Archive for March, 2011

damn that’s eerie

Does anyone else get the eerie feeling that many of the things we once considered objects (spatulas, staplers, small tools, barbecues, kitchen appliances) are now just facsimiles of objects? I noticed this a lot during the holiday shopping season. Stores were filled with aisles, displays and shelves of things that weren’t so much actual gifts as the ideas of gifts. While a cutlery set from Walmart may satisfy the requirements of usual and customary holiday proceedings, it doesn’t benefit the receiver in any real way. They can’t say “I now have a cutlery set.” The only thing they can say is, “Someone wanted to get me a cutlery set and gave me something that resembled one.”

I'm not a real blender, I just play one on television!

This idea certainly doesn’t apply only to things that are given as gifts. It applies to more and more of the “objects” I see for sale these days. I feel every time I need something, I am faced with more choices than ever before, but each of them is only a composition of plastic, metal and circuitry that temporarily alleviates my perceived need for said item and NOTHING MORE. Like a prop.

My boyfriend recently purchased a smoker (the kind that smokes meat, not a real live smoking person. Unfortunately, he has no need for a human smoker because he is already his own.) It had all the requisite elements that would lead one to believe the object was genuine: it was sold in a store for money, it came in a box, its various parts assembled into the appropriate and promised shape of a smoker. Upon use, the jig was up. The thing immediately proved itself to be an imposter, nothing more than a conglomeration of parts and fittings. You see, the sides were too thin to retain the necessary heat, the legs failed to maintain a relationship with the body…actually, that’s where my knowledge of smokers and their parts ends. But that should be enough to illustrate my point:  this item was not what it claimed to be. Holding things upright is the non-negotiable responsibility of a leg! Retaining heat is a core function of a wall! We returned the thing immediately and blamed ourselves for buying the cheap one. But on closer inspection, it turned out that even the not-cheap ones suffered the same setbacks. I believe the prices of these items- and a host of others ranging from home furnishings to clothing- are purely psychological.

So does anyone know where I can buy real things? (That is not an attempt at a witty closure, I really do want to know.)

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