Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Capitalism Encouraging Narcissism

Chris Maisano made a post on July 5th where he commented that capitalism encouraged narcissism. Never was this comment more apparent than in two of today's local New York papers, who both devoted several pages, complete with color photos, to President Obama's jeans. One of my co-workers, highly confused, asked me why this topic was so important. My response was that it was an attempt to stimulate the economy. New Yorkers, reading these articles, will immediately become self-conscious about their clothing and go shopping to make sure their jeans don't look like those of the president. As a result, the retail sector in NYC will receive a needed boost. This will occur because people are so conditioned to believe media that they feel the need to buy the jeans recommended in the article, in order to feel important rather than victims of the fashion police.

At the same time, the need also ties in with Anonymous' post:

"It is also a safety mechanism in the human brain which keeps us at a safe-distance from "non-look" alikes who used to be predators in the jungle life"

If everyone wears only the types of jeans dictated in the articles, then they will safely blend in with the crowd. Possibly the most critical decision the president will make in the future is whether to accept the societal preoccupation with appearance and buy new clothes.


Warren B. said...

People have always looked to the powerful for inspiration on their clothing choices. Makers of men's hats are probably still sore at President John F. Kennedy's preference to go hatless in public -- it cut deeply into men's consumption of hats for decades, an effect that still persists. Wouldn't narcissists be more likely to want not to fit in with fashion trends and prefer to dress outside of conventions in the hopes of attracting more attention? That seems to be the point of Sasha Baron Cohen's Bruno character. It also reminds me of Madonna.

Tracey said...

Oddly enough, it also seems to be a desire to show that you can afford the items marked as high status. I can afford to buy a $500 hand bag and$ 200 jeans so that I can look like that picture in a magazine that I saw of a celebrity.

A true non-narcissist would put the money into a retirement account or a college fund, not spend it on his/her back.

Anonymous said...

Always wondered "who killed H.A.T." (And did he act alone)

Maybe if Obama wore a hat the ecomic boost of rebirthing "chapeau-terie" would be remarkable

As for the emperor's new jeans (no slight intended) I think it's just media fare - trying to lighten a mood that is otherwise so dismal or rancorous

On the other hand seek out the recent youtube parody on how the media might have covered the moon landing (twas 40 years ago last week, and also JFK!)