Please, sir, may I have some more please? looks at how material culture is ingrained in us from an early age. When I was a child, my mother had a subscription to McCall’s magazine. Each month when the magazine arrived, I would tear through the pages looking for the Betsy McCall paper dolls. I cut the dolls and dresses out and kept them in a gift box. Although I had many dresses for the dolls, I wanted more. I pored through Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogues looking for dresses that would fit my dolls. Looking back on it, I realize that I wanted to be Betsy McCall. I wanted to have her beautiful clothes; to lead her beautiful life. I didn’t think about need at that time. I only thought about my desire.
Many years later, my mother gave me that box of paper dolls. She had saved them for me. I didn’t know what to do with them so they sat on a shelf occupying space. I’m not sure why I kept them. Maybe because she saved them thinking they were important to me, or maybe because when I looked at them I saw my childhood desires. Today, when I look at them, I see how material culture is ingrained in us from a young age. We raise children to be voracious consumers without thinking about the effects of that consumption on the environment.