When I was child I spent a great deal of time at my neighbors hunting lodge "The Sugar Shack" in Farmville Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Clark Lowe, better known as Bear and Betty (i.e. hunting nickname) were my neighbors in Richmond/Chesterfield Virginia. As early as 6 years old, I distinctly remember running to my mother to show her a deer I'd found. Just imagine a cute little girl in a Sunday School dress beaming ear to ear with a smile, running across a wheat field, while carrying a freshly killed dear head still dripping blood and covered in fur. Now whether or not I knew the deer was dead is beyond me.
Even though I've never been hunted and only fired a gun once, hunting is somehow integrated into my life. During college my idiot neighbor decided to gut and drain a deer by hanging it from a ladder outside my bedroom. Mind you this was in alley behind my Fan row-house in the city of Richmond Virginia. Although completely disgusting and inappropriate, I am accustom to game; to venison meatballs and venison ravioli, to squirrel brunswick stew, moose jerky, duck confit, gator bites, and roasted rabbit.
While keeping with ideal of local, natural, organic, minimally processed meat wild game and hunting is not only helping feed America but also a solution for starving animals. In preparation for this piece, I took it upon myself to review the US Census's 2011 Survey of US Fish & Wildlife Services where over 13 million people hunted for a total of 282 million days ing 2011. With this they spent close to $43.2 billion was spent on equipment alone. If only my college neighbor had sacrificed some cash on acquiring the proper gear as well as using it in a better location.
The hunting market is primed with products; from guns to all terrain vehicles. Apparently much like dating, you have to remove and add scents to attract animals. Along with decoys such as fake trees and animals you have to blend into the environment. Camouflage is a must from infant onesies to lingerie. Sure having a baby on a tree strand, holding a gun seems ridiculous, but someone's probably doing it, or why would they make kids camo? Since hunting season typically takes place in the fall and early winter, camo bathing suits and underwear make a lot of sense. Harvest season and Thanksgiving would be nothing without it. As for the battle over gun rights, there may never be a meeting point for conservatives and liberals unless they get together over a nice bowl of squirrel soup or a local turkey.
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.