Posts tagged “johnny holland”

Curating Consumption #4

We’re back with another round of some curious, provocative, amusing, and frightening observations that come from our daily experiences as researchers and as consumers. Thanks to Tamara Christensen for her contribution!


Ideally parental love is unconditional love. And when you love something or someone you want to tell everyone how great they are. It’s not that disease or disability should be hidden away in shame, but what aspects of our lives do we choose to announce and celebrate? It’s not uncommon to hear that people with Down’s Syndrome do have a number of uniquely endearing qualities that are particular to the syndrome, but is that what’s behind this parent’s vanity license and license frame? /SP


Of course this is a kind of service; I’m not surprised to learn that it exists but I’m still surprised to see it in my daily travels. I was certainly struck by the 2012 touches, using aspirational words like “grooming” and “beautification” (over the more common “maintenance”). And why not put the (delightfully alliterative) name of your business on your hearse-black vehicle? You never know where you’ll find customers! Perhaps even when parked in front of your local coffee shop. /SP


I came across this during a recent hike by the ocean, painted on one of the few large concrete blocks spattered about the landscape. I was taken aback by this image/text combination and immediately created a narrative with two dueling characters. First comes the antagonist, whose symbol of choice is a weapon, and later comes the protagonist who uses language to diffuse and reframe this act of aggression. Of course it’s possible that a single artist is responsible, but why would the hero deliver a message – intended to disarm – with such heavy artillery? /TC


Here’s Steve figuring out where to dispose of the trash from lunch. In the Bay Area, composting bins are getting pretty common in public places and along local trash pick-up routes. “Trash” is no longer a catch-all term or container. Composting is the new recycling. Green is the new blue. There are more bins plus posters and pamphlets that explain what goes where. For example, in some places the chicken leftovers go in the trash, in other places it goes in the compost bin. Disposable paper plates or plastic utensils are tricky because they might be compost, or recycling, or the trash. Ironically, the quest for more environment and consumer-friendly waste management involves the creation of more trash (i.e. bins, bags, and signs) and more confusion. /TC

Challenge: Keep our minds open

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Johnny Holland has published my latest article, Let’s Embrace Open-Mindedness.

A few months earlier, however, I gazed at the edge of my comfort zone and decided not to cross: walking through Santa Monica we came upon the Independent Spirit Awards ceremony. Crowds of people were gathered, waiting for a glimpse of the stars. We found the serious autograph hounds who were there with portable plastic bins stuffed with headshots for signing (and reselling on eBay). It was a definite subculture: people filled each other in about the unspoken rules: what happens when a celeb approaches, when to use your Sharpie, how to hand it to them, and so on. I was fascinated but my obvious outsider/passerby status felt like a barrier. And then I saw a woman covered in tattoos, where each tattoo was a signature. I realized her particular shtick was to get autographs and then go directly to the tattoo parlor to have that autograph made permanent (the ultimate version of “I’ll never wash this hand again!”). I watched her and the group for a while, and thought about whether or not I would ask her for a picture. There was something slightly wild about her and I couldn’t figure out how to make the request. Sure, in the cold light of these pixels, it’s easy to think “What’s the worst that could happen?” but in the moment itself we may deal with it less rationally. I was actively taking pictures during my trip and I really wanted a picture of this woman but I was never able to do it. As with the cheese, I did step outside the experience for a moment, look at where I wanted to go, and decide whether I was able to cross that gulf. Here, I couldn’t.

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