For the record I believe we are worth saving.
Originally posted on Mind of Andy:
Another beautiful, yet melancholic quote from the movie Age of Stupid, set in the time 2055.
For the record I believe we are worth saving.
Originally posted on Mind of Andy:
Another beautiful, yet melancholic quote from the movie Age of Stupid, set in the time 2055.
As I was sifting through the magazine rack at my local thrift store – searching for “stimulus” for an innovation ideation (say THAT ten times fast) session – I came across the type of rare gem that made my narcissistic anthropologist day. It was this issue of Soap Opera Digest from July of 1984.
I was 7 years old that summer. I remember my child and tween days well. Lots of neon “fashions”, hair crimping, after school specials like the one featuring A “roid rage”-afflicted young Ben Afflec or PCP-crazed Helen Hunt and the mall – for both conspicuous-consumption-oriented shopping at stores like The Limited and touring pop stars like Tiffany and Debbie Gibson.
Madonna may have been the up-and-coming “Material Girl”, but my Mother was THE ultimate perpetuator of the 80′s consumer lifestyle and the ideal marketing target.
Mom, I know you are going to read this. Please know that my objective (and potentially mildly offensive)
analysis also comes with “with love”.
Caveats aside, I came to this conclusion when I flipped to the back page and saw the following ad for More Red 100′s – my Mom’s brand of cigarettes (which she was loyal to until she quit smoking in the early 2000′s) – which explained EVERYTHING!
Just look. I will tell you what I see but would love to hear other interpretations and anecdotes from my generational-bubble brethren:
Here is what I see: elegant brunette beauty (she’s serious about her career-driven affluence- she doesn’t just want to “have more fun”…she’s earning it), wearing all white (because she doesn’t get dirty when she’s working it and she vacations where it’s very warm and sunny- notice the tan complexion and pantyhose), waiting with two snifters of brandy (because it’s the classy way to get drunk) at an outdoor cafe table (because she’s been to Paris).
She is long and lean and lovely like her cigarette – which with it’s cigar-like appeal, along with the aforementioned brown liquor, also demonstrates a certain masculine “carnivore” vibe that was the instigator of the rampant capitalism that made the 80′s so much “more”.
It reminds me of making my mom vodka and tab (we learned young back then) while she lounged in the sun on a plastic lawn chair in the back yard, slathered in Johnson&Johnson baby oil.
I remember spending week-nights before going to sleep at the foot of my parent’s bed watching Dynasty and Dallas and Knott’s Landing.
I remember our suburban duplex McMansion neighborhood, our leased Cadillacs, knock-off Eames lounge chairs, shag carpeting, walls filled with Joan Miro prints from the “Art of the Month” club and Formica dining room table.
I remember my parents, who had both been born to working class recent immigrant Jewish families in the Bronx, jet-setting off to their lucrative wholesale garment rep jobs in the city every day. They often came home late at night in limousines after having entertained clients. They spent every penny they had on stuff and on house parties (as well as “partying”) and a live-in nanny/ maid to take care of their young children while they earned and enjoyed their newfound middle-class living.
Then the 80′s ended and excess gave way to recession. My parents started experiencing theirs a little prematurely but the rest of the nation was to catch up in a couple of decades.
Their consumer lifestyle was a tale from the movies filled with characters from American Hustle. It was a grand party and everyone wanted “more”.
I have been known to say that I might have rather been a “Huxtable” instead. But truth be told I am glad I had my parents. It enabled me to get grounded in my anthropological roots and develop a love/hate relationship for consumer culture that would be my passion and career for years to come…and counting.
Originally posted on So-Called Millennial:
If you follow the adventures of the Millennial generation at all, you are probably aware of our generational struggle against unmet expectations. Recently, HuffPost College ran an article using the term GYPSY: Gen Y Protaganists & Special Yuppies. It’s a good synopsis of how Gen Y attitudes toward their careers, and lives in general were formed. It’s also peppered with precious sketches of stick figures, rainbows, and unicorns.
The gist of the article is a familiar one: Gen Y was raised to expect the most out of life, but are doomed to live below their wildly high expectations. The emergence of social media like Facebook and Twitter has fueled comparison with peers, a modern phenomenon known as Fear Of Missing Out or FOMO.
Some more perspective in Millennials and love from So-Called Millennial. I particularly appreciate the analysis on love and “risk”…
Originally posted on So-Called Millennial:
I thought the title of this post was rather clever, but upon googling it I found that The Bold Italic has already used it, so I thought I’d at least give them a shout-out. The tech panel event they hosted called “Love? There’s an App for That” has already passed, but if you’re located in the SF Bay Area check the other upcoming events The Bold Italic will be hosting.
Alright let’s get down to business! I’ve been studying the many facets in which millennials demonstrate pragmatism and practicality, and I thought it would be interesting to examine how this trait influences their ideas of relationships. I know– love and practicality? They don’t seem to go together. And if you read on, that may be something millennials need to do some soul-searching about.
So excited to have gotten the call to participate in the dialogue in this article….
Originally posted on Ideas:
Then all at once the limits are gone—the young breeders jump the traces and are set free to have at it. Soon enough, their sexuality will be back in harness—they’ll be married, with children, their primal impulses constrained again by commitment and culture. But for now, they’re a cohort of sexually electric young adults, and romance is one big, heaping helping of yes.
And oh, the kind of sex they’re going to enjoy. Their parents and grandparents had their turn at it, but theirs was sex within limits, sex by the rules, sex—let’s be honest—as intercourse. The new generation has sex with a wink, sex with awareness—sex as an exercise in bonding and socializing, experimentation, even irony, sex as a complex act that can mean anything at all or nothing at all, and you know what? That’s just fine. This is a whole new breed of breeders.
Let me start by saying that I may be a few day’s late to this party having been engaged in other life event activities over Superbowl Sunday and not having turned on a television until last night. Why?
That being said, I am aware that I apparently missed a doozy of a backlash against one Superbowl ad in particular: Coke’s “America The Beautiful” spot:
And before I had even had a chance to view it (I will admit it was this morning), I had already consumed an onslaught of media about the outrage this “highly controversial” ad had sparked. First, I read This article from rawstory.com showcasing the trending Twitter dialogue of outrage featuring hashtags like #SpeakAmerican and #Boycott Coke – with sociopolitical commentary from both conservative “White America” and immigrants. They talk about everything from accusations of Coke’s Amnesty and Gay agendas to the idea that any ad talking about America in any way ought to speak in English.
I found the aforementioned blog in a discussion started in the Multicultural Trends group on LinkedIn by my friend Tom LaForge ,who is Global Director of Human and Cultural Insights at Coca-Cola. Even in this business-oriented context we are redirected to This blog making a case for the vitriolic reaction in a pretty articulate and really enlightening manner. Pointing to the idea of the founding fathers coming from England and, essentially, the American dream and our concept of America being firmly rooted in English.
What I see in the ad is Coca-Cola defining the America they believe in: the melting pot of multiculturalism and refuge that connects Americans based on this value of diversity, rather than the value of a common language, in the literal sense. Essentially, I read it as the common “language” being about America representing freedom to pursue your happiness – regardless of your native tongue. I thought the response below from news anchor Brenda Wood illustrates this counterbalanced point of view well:
But the fact is, people don’t like to have their frames shifted – and are comfortable in the points of view that allow them to define an “us” versus “other”, and in this case the “us” being those seeking the American dream of accumulating wealth and power and the “them” being the immigrants, underprivileged and otherwise unworthy “huddled masses”. This is classic Conflict Theory – a sociological macro theory about the nature of social order that basically says the only way societies stay intact is when you have oppressors and those being oppressed – with the wealthy and powerful being the oppressors. It essentially states that this conflict and power struggle are what maintain social order – and that even attempts by those in power to create social change with charitable works is still in the best interest of the powerful.
What this means to me from an anthropological, cultural perspective is that many Americas who share values with “the powerful”, whether that be religious or economic, take the idea of the American brand / dream / ideal being about ultimate equality and sharing of multicultural values as an attack against the status quo and the deeply held values that drive their existence. And this is as true for right-wing conservative operating from within the privilege of power to the newly arrived immigrant who strives to integrate into American society and follow a path for himself or his family to financial success and power.
“Wow”, you might say. “That’s a lot of reading into a commercial for soda pop”. But it’s not necessarily the anthropologists and sociologists inflating the conversation. You can see it in the articles I have referenced in sentiments referring to the idea presented in this ad as “communists destroying our way of life” or promoting the destruction of the American family (there is a split second in the ad, if you watch very carefully, where you see a gay male couple roller skating).
I asked Tom Laforge (mentioned earlier – the Human and Cultural Insights guy from Coca-Cola) what he thought was happening and he had perspective that I think sums up the situation. He says, “concepts like America are continually evolving. All culturally defined artifacts are. Errors: assuming the definition you like does not evolve or is shared”. So I suppose the idea a company like Coca Cola could be powerful enough to change a definition as enormous as America hits a pretty deep cultural chord.
Even more to the point, Tom says, “change can be scary, especially to something that is part of your identity. Change has always been scary”.
But perhaps if Coca-Cola believes it can “teach the world to sing in perfect harmony” and this is a core belief that does and continues to drive the message of their brand, that it is an appropriately bold step for them to take in sparking a passionate conversation about change in America.
Naturally, I am very eager to hear what the rest of the blogosphere thinks…
And here I sit, a dejected consumer anthropologist, believing I had mastered the system of flavor-by-color. For years I have coded my candy flavors by color: red, blue, orange- knowing full well that they didn’t deserve their “fruit flavor” designations but that the dyes and chemistry had earned them their own flavor category. Imagine my shock now that it has been revealed that one of my favorite candies – cereal (that’s a whole other blog) has been flavored with LIES!!!!!!
Originally posted on NewsFeed:
We hate to be the ones to tell you this, but: you’ve been eating a bowl of lies for breakfast … and you probably liked it.
Turns out that the delicious, multicolored O’s that make up Froot Loops don’t actually represent different fruit flavors. Reddit’s Today I Learned series recently unearthed a 1999 article from the Straight Dope, which confirms that “according to Kellogg’s, all of those delectable loops are flavored the same.”
If you fainted into your cereal bowl after reading that, you’re not alone. We’ve all been misled by those tempting lime green, orange, purple, yellow and red loops into thinking they are lime, orange, grape, lemon and cherry and/or strawberry flavored, when, in fact, they all the same flavor. That flavor? “Froot,” which according to Wikipedia, stems from “a blend of fruit flavors.”
Growing up comes with a number of sacrifices that double as blessings.
One: starting to pay more attention to your diet and your health. It’s the right thing to do and comes with it’s rewards: a better quality of life so you can enjoy your adulthood with minimized physical discomfort.
Two: having kids. They uproot your entire world and lifestyle. You forget what it’s like to sleep for the first few years and basically give up your privacy and sanity. But it’s totally worth it and from what I hear the most rewarding sacrifice their is.
Coca-Cola has recently launched a Coke for said grown ups (in Argentina – but coming soon to the US)- a low calorie Come made with Stevia instead of artificial sweeteners. The target: adults if a certain life stage who still want to enjoy but know they need to start thinking more seriously about their health.
The product: Coca-Cola Life. The tag-line: “open your good nature”. The insights for this initial launch creative (which I am proud to have played a small part in bringing to the fore) are all about how we grow up and learn to enjoy our life by not just living for ourselves. It’s about how being good to yourself and doing for the sake others has it’s rewards.
This add illustrates these insights so well it makes me laugh and cry – and is getting a fair amount of recognition for Argentina’s Santo agency:
Argentina Coca-Cola Life ad
Love seeing anthropologists make a point to advance the thinking and practice of their practice. Consumer Anthropology is one space (where I play) that takes theory and applies it to a other space. It’s not always perfect but we always learn and continue to evolve our “best practices”. But as the world changes so do our methodologies. It’s a fun space to grow in and love seeing other anthropologists think broadly.
Originally posted on Anthropologizing:
Matt Thompson over at Savage Minds did a short post today summarizing his three very practical, admirable, personal/professional and “Anthropological” New Year’s Resolutions, which include (1) seeing projects through to the end (this includes reading books), (2) creating a new website for his MA thesis, and (3) attending the next American Anthropological Association meetings. I like to be self-reflective on a regular basis and not just resolve to do something more or less or better just because it’s a new calendar year, but it seems like a good moment to participate in the tradition anyway.
Here are a few of my own goals for what I want to do and not do with Anthropologizing in 2014:
This morning I am heading home from a visit with my parents at the Colony Point retirement community in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
It is the second largest (next to Century Village) in the area – located in South Florida, which is home to a disproportionate amount of the East Coast’s elderly population. Why? I have pondered this before from a Sienfeldian perspective – being part of the “tribe” of young Boomer, Gen X and Gen Y Jews who’s Northeastern born-and-raised parents migrate to South Florida for retirement. I think it’s actually mandated in the Torah.
But most likely it’s the warm weather, low cost of living and non-existent state income tax that make living one’s golden years off of a fixed retirement and social security income more manageable. Not to mention the promise of lots of people “like you” being there to share the experience and create a sense of community.
In any case, we had a fairly typical visit: time spent going out to eat, watching television, eating, watching more television, more eating, and so on.
Because I had an earlier (ish) flight my father agreed to take me to the airport and we stopped at his daily breakfast spot: Bogart’s Bagels. He comes here every morning – sometimes with my mother but mostly by himself. He calls his two favorite waitresses “Laverne and Shirley” (which might be their actual names) and they call him “Mel”. His name is Sandy but they are playing the “name that 70′s sitcom” game.
The walls in this place have posters and paintings and pictures of Rat Pack era pop culture icons like Marilyn Monroe and (you guessed it) Humphrey Bogart. The floors, walls, tables and ceilings are all well overdue for a coat of shellac but the prices are low and the room full of new parents and their toddlers, elderly Jews and on duty police officers seem perfectly content with their home-away-from home routine.
As my dad was paying the $7 check for both of our breakfasts my anthropological eye spotted a cultural artifact I couldn’t pass up: a free copy of Nostalgic America Magazine: Broward and North Miami edition.
On the cover: a bright-eyed, in-her-prime glam shot of Lucille Ball – legendary star of the I Love Lucy show from the dawn of the American TV Renaissance.
As I flipped through the pages on our way to the airport I was fascinated to find that he content of this periodical roughly resembled a teen-oriented magazine – only obviously meant to inspire find memories of a youth and consumer-oriented adulthood lived in the mid to late 20th century. So, instead of mini/posters of Biebers there are full page promo shots of TV characters and cast photos from popular shows like Dennis the Menace, The little Rascals, Lassie and The Brady Bunch. There are also images of iconic athletes like Joe Namath and featured editorial images from National Geographic Magazine “back in the day”.
And the advertisements that make up the other half of the content are not for zit cream and bubble gum and movies but for Elder care facilities, an array of medical services and elder-friendly electronics.
It’s a publication entirely devoted to mitigating the uncomfortable physical reality of old age with blasts from the past that remind their consumer of “the good times” – which essentially come down to memorable consumer media.
Oh and I forgot to mention – it’s definitely content targeted only to white people.
From an anthropological perspective – this tells me that the presumption about this consumer target is that they have already lived their lives and it’s basically crisis management and distraction from here. It’s a reflection of the value we culturally place on the elderly as a populace to be babysat and managed. It makes me think about the many conversations i have had with my non-white friends and other cultural observation and analysis I have done. For some reason, we white folks tend to send our elderly away to live on their own in heir old age rather than caring for them and valuing their wisdom and having the be a daily part of our children’s lives. I joke that you never see Latino’s or Asians in old folks homes.
But I suppose that’s a conversation for another time and perhaps my analysis is a bit one sided. I’ll leave that to the rest of the bloggers to comment on.
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Being a popular kid isn't easy,you have to be cautious about every move of yours because you know that all eyes are on you.Not just the eyes that look up to you but also the eyes that love to see you in pain.You might have your own list of followers but with this list there exists the "popularity starved crowd" who wants to replace you.But when reality bites these morons and they're back to square one,hurt and angry with themselves they try to make you the victim of their moment of high adrenaline,just to make you suffer because you're better.They try to clean their head by ruining your perfect life.What's more is right then you realize that none of your "friends" are what they appear to be.You're broken,depressed .You feel the need to talk to someone of your own kind,someone who won't judge you and that's when you can find me at thepopularitébug,I promise to do anything and everything to help you out of your problem!Amen.
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