To tune of, “Who Will Buy?”  by Lionel Bart, from musical show, “Oliver”)

What I buy
Hangs in my closet
Why I buy?
I don’t know why
I have eyes
I see and I want it
I’m a creature
Taught to buy

I get high
Wanting new fashions
Firms supply
Knowing my need
Won’t deny
These insecure passions
We’re a culture
Built on greed

Yet this consuming weaves no pleasure
Leaves me always lonely here
With what I’ve lugged home as a treasure
That I will throw away next year

What I buy
Dangles on my wrist
No alibis
Won’t try to resist
Spend don’t save
The board-rooms encourage
Like a slave who’s
Soul has died,
Lives a creature
Taught to buy

Lyric © 2013 by Robert S. Steinberg, Esquire
All rights reserved