Your Body as a Billboard

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One of the key ideas of my book, The Divine Commodity, is the reduction of sacred things to commodities. A commodity by definition has little or no inherent value; it’s value is assigned or determined by what it can be exchanged for. For example, we do not value a ten dollar bill because of the inherent value of the paper, ink, or design of the object. We value a ten dollar bill for what it might be exchanged for- a night at the cinema, an overpriced drink at Starbucks, or a few gallons of gasoline.

The problem is when we make sacred things into commodities. When we no longer see God as inherently worthy of our worship because of who he is but because of what we believe he can do for us, he becomes a divine commodity (hence the title of my book.) But we do the same thing to people created in God’s image. Whether it’s a corporation reducing people to a means of production, a society reducing unborn children to “tissue,” or churches reducing families to “giving units,” we live in an age when human beings carry no inherent value. They are expendable commodities whose value is determined by their usefulness.

Now The New York Times is reporting on a new trend- the use of bodies as billboards. People are being paid by corporations to put temporary tattoos on their bodies as advertisements. The trend seems to have started with creative people on eBay. Back in 2005, Andrew Fischer sold space on his forehead for $37,000 for one month. But now PR firms are getting in on the action. Air New Zealand is paying people to shave their heads for what they call “cranial billboards.” The message, painted on their back of the head with henna, reads “Need A Change? Head Down to New Zealand” with the airline’s website.

Read the entire article here.