Tuesday, September 28, 2010
You Can't Be Any Poorer Than Dead
Just watched the excellent movie The Joneses starring Demi Moore and David Duchoveny as a "couple" whose job it is to sell products to their friends and neighbors through "lifestyle" marketing. This movie, ironically enough, did not do well in theaters which means it's made for me. The premise -- everyone wants to be them. They seem to Have It All: great marriage, beautiful bodies, beautiful children, and loads and loads of stuff. So what part can you get of this fantasy? The loads and loads of stuff. Does this stuff make you happy? Who the hell knows? The point is that as a culture, we still use this strategy in large part because it's easy. Getting money isn't that easy, but in a credit culture, why think about it? So this fake couple with their fake kids set out in each new community their "unit" is placed, to make friends and influence people. They do it very well. Being a movie, hijinks and tragedy ensue. I will not spoil the outcome should you choose to view it. Which you should (insert heavy didactic schoolmarm tone here).
Which got me thinking about things, the power they have. If I have that bread maker, I will be the kind of person who makes bread! Maybe I will start wearing peasant blouses and popping out a brood of kids who will be well-groomed and charming, the kind of kid who wears fussy dresses and serves snacks at parties. Oh wait, that was me! Never mind, I enjoyed drinking out of the cocktail glasses when no one was looking. No, my kid would never do that because I have a bread maker. Maybe if I got the right dress, the right bag, the right shoes, I would have another life, the kind of life where I never felt bedraggled, miserable, emotionally fatigued. I would be "put-together," that staple of fashion magazines everywhere. I wouldn't look like I'd raided the Salvation Army "free" bag. I wouldn't be stuck returning my cans to a beeping Kroger machine in hopes of getting money to take the edge of the grocery bill. I'd be the kind of person who shops at Whole Foods with my very own "green" bag that shows people I care about the environment while matching my outfit. I'd drink champagne on special occasions (no hangover in the fantasy) on special occasions of which there would be many. I wouldn't be keeping up with the Joneses; I'd be the Joneses. Or maybe I will keep buying breakfast from vending machines because I was too tired from work to shop the night before, the night where I would lay out my clothes for the next day, clean my already immaculate house, and relax with my new Iphone. On second thought, the vending machine is pretty good. Judgement-free, it usually contains what I want behind glass. Which, if you think about it, where what you think you need always is.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I have often wanted to drown my troubles, but I can't get my wife to go swimming." Jimmy Carter
Movie suggestion: The Joneses
Benedictions and Maledictions