How does "Televistas" by Bruce Dawe relate to consumerism?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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For Dawe, one of the conditions of the modern setting is the presence of commodities having supplanted a domain of human affection.  "Televistas" reflects this.  The discussion of love and human emotion can only take place in accordance to the consumerist venue of television.  The opening of the poem relates to consumerism by making the boy and girl products of different television manufacturing companies.  Human identity and its complexities are reduced to " Sanyo-oriented" and "Rank-Arena bred."  

Their entire relationship spans and relates to the television programming.  The innocence of love is reduced to cartoonish exaggerations, such as Bugs Bunny and Tweety Bird.  Love and its primal need to be expressed is done so Right between the Carol Burnett/ And the David Nixon Show."  The act of communion between both lovers lies in sharing "a Samboy,/ Crunching in the afterglow."  Consumerism has enabled love to develop.  Dawe is making a statement on how we as human beings are no longer in control of the medium of television and its communication of consumerist notions of the good.  It is in control of us, reflected in the poem.  Consumerism has made the experience of love calculated, focus group tested, and "brought to you by" coporate sponsorship. Television has become the background of the young lovers' lives, something that tells them what to do, think, buy, and eat.  Human voice has been replaced by a consumerist one even in the most human emotion of "love."

Both lovers do not seem to be emotionally invested in one another. They construct reality in accordance to what is featured on the television and presented to them in consumerist society.  Like objects, both are shown to be overcome by consumerism.  The lovers are only able to connect to one another through it.  The ending is one in which their love is bound until the next television show.  This helps to convey how Dawe is pleading for stemming the tide of consumerist consumption in order for individuals to reclaim some sense of activity over their lives.