Have you ever hung out with 50,000 people? Maybe at a music festival or at a Red Cross Shelter during a catastrophic tragedy, oddly some folks pay money to do this. I on the other-hand try to avoid it. This may sound odd coming from someone living in NYC/Brooklyn, but being surrounded by people is my greatest fear. If you've ever been to a Phish show or been evacuated because of a hurricane, you'll soon realize the similarities in such activities. Both events require there to be no functioning facilities, food and water are scarce, mud is everywhere, while everyone acting like a raving lunatic. Now if it's an actual disaster, most people are suffering from pure shock and unbridled terror and loss. While if it's Bonnarroo it's most likely overly intoxicated individuals coping with terrible music and hordes of people.
When I was a teenager my mother brought me up from Richmond Virginia to watch the ball drop for New Year's Eve. I had never been so thrilled, terrified, and cold in my life. Beside watching people pee into a top hat, this was not the place for a 15 year old girl. Then I took the liberty of selling grill cheeses to the masses at Bonnarroo only to realize how vast Tennessee is. This fizzled after having lived in NYC for over 10 years, where you soon realize that Friday and Saturday nights are the worst nights to go out, and at any given moment you're surround by thousands of people. Are we getting too old for lines? Well worth it for the recent Cooper Hewitt opening, not so much for Bang On's Halloween Bonanza.
Anyway, this past weekend was the douche-st of douche events Santa-Con. It boggles my mind that 10s of thousands of folks pour into the city every year, dressed like a saint ready to drink like the devil. Bill Murray couldn't even keep up. So with this event comes commerce with bars making millions, but the price of a Santa-Con spiced cider doesn't even compare to need to be quarantined afterwards. Sure the idea of having Santa-Con proceeds benefit a charity but does that matter when the outcome is an idiot convention featuring binge drinking, vomiting, urinating in public, deification in public, homophobia, rape, fights, ticketing, and anything coming close to a riot. Sure having to remodel your bar's bathroom because Bozo went bananas barfing doesn't seem that bad, but what is next? The New York times recently wrote about how it might best if we ban this event all together, but shockingly enough Police Chief Kelly praised Santa-Con saying it's what keeps New York, New York. Either way I prefer to kick back some cocktails with a few of my closes friends, not the entire city of Hoboken or the entire student population at Ohio State University. Either way it's a nightmare, almost a national disaster.
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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.