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  #1  
Old 08-30-2008, 08:44 PM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default Free Will: For Your Consumption

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  #2  
Old 08-31-2008, 04:26 AM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: For Your Consumption

Will, you should have called this one "I wanna be authentic!"

The Timberland story was fantastic.

There's a huge Locavore project in my town, so I'm off to listen to your Marketplace interview.

By the way, any tats? Think about getting a Hayek one.
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  #3  
Old 08-31-2008, 06:22 AM
harkin harkin is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: For Your Consumption

Hate to break it to ya Will but your chair makes you look like Princess Leia.
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  #4  
Old 08-31-2008, 09:20 AM
Ray Ray is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: For Your Consumption

Of course, you can get all of these insights faster and with more verve by simply picking up an old issue of Mad Magazine. True; you might have to spend a couple bucks, but what better investment in your self-narrative can you make?

Still, thanks for the re-hash of de-mythologization--always good to keep such skills honed.

With this in mind, I've just gotta ask: Will, where did you get that fabeaux sweater peeking out from under your button-down?
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  #5  
Old 08-31-2008, 10:17 AM
putnam putnam is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: For Your Consumption

This is my first post. This is a great site and I liked this diavlog. I'm a fan of Rob's work on Slate too, But this struck me:

'I didn't; no one does.

That should be pretty easy to disprove.

Also, regarding wine vs. wine and Budweiser vs. MGD, I believe that branding invades these product classes precisely at the point where they become less distinguishable in substance. There are numerous wines and beers that are distinctive in ways that anyone can discriminate, but they don't tend to be fully branded in the classical sense (the process of attaching an idea to a product or thing). They don't require it and the cost is superfluous. (The internet has unleashed alternative branding schemes in some of these cases; it remains to be seen if the resulting commercial dynamic doesn't lead to greater sameness.) So I guess I'm offering an epistemological challenge. Branded products are all pretty good because branding is part of the same art that creates them. But there are lots of alternative products that aren't rated by Consumer Reports, and wouldn't necessarily compute if they were. The however small proportion of the economy that is local, homemade, barter, illegal, street, whatever, might that refresh the brand gene pool in some important ways that can't be measured? Or is this just out of the scope of the question?
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  #6  
Old 08-31-2008, 10:45 AM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: For Your Consumption

Quote:
Originally Posted by putnam View Post

Also, regarding wine vs. wine and Budweiser vs. MGD, I believe that branding invades these product classes precisely at the point where they become less distinguishable in substance. There are numerous wines and beers that are distinctive in ways that anyone can discriminate, but they don't tend to be fully branded in the classical sense (the process of attaching an idea to a product or thing). They don't require it and the cost is superfluous. (The internet has unleashed alternative branding schemes in some of these cases; it remains to be seen if the resulting commercial dynamic doesn't lead to greater sameness.) So I guess I'm offering an epistemological challenge. Branded products are all pretty good because branding is part of the same art that creates them. But there are lots of alternative products that aren't rated by Consumer Reports, and wouldn't necessarily compute if they were. The however small proportion of the economy that is local, homemade, barter, illegal, street, whatever, might that refresh the brand gene pool in some important ways that can't be measured? Or is this just out of the scope of the question?
I'm not sure you are suggesting that alternative products are better, worse or just different and more distinguishable from the others. I think a great portion of this diavlog was about brand vs non-brand choices. Perhaps the emphasis was on the similar quality between those. If your question is about the contribution of small alternative products which are different (and perhaps better) to the overall competition for quality, my guess would be that a meaningful contribution would only be possible when the alternative products become popular enough (and therefore "large" enough) to be noticed by brand manufacturers or "raters". A good example would be that of coffee. A decade ago the idea of "gourmet" coffee was restricted to a small minority. Since then it has become the rule (although you could argue that what's called "gourmet" now in many places isn't really gourmet but just a barely improved quality compared to the old standard). But it took some pioneer enterprise to build the "coffee culture" before that could happen.
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  #7  
Old 08-31-2008, 01:30 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: For Your Consumption

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Will, you should have called this one "I wanna be authentic!"
Authenticity is in the eye of the beholder.

The beauty of branding has a timely showcase in our politics. Sarah Palin is a relative blank slate awaiting the chalk of pundits and the people.
Her actual record will matter so much less than the success of her branding.
After all the smokescreens, spin and actual reportage, voters (consumers) will decide how the Palin Brand fits with their own self identity. I think she hits a lot of points of agreement from this perspective. It is a cynical ploy by the McCain team, but it's also savvy.

Palin - a product to idealize.

She is already getting booed for name-dropping Hillary. No matter, she can just retool and hit the points that the consumers want to identify with.
Just as Will is drawn to "Chuck Taylor's" Converse or Apple products, he resists for personal reasons that aren't exactly rational.
Maybe Palin will be accepted without reasoned scrutiny. Perhaps she will get the full consumer reports testing (debates, reporters questions,etc...) and be deemed unfit or overpriced. Or, she might become the "Viking Range" of V.P. politics - nonessential but a must have. Go figure.

Last edited by graz; 08-31-2008 at 02:21 PM..
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  #8  
Old 08-31-2008, 02:02 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Authenticity stinks

I hate the entire concept of authenticity. People may not be sincere, they may not be honest, they may not be smart, but unless they're a centaur or something, they're always authentic.

What people, usually jerks, mean when they talk about authentic people is just raw bigotry. They might as well be chanting "One of us! One of us!"

As for culture, authenticity is overrated. Why get hung up on authentic ethnic food or authentic old-timey music? I'm generally pretty curious, and it's fun to know what music sounded like in 1300, or what Tibetans eat, but being old doesn't make music better, and all cuisines are always in flux. There are plenty of interesting subjective merits to judge things on. Authenticity isn't one for me.
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  #9  
Old 08-31-2008, 02:34 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Brand This!

Alaska's proximity to Russia counts as Understanding National Security
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  #10  
Old 08-31-2008, 05:16 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: For Your Consumption

Nice!

I kept waiting to hear the phrase "Help me Obi Wan Kanobi...you're my only hope."
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  #11  
Old 08-31-2008, 05:40 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: For Your Consumption

Quote:
Originally Posted by harkin View Post
Hate to break it to ya Will but your chair makes you look like Princess Leia.
LOL!

When I first saw the still before playing the diavlog, all I could think was that he had a big rear-view mirror behind him, as though he were sitting backwards in a car.
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  #12  
Old 08-31-2008, 05:43 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Authenticity stinks

Quote:
Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
Authenticity isn't one for me.
Would you be annoyed if someone called you a phony?
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  #13  
Old 08-31-2008, 10:25 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Authenticity stinks

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
Would you be annoyed if someone called you a phony?
I mean, take Mitt Romney. He's got to be the definition of phony. But I think that's more to do with his insincerity (he switched plenty of pretty big positions and has no explanation at all for it) thank a lack of authenticity.

Remember Breakfast at Tiffany's?

Quote:
But she's a real phony. You know why? Because she honestly believes all this phony junk she believes in.
But as for me, probably not. I mean, if I reject the concept of authenticity, what does it even mean? I'm a real American because that's just what I am. I'm a computer nerd. That doesn't make me less authentic than a steelworker. We just have different jobs.
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  #14  
Old 08-31-2008, 10:31 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Smile Re: Authenticity stinks

Quote:
Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
...I'm a computer nerd. That doesn't make me less authentic than a steelworker...
Says you!
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  #15  
Old 08-31-2008, 10:51 PM
Ocean Ocean is offline
 
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Default Re: Authenticity stinks

Quote:
Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
But as for me, probably not. I mean, if I reject the concept of authenticity, what does it even mean? I'm a real American because that's just what I am. I'm a computer nerd. That doesn't make me less authentic than a steelworker. We just have different jobs.
All that sounds pretty authentic to me... whether you like it or not!
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  #16  
Old 08-31-2008, 11:12 PM
harkin harkin is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: For Your Consumption

I've never understood the coolness associated by many folks with tats.

My mom used to cook Sunday dinners for the Marines at Pendleton (60s-early 70s) and the ones who were all inked up were usually on the crazier side. That almost cured me from ever wanting a tattoo but I did try to get one in Oceanside one night when I was 16 (a shark on my butt - tattoo guy refused, said my folks would sue him) - but it certainly wasn't for any sort of public display of renegade chic, it was a surfing superstition.

Quoting Jon Voight in Runaway Train regarding tats:

"Look at them tattoos. They'll look really nice...
in a swimming pool in Acapulco. "


I didn't hear Will or Rob mention the curious subject of clothing lines (Tommy Hilfiger, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ralph Lauren) that actually have their names prominently printed or sewn on their product. Considering also that all these lines are ridiculously overpriced, you really wonder about folks who feel the need to actually pay more and end up as walking advertisements for the product. I mean, it looked just as silly and uncool when it said 'Bum Equipment' or 'Members Only'.
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  #17  
Old 09-02-2008, 07:18 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Authenticity stinks

Quote:
Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
What people, usually jerks, mean when they talk about authentic people is just raw bigotry. They might as well be chanting "One of us! One of us!"
Ahem:

Quote:
"Authenticity is the most important characteristic for someone seeking public office,” said Nick Ayers, executive director of the Republican Governors Association. “Any news that comes out about her is not going to hurt her because it reinforces the point that she is authentically one of us." ...

“The media doesn’t understand life membership in the NRA; they don’t understand getting up at 3 a.m. to hunt a moose; they don’t understand eating a mooseburger; they don’t understand being married to a guy who likes to snowmobile for fun. I am not surprised that they don’t get it. But Americans get it,” said Florida Rep. Adam Putnam. “A mooseburger means she is like one of us. She is not some jackass who’s ‘gone Washington.’”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/200...politico/13062

If you get the chance, be sure to see Freaks.
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  #18  
Old 09-02-2008, 07:20 PM
claymisher claymisher is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: For Your Consumption

Oh, youtube, I love you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBXyB7niEc0
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  #19  
Old 09-02-2008, 07:27 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Authenticity stinks

Quote:
Originally Posted by claymisher View Post
Ahem:
That must have felt sweet.

And I do wonder why it's always okay for the wingnuts like Adam Putname to say shit like everyone who's not like him is clueless and not a real American, but they fall on the fainting couch at the hint that people who live in cities might use the word "hicks."
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  #20  
Old 09-02-2008, 09:54 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Free Will: For Your Consumption

Hey Will, how did you get my old pot-dealer to come on the show?

Actually, I loved this diavlog. I look forward to reading Rob's book. You guys should have Rob do a diavlog with Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational). That would be very interesting.
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