Only Bags, But All You Need™
If you can’t consume–and you know you can’t, not on the level you crave, not on the level that has been spoon-fed to you by social media and the mediated fiction of celebrity existence–you can at least attain the aesthetic of consumption. And that’s nothing to sneeze at! If there’s one thing we know from acquiring our bag samples, it’s that strolling down the street laden with (empty, of course!) Balenciaga, Valentino, Rolex, et al. is one hell of a power trip.
Carrying an armload of bags puts you in dialogue with all the images you’ve seen of people carrying armloads of bags. Who are they? Celebrities, whether due to their talent or wealth–the most conspicuous of consumers. Who are you? Someone who now has this visual signifier in common with celebrities. At the very least, you look rich.
When you run out of bubblegum and put on your sunglasses, you can look down 5th Avenue and see that everyone is pushing one of those kiddie-sized shopping carts with the plastic flag that hauntingly proclaims, “customer in training.” At some point we decided subliminal messaging was no longer necessary and started printing labels right on the children.
The view through the bars of a shopping cart sure looks like a certain kind of jail, regardless of whether you’re on the inside looking out or the outside looking in. We are either prisoners of our excesses or our unattainable desires for excess.