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Selling Out | Andrew Potter

youarenotsosmart on October 07, 2012 22:21

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    In this episode, we discuss selling out, countercultures, and authenticity with Andrew Potter, the author of "The Authenticity Hoax." Afterward, I eat a Chewie Chewbacca Chocolate Chip vegan cookie and read a study about the sugar high and hyperactivity.

    Release date: Oct 7, 2012


    25 timed comments and 2 regular comments

    • matoshimo
    • user235517677
    • Ilia Jerebtsov
      Ilia Jerebtsov on October 25, 2012 21:32

      It seems that most people miss the whole point of "competition", and by doing that fail to realize what the crux of authenticity is. Competition is not a bad thing - it's pretty much the only way we have of distributing access to resources and society's benefits. We have to compete, because the Darwinian struggle for survival demands it. If we don't "win" even a little bit, we die alone and in poverty. So status is in fact important, because in its authentic form, it's a result of your ability to coordinate your life in a successful way.

      It's not, however, about being different, or standing out, as those things have no intrinsic value of their own. There must be a valuable reason behind your difference. If you are different because the way in which you provide true value to yourself and to society demands you to be, then your difference is authentic and should be encouraged. If you are different because you bought something to make you appear different, then your value has in reality not increased, and you are merely creating the illusion of value. You're in fact trying to trick society into giving you benefits that you don't deserve, and society is right to defend itself against such a thing.

      Unfortunately the distinction of looking valuable and being valuable is rarely explained or understood, and corporations feed right into it and encourage the ignorance of the difference. It's our natural instinct to look at those who are valuable, and attempt to imitate them. Our first instinctual attempt is naturally cargo-cultish in nature: we try to look like whoever we want to be. This would be fine if we would then move on to actually doing the things we should do in order to be them, but media and advertising reinforces the idea that looking like something is just as good as being it (of course you can get the look by buying their products). But for lack of better knowledge of the work involved in being actually valuable, our attempts end up superficial and yield little result other than the silliness of trends and fashions, which of course feeds right into capitalism's hands.

      The reality is, if you're going to compete, then you should compete in being the best at solving life's real and actual problems - problems that won't go away just because you want them to or because you look different. Compete in developing the best way to build security against the inscrutable reality of the second law of thermodynamics. Compete in planning the most efficient way to ensure that the economic foundations that support your life are solid, secured, planned out, and not owed to someone else. Compete in being the best at providing for yourself and for others. By doing these things, you will be forced to do things in a way that is unique to your specific conditions and strategies, and from that process, the "look" that will set you apart from others will naturally emerge.

      The status that you will have gained will not come from your look, but from the things that you've done that gave you the look. That, is being authentic.

    • Venter's Stag Motel
    • Mikebert
      Mikebert on October 15, 2012 17:40

      Surely a lot of people don't enage in status consumption. I can think of three other utiliies fulfilled by consumption beside status promotion: freedom, fun and security. For example, I hire a lawn service to gain the freedom of not having to mow my lawn. I spent money on various types of entertainment, for vacations and so forth for fun, I need to comsume a variety of necessities which constitute security. Just doing there three is far more than I could manage handling (I hate shopping, my wife does just about all of it). I can't think of actually going to the effort of buying something for status reasons, it just seems like unnecessary work--and I'm kinda lazy.

    • deliriumdog
      deliriumdog at 29.12 on October 15, 2012 16:32

      I can see his argument applied most consumer goods, and even many aspects of the way food is marketed. But I think it's a little dangerous to completely ditch the notion of real food vs. processed foods. His abattoir example only underscores how complicated it can be, but I think Michael Pollen (Omnivore's Dilemma) takes on the issue with a more full accounting for the consequences of our food choices and how the industry has changed over the the last few decades.

    • RosannaWard
      RosannaWard at 38.29 on October 12, 2012 18:20

      Where's Wally has been replaced by the Bearded Masses in Copenhagen now. A-political is an understatement :/

    • JaPz
      JaPz at 4.35 on October 11, 2012 19:01

      So cool and different

    • youarenotsosmart
    • WNY
      WNY at 27.22 on October 10, 2012 16:47

      I suppose mocking the counter culture movement and a need for authenticity the next evolutionary step in the "one up" progression of this new type of consumerism? We're better than them because we're not like them and make fun of them, etc.

    • WNY
    • WNY
    • youarenotsosmart
      youarenotsosmart at 24.12 on October 10, 2012 01:41

      @milkplant: I love the idea of vegetable posers.

    • Charles Buchanan159
      Charles Buchanan159 at 8.48 on October 09, 2012 23:44

      If selling out produces good art, how is that bad?

    • milkplant
      milkplant at 24.12 on October 09, 2012 22:42

      Not entirely true. Coming from California, yes there are many "keeping up with the Joneses" types streaming off the hills to scoop up organic products for their status oriented, showey lifestyle. Then... there are people who actually care about the impact conventional agriculture has on the planet and the body, thus choosing organic/local products specificially for this reason whilts scoffing at the posers (follow up episode on what constitutes a poser???) doing it for vapid reasons. But I do agree heartily with whole marketing business in relation to the hype factor intrinsic in these "trends", for lack of a better term.

    • furian
    • Evilsqirrel
    • LegalInstrumentals
    • Bobbie Snakes
      Bobbie Snakes at 11.08 on October 08, 2012 04:47

      and the system is consumerism. To be involved in anything that is modern, meaning in a way that isn't in the natural cycle of life, is selling out. To everything.

    • Bobbie Snakes
      Bobbie Snakes at 9.44 on October 08, 2012 04:44

      this is an interesting topic

    • Joey.P
      Joey.P at 5.02 on October 08, 2012 03:47

      Good stuff. And nice beat.

    • Dheude Ghetlaust
      Dheude Ghetlaust at 13.43 on October 08, 2012 02:30

      Wait a second... I think I listened to this some time ago...

    • youarenotsosmart
    • youarenotsosmart
    • youarenotsosmart
    • youarenotsosmart
      youarenotsosmart at 0.20 on October 08, 2012 00:36

      Intro music by Caravan Palace - Song: Clash

    • KeysNDope

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