robertogreco + sellingout   9

After Authenticity
"Meanwhile, years of semantic slippage had happened without me noticing. Suddenly the surging interest in fashion, the dad hats, the stupid pin companies, the lack of sellouts, it all made sense. Authenticity has expanded to the point that people don’t even believe in it anymore. And why should we? Our friends work at SSENSE, they work at Need Supply. They are starting dystopian lifestyle brands. Should we judge them for just getting by? A Generation-Z-focused trend report I read last year clumsily posed that “the concept of authenticity is increasingly deemed inauthentic.” It goes further than that. What we are witnessing is the disappearance of authenticity as a cultural need altogether.

Under authenticity, the value of a thing decreases as the number of people to whom it is meaningful increases. This is clearly no longer the case. Take memes for example. “Meme” circa 2005 meant lolcats, the Y U NO guy and grimy neckbeards on 4chan. Within 10 years “meme” transitioned from this one specific subculture to a generic medium in which collective participation is seen as amplifying rather than detracting from value.

In a strange turn of events, the mass media technologies built out during the heady authenticity days have had a huge part in facilitating this new mass media culture. The hashtag, like, upvote, and retweet are UX patterns that systematize endorsement and quantify shared value. The meme stock market jokers are more right than they know; memes are information commodities. But unlike indie music 10 years ago the value of a meme is based on its publicly shared recognition. From mix CDs to nationwide Spotify playlists. With information effortlessly transferable at zero marginal cost and social platforms that blast content to the top of everyone’s feed, it’s difficult to for an ethics based on scarcity to sustain itself.

K-HOLE and Box1824 captured the new landscape in their breakthrough 2014 report “Youth Mode.” They described an era of “mass indie” where the search for meaning is premised on differentiation and uniqueness, and proposed a solution in “Normcore.” Humorously, nearly everyone mistook Normcore for being about bland fashion choices rather than the greater cultural shift toward accepting shared meanings. It turns out that the aesthetics of authenticity-less culture are less about acting basic and more about playing up the genericness of the commodity as an aesthetic category. LOT2046’s delightfully industrial-supply-chain-default aesthetics are the most beautiful and powerful rendering of this. But almost everyone is capitalizing on the same basic trend, from Vetements and Virgil Abloh (enormous logos placed for visibility in Instagram photos are now the norm in fashion) to the horribly corporate Brandless. Even the names of boring basics companies like “Common Threads” and “Universal Standard” reflect the the popularity of genericness, writes Alanna Okunn at Racked. Put it this way: Supreme bricks can only sell in an era where it’s totally fine to like commodities.

Crucially, this doesn’t mean that people don’t continue to seek individuation. As I’ve argued elsewhere exclusivity is fundamental to any meaning-amplifying strategy. Nor is this to delegitimize some of the recognizable advancements popularized alongside the first wave of mass authenticity aesthetics. Farmer’s markets, the permaculture movement, and the trend of supporting local businesses are valuable cultural innovations and are here to stay.

Nevertheless, now that authenticity is obsolete it’s become difficult to remember why we were suspicious of brands and commodities to begin with. Maintaining criticality is a fundamental challenge in this new era of trust. Unfortunately, much of what we know about being critical is based on authenticity ethics. Carles blamed the Contemporary Conformist phenomenon on a culture industry hard-set on mining “youth culture dollars.” This very common yet extraordinarily reductive argument, which makes out commodity capitalism to be an all-powerful, intrinsically evil force, is typical of authenticity believers. It assumes a one-way influence of a brand’s actions on consumers, as do the field of semiotics and the hopeless, authenticity-craving philosophies of Baudrillard and Debord.

Yet now, as Dena Yago says, “you can like both Dimes and Doritos, sincerely and without irony.” If we no longer see brands and commodity capitalism as something to be resisted, we need more nuanced forms of critique that address how brands participate in society as creators and collaborators with real agency. Interest in working with brands, creating brands, and being brands is at an all-time high. Brands and commodities therefore need to be considered and critiqued on the basis of the specific cultural and economic contributions they make to society. People co-create their identities with brands just as they do with religions, communities, and other other systems of meaning. This constructivist view is incompatible with popular forms of postmodern critique but it also opens up new critical opportunities. We live in a time where brands are expected to not just reflect our values but act on them. Trust in business can no longer be based on visual signals of authenticity, only on proof of work."
tobyshorin  2018  authenticity  culture  anthropology  hispters  sellouts  sellingout  commercialism  kanyewest  yeezy  yeezysupply  consumerism  commercialization  commodification  personalbranding  branding  capitalism  shepardfairey  obeygiant  tourism  sarahperry  identity  critique  ethics  mainstream  rjaymagill  popculture  aesthetics  commentary  conformism  scale  scalability  venkateshrao  premiummediocre  brooklyn  airbnb  wework  local  handmade  artisinal  economics  toms  redwings  davidmuggleton  josephpine  jamesgilmore  exclusivity  denayago  systems  sytemsofmeaning  meaning  commodities  k-hole 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Defies Measurement on Vimeo
"DEFIES MEASUREMENT strengthens the discussion about public education by exploring why it is so important to address the social and emotional needs of every student, and what happens when the wrong people make decisions for schools.

For information on how to screen this film for others and for resources to learn more and take action, visit defiesmeasurement.com

By downloading this film, you are agreeing to the 3 terms listed below:

1) I will only use portions of Defies Measurement or the whole film for educational purposes and I will NOT edit or change the film in any way. (Educational purposes = viewing a portion or complete version of the film for an individual, private or public event, free of charge or as a fundraiser)

2) I will post a photo or comment about the film and/or screening on the Defies Measurement Facebook page

3) I will spread the word about the film to others via social media and word of mouth. Follow us @defymeasurement #defiesmeasurement"

[See also:
https://www.shineonpro.com/
https://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/115791029088/defies-measurement-via-will-richardsondefies ]
testing  standardizedtesting  nclb  rttt  schools  education  middleschool  chipmanmiddleschool  lindadarling-hammond  alfiekohn  martinmalström  socialemotionallearning  poverty  iq  assessment  policy  howweteach  howelearn  learning  competition  politics  arneduncan  jebbush  measurement  quantification  inequality  finland  us  edreform  tcsnmy  community  experientiallearning  communitycircles  morningmeetings  documentary  film  terrielkin  engagement  meaningmaking  howwelearn  teaching  sylviakahn  regret  sellingout  georgewbush  susankovalik  lauriemclachlan-fry  joanduvall-flynn  government  howardgardner  economics  anthonycody  privatization  lobbying  gatesfoundation  marknaison  billgates  davidkirp  broadfoundation  charitableindustrialcomplex  commoncore  waltonfamily  teachforamerica  tfa  mercedesschneider  dianeravitch  davidberliner  publischools  anationatrisk  joelklein  condoleezzarice  tonywagner  business  markets  freemarket  neworleans  jasonfrance  naomiklein  shockdoctrine  karranharper-royal  julianvasquezheilig  sarahstickle  ronjohnson  alanskoskopf  soci 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Video: Generation Like | Watch FRONTLINE Online | PBS Video
[Somehow forgot to bookmark this back in February.]

"Thanks to social media, teens are able to directly interact with their culture -- celebrities, movies, brands -- in ways never before possible. But is that real empowerment? Or do marketers hold the upper hand? In "Generation Like," Douglas Rushkoff explores how the teen quest for identity has migrated to the web -- and exposes the game of cat-and-mouse that corporations are playing with them."

[See also:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/media/generation-like/transcript-57/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gmgXxB9QiA
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/
http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/generation-like-the-kids-sell-out-but-dont-know-what-1524517417 ]
generationlike  2014  media  online  web  youth  teens  likes  liking  labor  advertising  facebook  douglasrushkoff  tyleroakley  alissaquart  oliverluckett  kurtwagner  markandrejevic  allisonarling-giorgi  danahboyd  popculutre  society  consumerism  work  celebrity  microcelebrities  youtube  marketing  identity  sellingout  merchantsofcool  presentationofself  exploitation  digital  onlinemedia  socialmedia  socialnetworking  profiles  socialnetworks  tumblr  twitter  hungergames  empowerment  fandom 
october 2014 by robertogreco
World Processor | The Baffler
[via: http://tinyletter.com/audreywatters/letters/hack-education-weekly-newsletter-no-70 ]

"As Processed World veteran Dennis Hayes explained it to me, “We were really examining social history. We were asking questions that went unasked. We were asking, ‘What’s the value of a job that creates no value? Or that simply creates more work?’”"



"As Daniel Brook recounts in his book The Trap: Selling Out to Stay Afloat in Winner-Take-All America, Carlsson and friends liked to “dress up as investment bankers and bow in unison at the stock ticker in front of the Charles Schwab building.” Marina Lazzara, one of the magazine’s poetry editors, recalled this period fondly. “I miss those days,” she told me. “We were really out in the streets.”"



"This was but one among the magazine’s darkly comic dispatches from the absurdist trenches of the overmanaged workplace. Others gestured at something more haunting, such as the anonymous San Franciscan who wrote in issue 7, “I’m unemployed now and should be typing my resume. Typing a resume becomes more and more like typing a suicide note, and yet choosing not to work is a kamikaze mission.” It was to this group—torn between the exigencies of white-collardom and the seeming impossibility of living as one chooses—that Processed World ultimately spoke."



"Many of us know we work bullshit jobs; others would be only too happy to have one, to escape the suffocating anxieties of living on the margins. Those employed in socially useful jobs—teachers, nurses, social workers—must contend with low pay or, if they agitate for something more, being vilified."



"Along the way, the sense of community and common cause epitomized by Processed World has been sublimated into the incessant branding and self-promotion from which none of us appears immune. We are all living precariously, and so we tread water by competing for the occasional life preserver thrown out by the attention economy. Do your job well and maybe the Washington Post, the Daily Beast,or the latest buzzy new-media property will hire you as its token leftist columnist. Hit the jackpot, and you’ll become the next Chris Hayes.

Who can blame them? It’s now so expensive to live in a coastal metropolis that one hopes to sell out at least a little bit."
jacobsliverman  culture  society  economics  siliconvalley  2014  1981  processedworld  bullshitjobs  labor  via:audreywatters  chrishayes  marinalazzara  chriscarlsson  caitlinmanning  technology  efficiency  productivity  jobs  unemployment  employment  busyness  capitalism  sellingout  sellouts  attention  attentioneconomy  markets  precarity 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Bill Watterson's Speech - Kenyon College, 1990
"It's surprising how hard we'll work when the work is done just for ourselves. And with all due respect to John Stuart Mill, maybe utilitarianism is overrated. If I've learned one thing from being a cartoonist, it's how important playing is to creativity and happiness. My job is essentially to come up with 365 ideas a year.

If you ever want to find out just how uninteresting you really are, get a job where the quality and frequency of your thoughts determine your livelihood. I've found that the only way I can keep writing every day, year after year, is to let my mind wander into new territories. To do that, I've had to cultivate a kind of mental playfulness.

We're not really taught how to recreate constructively. We need to do more than find diversions; we need to restore and expand ourselves. Our idea of relaxing is all too often to plop down in front of the television set and let its pandering idiocy liquefy our brains. Shutting off the thought process is not rejuvenating; the mind is like a car battery-it recharges by running.

You may be surprised to find how quickly daily routine and the demands of "just getting by: absorb your waking hours. You may be surprised matters of habit rather than thought and inquiry. You may be surprised to find how quickly you start to see your life in terms of other people's expectations rather than issues. You may be surprised to find out how quickly reading a good book sounds like a luxury.

At school, new ideas are thrust at you every day. Out in the world, you'll have to find the inner motivation to search for new ideas on your own. With any luck at all, you'll never need to take an idea and squeeze a punchline out of it, but as bright, creative people, you'll be called upon to generate ideas and solutions all your lives. Letting your mind play is the best way to solve problems."



"Selling out is usually more a matter of buying in. Sell out, and you're really buying into someone else's system of values, rules and rewards."



"But having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another.

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it's to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You'll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you're doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you'll hear about them.

To invent your own life's meaning is not easy, but it's still allowed, and I think you'll be happier for the trouble."

[illustrated: http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/blogs/browbeat/2013/08/27/watterson_advice_large.jpg ]
billwatterson  art  life  meaning  meaningmaking  living  1990  commencemtspeeches  thoreau  via:tealtan  creativity  leisurearts  playfulness  play  johnstuartmill  cartoons  comics  comicstrips  inquiry  thinking  thought  lifeofthemind  problemsolving  values  sellingout  expectations  motivation  intrinsicmotivation  soulownership  worth  subversion  eccentricity  success  achievement  salaries  money  artleisure 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Podcast « You Are Not So Smart
"Episode Five | Selling Out | Andrew Potter
Episode Four | The Self | Bruce Hood
Episode Three | Confabulation | V.S. Ramachandran
Episode Two | Illusion of Knowledge | Christopher Chabris
Episode One | Attention | Daniel Simons"
keepingupwiththejoneses  freerange  local  natural  organic  andrewpotter  poiticsofcool  oneupmanship  statusseeking  nonconformism  hipsters  hipsterism  conspicuousconsumption  status  kurtcobain  art  advertising  consumption  christopherchabris  guiltypleasures  danielsimons  vsramachandran  society  modernity  brucehood  confabulation  knowledge  attention  authenticity  authentic  culture  counterculture  2012  via:zakgreene  sellingout  psychology  from delicious
january 2013 by robertogreco
Portland/CreativeMornings - William Deresiewicz on Vimeo
"Entrepreneurialsm isn't necessarily bad, but I'm just struck by the fact that it seems to be *the* ideal. … the exclusive ideal. … This is far from only true of only young people… the small business ["that also includes nonprofits"] has become the idealized social form or life expression of our time, in general."

"If you think back a century ago to the heyday of high modernism and aestheticism, art for art's sake, the artist as… the culture hero… All of the attributes that were attached to being an artist or to making art then are … attached to entrepreneurialism now… like autonomy, freedom, heroism, imagination, creativity, adventure."

"The affect that we all have now is the salesman's personality. It's the smile and shoeshine. It's "the customer is always right." It's "I'm not going to offend anybody beacuse I don't know whether I'm going to want to sell them something or do business with them. I don't know when I'm going to run into them down the road." And even if we're not literally sellling something, although more and more of us are because of social media, because we are on social media, we are — all of us — at least selling one thing, which is ourselves. The contemporary self is an entrepreneurial self, a self that is packaged to be sold."

"Young people today think in terms of fixing the world by making things and selling them."

"I'm going to suggest to you that selling is inherently corrupting… Selling corrupts the product it sells… Selling as counter culture, as dissent, as revolution… is a contradiction in terms."

"What we have is a loss of the avant-garde. And I'm defining avant-garde not in terms of experimentation, for example, but specifically art that offers resistence to its audience, art that is not easily consumable. And not just art… we don't really have an avant-garde of thought either. Because if you make people uncomfortable, which is what avant-garde art and thought has to do, than they're not going to buy — in either sense — what you're selling them, so we tone it down, we sort of tart it up, we put in a dance beat, we stay within acceptable moral and aesthetic limits. Maybe we try to surprise a little bit, but we surpise in a way that we know is not going to be disturbing."

"We are always presenting something that is in some way familiar to the audience because we know it has already sold, it has a track record."

"Let us not confuse imagination with innovation and even progress." —P.J. O'Rourke

"We have disgarded creativity in exchange for a steady supply of marketable products." —Gary Kasparov

"Everything is being created for the consumer market."

"The avant-garde has been coopted by commerce. The notion of creativity has become indentified with the idea of technology and technology has been identified with products. Instead of being mobilized as citizens the way the avant-garde wanted to, we are being marketed to as consumers."

"We are not doing what the avant-garde is supposed to do, which is to challenge the basic social, political, and economic stucture of our world, reimagine and reinvent our social relationships."

[From the @FranzKafka article, but similar to the talk.] "[W]hat about creators who don’t want to have to sell themselves, who don’t like it, who aren’t good at it, who feel it saps their energy? (Beethoven’s website? Van Gogh’s Facebook page? Kafka’s Twitter feed?) There’s something to be said for agents and managers and publishers and record labels, despite their drain upon the artist’s purse and the artist’s patience—people who are good at things that creators usually aren’t and don’t want to have to be. And then, what about creators who are good at them—but not at, you know, creating? The more that selling becomes central to the process, the more the process will reward people who are good at selling."

"Our ideal [the small business] is just a thing, it's not really an ideal."

"The Generation Y style really doesn't embody anything. What does hipster style say? It just says that I'm hip."

"The ethos of DIY social engagement goes along also with a withdrawal from politics, which is inherently a sphere of two things that Millenials say they hate (and not just Millenials) conflict and large institutions."

"The idea of creative social change is that what starts at the edges will go to the center. But unless we engage politics directly, what starts at the edges will stay at the edges."

"Against the immense power of coordinated wealth, … the small business model does not amount to very much. I don't think you can change the system either by just working within it or, another response, dropping out of it. I think you can only change it by confronting it directly."
morality  ideals  ideology  art  thought  thinking  cv  millennials  entrepreneurship  smallbusiness  commerce  sellingout  selling  2012  avant-garde  society  change  gamchanging  scale  salesmanship  williamderesiewicz 
july 2012 by robertogreco
ANOTHER REM « LEBBEUS WOODS
"We might call this park a proto- or supra-urban landscape, in that its experience evokes the qualities we would want a city to have, foremost among them the ingredients of our personally selected self-invention. It is very much a people’s park, not because it caters to the lowest common denominators of expectations, but playfully challenges people to make of it what they can, each in their own way.

This project reminds us that there was once a Rem Koolhaas quite different from the corporate starchitect we see today. His work in the 70s and early 80s was radical and innovative, but did not get built. Often he didn’t seem to care—it was the ideas that mattered. However, his scheme for the Parc de la Villette begs to have been built and we can only regret that it never was."
architecture  history  france  radicals  remkoolhaas  oma  1970s  1980s  bravery  notcaring  competition  lebbeuswoods  bernardtschumi  parcdelalavillette  brashness  cv  corporatism  starchitects  meaning  sellingout  francoismitterand  grandsprojets  1984  from delicious
april 2011 by robertogreco
Bike Snob NYC: Bike Collabos: It Takes Two (to rip you off)
"This is perhaps the most contrived collision between a cheap bike and street art since some guy in Williamsburg intentionally ghost-rode his Schwinn Varsity conversion into a Biggie Smalls mural."
bikes  culture  via:migurski  humor  sarcasm  sellingout 
january 2008 by robertogreco

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