Comment 56808

By Borrelli (registered) | Posted January 18, 2011 at 10:13:21

Great read, Kevin--I've taken more than a few minutes to reflect on what you've written, and I can't help but agree very strongly with your assertion that experience and involvement must be a new adherent's first step in joining/participating in a movement.

Ryan, don't go into The Authenticity Hoax expecting anything less glib this time around. Despite Potter's regrettable tone throughout the book (smug is a very fair comment), I found it hard to dispute his argument that the retailing of political & social identity is just the post-modern extension of material consumerism.

Consumers are encouraged to "find themselves", however symbolically, not through self-reflection/thought, meditation or other internal means, but through classic, externally focused materialism. For example, in the market (the market for ideas as much as goods or services), a concept such as Yoga is boiled down to what you need to practice it: cheap Chinese-manufactured mats, overpriced ass-lifting pants, accessories, Western re-interpretations, and other marketing gimmicks meant to satisfy the consumer by bestowing a new identity immediately, with little effort other than cash changing hands.

To the case of sustainability, it's the same retail-identity experience that lets a wealthy, West-coast dot-commer silently drive off dealer lot with his new Prius, when a more in-depth analysis of 'sustainability' might suggest that he ditch the car entirely.

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