Friday, May 30, 2008

conscience over mind control

I find this exercise revealing in many ways. I had mentioned in class that I really needed someone to go to the the Kanye concert with me, so a concerned student asked me today (also in class) if I had found someone yet. I was bummed to report all my friends are anti-hip hop, have hip problems, or simply too old to hop. Then began the pity party that poor me has to go to the concert by my lonesome. But in this moment of bourgeoise privilege whining, I thought to myself, "how much energy and other resources will this concert consume"? It didn't make me feel good at all.

But really, I was thinking about the concept of need and want. We so desperately feel we need: to be at a historical concert when we can watch it on video; get that cute pair of shoes when we have over 30 pairs already; hit a sale simply because items are cheap; keep up with a trend knowing you'll only wear the outfit once or twice before it's considered dated; keep up with our collections of shoes, jeans, brushes...What of this list do we really need?

If as Kondo discussed, the national aesthetics of Japan is western forms of modernity, I think the global aesthetic is a 'for sale' sign. It's not enough to know we can afford cheap things, a lot of cheap things, we also need to validate this reality on a daily basis. If Neissen suggests a re-orienting of fashion to include discussions from the east, I ask if we can re-orient our minds away from the culture of consumption.

One suggestion is we need to stop defending our additions like it's a nation, sports team or even our identity. We are all victims of and contributors to consumer culture, but hardly clever enough to break away from it. Instead, we use our analytical skills to justify our purchases and defend or habits.

A (really green) friend of mine lamented this evening that there are too many folks who claim to care for the environment but they haven't given up anything. They may trade in their SUV for a hybrid but their driving time remains. That's not a sacrifice. In the end, the only "sacrifice" we will make is letting go of the notions of want and need. Maybe by starting this way, we will understand what we really must give up to make a dent in our new found convictions.

Hey, David, Nike is your slave name. Remove the shackles and stop worshiping the likes of marketing ponds like Kobe (though he's one wealthy pond with his endorsements, his jump is still fake). Instead, keep in mind that there exists many genuine muses worthy of inspiration, like the "Urban Ninja". See below.

1 comment:

Kenneth Tupea said...

Interesting to say the least, short, sweet, and to the point.