I am increasingly appalled by how superficial our culture is becoming. It seems that appearance has become the means by which we judge and are judged. Of course, business has cottoned on to this, and is using the slightest of pretexts to coerce us into spending huge sums of money when modest sums would suffice: such is their mission. The old notion of use-value has been cast aside.
In a word, let us call it 'fashion'. If a designer's label is deemed fashionable, or a particular style of commodity has become de rigueur, people think nothing of spending four times or more the amount that an equivalent product from a 'lesser' brand would dare charge. And what does one gain from this extravagance? Nothing except the vague perception of acceptability.
Here are a few examples which spring readily to mind (no doubt we could all add equally valid entries to the list):
Such conspicuous consumerism would have been frowned upon only a couple of decades ago. Yesterday's ostentation has become today's "fashion statement." How willingly our nation has espoused such things. It is time this self-imposed tyranny stopped.
As for me, I refuse to think the less of a person who does not wear Calvin Klein jeans and Nike training shoes; if anything, it speaks to me of an individual. Give me some sensible trousers and a pair of stout brogues, and I'm a happy man.
as published in the Nottingham Evening Post, 2nd November 2000
...and the response...