Sunday, August 10, 2008

A double-bind

Inside one of those really unfairly marketed BMW M(3)s is a blonde woman,**** driving down High St. past Elena's. I've just walked by Waterbeds n' Stuff, which is selling a framed Dark Knight poster (Why So Serious?) for $25.99.* The scene where the Joker kills Gambol is replaying in my head. (Why So Serious?) My lips are moving around the words "why so serious." I look up and there's the woman: blonde hair, inconclusively dark skin, maybe from the fact that the sky is about the piss on Columbus, maybe from an adolescence of acne, maybe she tans, and she's looking at me. Is it because I'm talking to myself? Is it because I'm just so damn attractive? Is it because I'm slightly more interesting to look at than traffic?

Earlier in the week, I came back from Pittsburgh with some "dry goods. An innovation the Americans have put a lot of research into perfecting." My parents were kind enough to pick them up. Three peaches and a can of tuna rolled out of the passenger side of my truck when I pulled out my laundry hamper. I wasn't really sure what to take in first.

I need food to continue living. And my continued possession of a shelter, which becomes more difficult if I have to buy food again, is somewhat meaningless if I don't have food. Food is universally desirable. If you're going to steal it, you don't have to pawn it, you can use it yourself and think "hey, I just saved some cash."
Clothing is less necessary than Food. It is a form of Shelter, in that it provides protection from the elements, and there will come a time when I have a stupid amount of money and can do stupid things like have meals delivered to my door and ten pairs of boxers and twenty outfits and my hermetical aspirations will be realized. Until then, the potential theft of my laundry is a real threat. My hamper is more difficult to move than even the entirety of my groceries, but they also have less immediate value. Stealing my hamper is an investment of time, both to move it and to get practical rewards out of it.** I don't imagine an attendant at a consignment store will ask anyone hard questions that are generated by the intuition of "these clearly would never fit [your body-type/gender,]" but it's not like the thief is going to drop of everything at once with out saying, "I'm punishing my boyfriend/husband/brother/roommate/adulterous employer. Would you like to join me in my righteous justice."
Really, though, food is the important thing. I have clothing. Clean clothing, that I could wear, and enough of it that I wouldn't need to replace anything but boxers.

I've been thinking about this for most of the week. The order we prioritize things in. I had an ethics class in high school, a good bit of it was dogmatic, some of it was "wrong."*** We talked about instinct, which was ironically juxtaposed against a discussion of justified true beliefs three weeks later. (You're right, that's not really a juxtaposition. It was in the same class though. It's possible I merely like the word "juxtaposition." It, along with "conversely," "subsequently," "ambiguous," and "delicious," are words I use, what's the word? Often.) This was one of the things that came up. The hierarchy of happiness. I looked for it on the internet (where everything is) and I found something similar under "Need" but it wasn't exactly like that. "Love & friendship" instead of "significant primary relationships with others" & "safe birth control and child-bearing," nothing about health care or an appropriate cross-cultural education. But otherwise, that was it. Happiness is safety. Happiness is security. Happiness is knowing that when you die, some people are still living to remember you were there. To think about where you are now.

Imagine how happy I was, seeing the women in the expensive, dishonestly marketed car, knowing that now I could finish this. An epiphany. Not really. But still, sometimes writing is something I do, it's Bliss.

*Yes, I finally saw "The Dark Knight" in the theaters. The sense-replacement effect of the movies is so necessary. [I have other great things to say about the movie, which I have praised before, but I feel like praising something so heavily reviewed beyond the feelings it evoke re: my personal history is redundant. Whatever, it's good. I'll lose a significant portion of my free time when it shows up in the dollar theater.
**all of my clothing is 38-40 in the waist, XX-XXXL in shirts. I do not believe my clothing is practically useful to the great majority of the population of Columbus. It would merely be a means to an end.
***"wrong" meaning I do not believe it exists and moreover, I have a good reason to believe it does not exist. This may be pointless in an ethics class, but we talked more about instinct than I thought was necessary. Yes, even at seventeen. We started talking about maternal instinct, mostly because its name (maternal instinct) meant that it didn't show up in men: Men are clearly meant to be nomadic, to spread seed, to be serially monogamous, etc. Arguments like "human instinct is limited to a fear of heights and the instinct to root. there are no other instincts. "maternal instinct" is a taught behavior." (not that well drawn-out) fell on unmoved ears. Whatever, man.
[**** The ad, called BMW-Independence, is to sell BMW 3-series cars. (it's really selling BMWs) It talks about what they didn't try to do. What I don't like about it is it doesn't show the product until the end, building tension right?¹ But it's not showing 3-series bmws, its showing a variety of BMWs, including a 320i with body art by Roy Lichtenstien. (Which it turns out is a 3 series, but it has an m-series engine, so I feel slightly vindicated, but not really, I just don't think there's much overlap between M3's and 3's and yet they sell them as such.)
¹What gets on my nerves about advertisements, specifically this advertisement, is this tactic, policy, subterfuge (whatever) of showing something else, like cars that aren't even old versions of the car your selling but simply cars you've put your seal on. And I guess a lot of people do this. From the people that brought you the iPod and the iPhone: here's the MacBook Air. A meritocracy, yes? We've done well before, We'll do well again. We can prove it.(You know, with our previous track record. (I watched mad men this weekend. It's actually how I ended up seeing the BMW ad in the first place. (they have an "exclusive advertising agreement"(WTF?)))) Race Car drivers are employed for much the same reason. I think we all know that the Rally, F1, and NAS cars driving really fast on TV aren't for sale in, especially in, dealerships. What's the purpose of the brand on the race car? Money from sponsors? added 08.14.08, because PQ1000 pointed out I was being vague.]

1 comment:

popquizkid said...


1. Why is the BMW M3 unfairly marketed? I was expecting a footnote.

2. Why can't it be all three? You would think a damn attractive man talking to himself would surely be slightly more interesting than traffic. It's the subject of many television commercials, after all.

3. "I wasn't really sure what to take in first" could be a motto for life. Like, inscribed on a tombstone, even.