Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Check this out:
Pierced Eyeglasses. A brilliant idea. Attaching eyeglasses to a bridge piercing. Fantastic. So subtle. So lovely.
I'm all super-excited about them (not necessarily for me, but as something I'd love to see all over the place, like iPods).
In other news, here's an article about how we all (good lefties, good anti-consumerists, rebels to the end, baby*) can't stop buying things (like me with my new iPod).
Check it out, yo:
What american beauty illustrates, with extraordinary clarity, is that rebelling against mass society is not the same thing as rebelling against consumer society. Through his rebellion, Lester goes from being right-angle square to dead cool. This is reflected in his consumption choices. Apart from the new car, he develops a taste for very expensive marijuana—$2,000 an ounce, we are told, and very good. “This is all I ever smoke,” his teenaged dealer assures him. Welcome to the club, where admission is restricted to clients with the most discriminating taste. How is this any different from Frasier and Niles at their wine club?
What we need to see is that consumption is not about conformity, it’s about distinction. People consume in order to set themselves apart from others. To show that they are cooler (Nike shoes), better connected (the latest nightclub), better informed (single-malt Scotch), morally superior (Guatemalan handcrafts), or just plain richer (bmws).
The problem is that all of these comparative preferences generate competitive consumption. “Keeping up with the Joneses,” in today’s world, does not always mean buying a tract home in the suburbs. It means buying a loft downtown, eating at the right restaurants, listening to obscure bands, having a pile of Mountain Equipment Co-op gear and vacationing in Thailand. It doesn’t matter how much people spend on these things, what matters is the competitive structure of the consumption. Once too many people get on the bandwagon, it forces the early adopters to get off, in order to preserve their distinction. This is what generates the cycles of obsolescence and waste that we condemn as “consumerism.” ---
Anyway. Some holiday reading. I really should be working on that paper, shouldn't I?
* Not "rebel to the end" in the sense of a Southern rebel, of course. Far, far from it. Obviously.
jane 11:02 AM [+]