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

Cocktail Hour
Movie suggestion: The Joneses

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!


Cheri said...

Whenever I read your posts, which is usually daily, I hear them in my head in your Texan voice. :D

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with Cheri on that.

Took back bottles today to have enough bread to buy bread. Bottle slips are credit enough for the dregs to survive.

But I do have a computer that can be hijacked by ad-bots placed in it by that dirtiest of all entities, Facebook. Must be doing OK then.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds like an interesting premise. I've been kind of periphreally fascinated by this advertising strategy. I may have to see this one.

the walking man said...

I could do that. The old lady could do all the elegant Joneses stuff and i could come home to shower and make the fucking house look lived in, then split again. No glass walls for me babe. I am so tired of the words happy, happier, happiness. I've heard them a hundred times this week from 20 different people and it's only Wednesday.

I will stick with content, contented. contentment. and no keeping up with the people around the corner...they must be around the corner because there certainly isn't any Jones on my block unless you count crack, cocaine and heroin.

AvDB said...

The Walking Man and I live in similar neighborhoods.

Since I currently dwell in a gutted, half-reconstructed shell of a house, there is no keeping up with anyone. It's my plywood palace, and I'm fine with that. People who need bread machines tend to barter them for metaphoric objects shoved up their backsides, anyway.

Heff said...

Jimmy Carter said THAT ?

I have new respect for the man.