I remember once, a couple of months ago, I was walking through Selfridges in London with a friend of mine. We were basically killing time while I was trying to decide whether to buy something or not. Anyway, she pointed out this godawful pair of shoes, and told me that they were the most expensive brand of shoes in the world. I looked at them, and its not like they were made of gold foil or diamond or anything.
So why would a pair of shoes cost that much? Branding. I dont remember the designer's name, but I want that. I want to be able to make something thats just like everything else on the market, stamp my name on it, and voila! Its value increases by ten thousand percent. That's what this guys done. And, sneaky bugger, he gets away with it too. People actually buy these shoes. Why? Because in our capitalist society, wealth is status, money is power. Gucci wallets or sunglasses or whatever are not 'better' than others. Your Gucci wallet does not hold more money, and those Gucci sunglasses are not more protective than others. You wear them because society dictates that if you do, you're acceptable. Because it means you have money.
Think Rolex. Maybe once upon a time, Rolex was quality, but now its all about status. About being a rich banker or golfer or whatever. I think every industry has its ridiculously overpriced, status-bearing brands. Thats just the way it goes. I know someone who called her pet cat Gucci. I think thats overdoing it, you know, juuuust a little. To what extremes do you have to go to feel accepted in modern society? Call your cat Gucci? You may as well call your kid Gucci - I would not be one itty bitty bit suprised.
But why Gucci, why not other 'great' people? Nobody calls their cat Hosni Mubarak! Nobody calls their kid Marie Curie or Yeats! I don't understand this obsession with the material, but capitalist society seems to thrive on it. It survives because of our tendency to give importance to these things - Gucci, for example. I remember reading a book where there was this society where everybody, by law, had to spend a certain amount of their salary each month on consumer goods. I believe it was called a Corprocracy. Coffee wasn't coffee, it was Starbucks. I had a Starbucks. TV wasnt TV, it was SonyScreen. Radio was something else I think.
I wish I would have said all that to her when we were looking at those shoes. Maybe she would have agreed with me. Maybe she would have given me a strange look and said 'whatever'. I dont know. I do know that I missed my chance to find out. All I said at the time was 'Uh-huh...ummm...yeah nice shoes.'
Posted by illogicist at 1:17 AM