Monday, December 8, 2014

We Shop Because We Yearn (at The Federalist)

My opinion on why we buy pink (or blue) baby tubs and crazily-expensive wedding dresses. Plus a Dorothy Sayers quotation, which always makes an article better.

We Shop Because We Yearn 
Bridal gowns, baby gear, and other stuff we shop for are part of the human quest for identity and quietly acknowledge the realities political correctness seeks to deny. 
In “Murder Must Advertise,” a Dorothy Sayers mystery novel from 1933, the aristocratic sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey goes undercover in an advertising firm. The narrator tells us, “He had never realized the enormous commercial importance of the comparatively poor. Not on the wealthy, who buy only what they want when they want it, was the vast superstructure of industry founded and built up, but on those who, aching for a luxury beyond their reach and for a leisure for ever denied them, could be bullied or wheedled into spending their few hardly won shillings on whatever might give them, if only for a moment, a leisured and luxurious illusion.” 
The advertising of our decade is very similar: products are advertised not as shirts, cereal, or face lotion, but as “something to make you look thin,” “something to help your kids get good grades in school,” and “something to make you look like Jennifer Lawrence.” The items with which we fill our shopping carts are as much ideas, fantasies, and forlorn hopes as they are food and raiment. Advertising is manipulative, but in its own limited way, it also reveals the yearnings of the American heart.
Read the rest HERE.


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