Mac, Money, and Excess

Make sure you read my Facebook status on what I've been up to and how the family is doing. The last thing I want to do is not blog for a couple months and then jump right into a philosophical treatise. But this news story has been spinning around inside my head since I first heard about it.

Dr. Dre is a billionaire. Yup, that's right.

How many dollars is a poor white baby worth? How many dollars is a poor Guatemalan baby worth? How much is being seen with the latest iPhone in your hand worth? Which would you rather have, the latest Beats headphones or the cure to cancer? I seriously think a lot of society would pick the headphones.

And I don't say all this in the "Christian Children's Fund" half hour-long TV commercial type of guilt tactic way. I say it in the real life, every day, I really suck at this, how do we make the world an okay place to live type of way.

Although I am an avowed Apple addict, news of their latest purchase has me scratching my head as to the worth of money vs. image vs. my life priorities. In case you haven't heard, Apple has purchased Dr. Dre’s Beats Audio for $3.2 billion. Yes that's with a capital B. 

Beats Audio is the brand of the chunky headphones you see celebrities and top end athletes wearing. It is also a streaming music service (such as Spotify) that could reinvigorate the 10-year-old iTunes store, and maybe above all… really cool… providing access to a demographic that Apple has lost.

1. CNN Report

2. Public Reacts

Quickly browse through these videos. Can you believe $3.5 billion?

3. Commercial back when iPod had its swagger

Now I don't blame Apple or Dr. Dre really. This is market capitalism baby! And although I don't like all of what has come from capitalism, we can see that through history humanity hasn't ever come up with anything better. What breaks my heart is I don't know what to do about it.

I see Dre and Tyrese celebrating and part of me can't help but smile. But part of me wants to scream, "There is something so much more valuable for you then $3.5 billion!" The way that Dre acts, and his language concerning his success would not be surprising to most of society. How can the kingdom of God intersect with this attitude?

And part of me wants to yell to all of our high school students, "There is something more than the latest headphones and the latest iPhone!" But Don Draper and the rest of the ad execs on Madison Avenue, have learned so much about psychology, sociology, and impulse buying that most of us can't see past the next iPhone, Nalgene bottle, or Avenger Movie. (dare I say Bethel Worship CD, Christian?). 

How do we avoid from buying into this? I completely admit, I want every new Apple product that comes out. With how good advertisers have become (whether it's traditional marketing and advertising or more grassroots or even more guerrilla style) do we really have much control at all?

Should I give up on my hopes of seeing societal change in what we value?  I don't think many of us even realize how dysfunctional we are. How do I best play my part in making that change come about?

A Change Is Gonna Come

Posted on May 12, 2014 .