Like Bear, I'm finally getting a new cell phone. Not because I need one, but because my phone company is forcing me to upgrade. My old scratched up Nokia has been dependable and, if not for a tired battery, I'd be content to keep it duct taped together until something critical really brakes. Don't get me wrong, I'll be glad to have a nice new shiny phone with a long-lasting battery, but at the same time I know it's not going to be a quantum leap in service and technology. I'm lukewarm, and definitely NOT excited about all the new features I'll have to learn how to use.
I feel the same way about cars, clothes, homes and just about anything else. That is, I appreciate things that are built to last more than ones with mere style and temporary cachet (having both is rare and wonderful, and another story altogether).
I've often wondered why more people don't share this appreciation for things that have a little character... that age well... that work, perhaps with quirks.
Slade [also] explores the Depression-era development of marketing campaigns that encouraged rapid automobile replacement and resulted in products designed not to last -- a concept called "death dating." By the end of World War II, Americans' self-image and esteem were entwined with the possession of the shiny and new as never before. Then, in the 1950s and '60s, the media began touting a plethora of products whose novelty outweighed their necessity, to a growing -- and increasingly affluent -- audience. To this day, says Slade, "We evaluate ourselves and those around us by what they display. It's a very hard cycle to break."
I shall read this book. My misanthropy will likely increase. And I'll probably want to keep driving my beat-up car for another 100,000 miles. Why do I feel like that's being a bad American?