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Princess Mushroom

Aug 14, 05 - 12:58 PM
Coffee, Screamers and Mass-Produced Individualism

Pettes have talked before in these hallowed halls about the oddness of mass-produced individualism. I mean the continual stream of advertisements telling people that they can be unique, different and individual by buying this or that mass-product which is turned out in hundreds of millions and sold to everybody.

Well, the other day I was shopping with a young brunette and I ran rather low on blonde-fuel (cappuccino) so we dropped into a burgery (being the only place open at that point - the shops were closing) for a re-fuel. Why can one never get cappuccino in American burgeries? Anyway, one can in the Yeek.

So I was reading the paper mat on my tray which had a long text - I mean War and Peace stuff by tray-mat standards - telling me how I could have my burger with fries (they meant chips) or without, with onion rings or without, with lots of onion rings and no fries. With nothing at all. And this meant I could be an absolute, original individual, completely unlike anyone else. All by buying these mass-produced burgers.

And my friend's paper cup containing her milk-shake displayed another lecture (I assure you I am not making this up) telling her how because she had ordered a medium milk shake not a large and not a small, she is a perfect individual who knows exactly what she wants.

"Pick a card, ma'am, any card. Oh my, ma'am you picked THAT card. What an individual!"

Well, there is a sort of epilogue to this story. I was drinking my cappuccino and it wasn't exactly excellent. Well, you know. Burger-house cappuccino. It isn't exactly Vienna, is it? My friend still had a lot of milk-shake which was practically solid ice-cream (she had bought a medium rather than a small as it was only 1d more and she thought I might like some.

So I thought, why not try making an Eiskaffee like the ones in Vienna? So I tipped a bit of the screamers into my coffee. It was good. So I tipped the lot in. "Really!" said li brunette. But I can tell you it was jolly good. The coffee was too hot anyway. Now the ice-cream didn't cool it down that much. It floated on top (by now being the majority of the drink) and gave a wonderful cold-over-hot baked-Alaska effect when sipped. I would recommend it to any one.

All right. So with all my sophisticated talk about Vienna I am still a Quirrie teenager.

"Now that," said li brunette, "really is originality. Forget all this 'fries or no fries' business. This really is making something individual out of a mass-product."

If a bongo had said it, I suppose it would have been a compliment.

But I wasn't trying to be individual and different. I don't think it is particularly clever to be individual and different. I certainly don't consider it a goal to be striven for. But yes, I suppose I was.

Life is peculiar, isn't it?
Umm Jack

Aug 15th, 2005 - 4:17 AM
Re: Coffee, Screamers and Mass-Produced Individualism

Recently I was beguiled into watching a Pit-movie that had a remarkable example of this phenomenon. Two bongos pick up a hitchhiker from the Real World - from Amish country to be precise - and he tells them he is fleeing "conformity." The bongos then proceed to dress him up in one of the standard issue type-three uniforms of "rebellion." I can't imagine anyone watching this movie could have missed the anti-Pit message, unintentional as it may have been: dressed in his Amish clothing, he was as non-conformist as could be; when they are finished with him, there is nothing in the slightest individual about him at all. He is a perfect clone. He looks just like everyone else who tries to be original and subversive. And when he puts on his Real clothing again, he is, once more, a real individual.
Lady Aquila

Aug 15th, 2005 - 11:17 AM
Re: Coffee, Screamers and Mass-Produced Individualism

Now here is an interesting question. Mr. Amish clearly is a conformist. He is conforming to Amish culture. Therefore he is a non-conformist from the Bongo point of view because he is not conforming to Bongo culture.

When Johnny type-three calls him a "conformist", he must agree, because he is a conformist.

But Johnny type-three is also a conformist. He conforms to type-three anti-culture. What bothers him is that Mr. Amish doesn't conform to that.

The odd part is that Johnny type-three refers to his conformity as "non-conformity". While his attitudes are as totally predictable and "party-line" as can be imagined; while we know his "opinions" on any given subject long before he opens his mouth, while his clothes are the uniform of his type, he somehow manages to believe that he is an original; the only one of his kind; a "non-conformist". So while Zebediah knows exactly what he is, Johnny lives in a world of illusion and self-deception that makes a flat-earther look like a realist. And he doesn't live there alone. he lives there with thousands upon thousands of rubber-stamp, production-line, "non-conformist" Johnnies.

Now, some people might say I am being biased when I refer to "Amish culture" and "type-three anti-culture". But if you think about it, that is what Johnny type-three also believes. A culture is something we conform to. We judge the world by our culture. Johnny does the same, but he denies that he has a culture to conform to. He thinks he is conforming to nothingness. He calls his conformity "non-conformity".

Perhaps, in a sense - not the sense he imagines - he is right.
Ellen Dale

Sep 16th, 2005 - 6:16 AM
Re: Coffee, Screamers and Mass-Produced Individualism

I can see the truth of what you are saying, but I can't help wondering why it is happening. Does anyone gain any advantage from it? Is it to do with modern democracy, because an 'individual' is more easily persuaded and less capable of resistance than a community? Or to do with economics and the pushing of new and/or improved products? Is it just a runaway consequence of eighteenth century ideas of individualism and personal freedom? Or a by-product of mass media?
Lady Aquila

Sep 17th, 2005 - 7:31 PM
Re: Coffee, Screamers and Mass-Produced Individualism

My guess is that it is a mixture of all these things, but the primary one is that all sorts of dominating interests in the Pit want an atomiused individual, who, being separated from any sense of community, tradition, belonging or group-morale, is like chaff in the wind, manipulated by the latest fads and by the mass-media.

Such a person is the perfect serf, and modern serfdom is the real meaning of the cults of "independence" and "rebellion"