Metaphorically speaking, Las Vegas and Grillz are one in of the same. Sure it's stretch, since one is a city and the other an accessory, but otherwise speaking both are a mirage masking reality. Las Vegas neutralizes the natural beauty the Mojave Dessert by covering cacti with casinos, while Grillz conceal one's natural beauty with a golden façade.
So while on Spring Break in Las Vegas what seems like eons ago, I was approached by a English man who said "You American women have such nice teeth. Can I lick you teeth?" My response was no, since the dude was annihilated and his approach was rather forward. But looking back, his sentiments have resonated with me, as I pride myself on oral hygiene.
Teeth have played a pivotal role in the history of mankind, still today they determine the quality and length of one's life. Thanks to evolution, humans stepped out of the dark ages and to stand in a world where malleable metals could be used the cap and preserve teeth. It is through the analysis of Neanderthal teeth, that we we were able to better understand our ancestors, their diet and length of maturation. And aside from utility, teeth are form of physical capital thus identifying a healthy diet and lifestyle. The Mayan Empire's inserted gems directly into one's teeth not as a marking of socio-economic statuses but for sheer decoration. And although this was thousands of years ago, the cultural modification of teeth is still popular today.
Grillz otherwise seen as teeth plated with precious metals and gems made their debut in the 1980s alongside Hip Hop. Although commonly associated with rappers and basketball icons, both women and men, as well as rich and poor partake in this fashion trend. One might presume Grillz are a social status indicator because they are expensive and made from luxury materials. However unlike a Rolex, Fronts are not often considered an investment even though they are made from stable commodities such as gold and diamonds. In fact, investing in one's own teeth via regular dental check-ups, braces, bleaching, and veneers may prove more lucrative in the long run.
The American Dental Association neither condones nor condems the use of Grillz or Fronts and although no formal study has been conducted, they felt the need to release as statement addressing the risks. Permanent and removable Grillz can scratch enamel, damage gum and tongue tissue, along with increase the risk for chipped teeth. Grillz are a magnet for collecting plaque, food, and other debree, which when compounded with metal can create infection, allegic reactions, and acidic compounds.
It is often said that your eyes and teeth are the first thing people notice about you. However if your Grillz smell of garlic, it is more likely you're breath preceded you. Halitosis is no joke, and millions battle this disorder daily. So why encourage your chances for cavities, root canals, loss of teeth, less make-out sessions. If you ever had the luxury of braces, headgear, and or a retainer (like me) you'll never forget the annoying nature of having extra stuff in your mouth. So do yourself as well as your kissing companion a favor, save some money and say fuck the fronts.
100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.