Lead Us into Temptation The Triumph of American Materialism

ISBN-10: 0231115199

ISBN-13: 9780231115193

Edition: 1999 (Reprint)

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Description: Coke adds life. Just do it. Yo quiero Taco Bell. We live in a commercial age, awash in a sea of brand names, logos, and advertising jingles -- not to mention commodities themselves. Are shoppers merely the unwitting stooges of the greedy producers who will stop at nothing to sell their wares? Are the producers' powers of persuasion so great that resistance is futile? James Twitchell counters this assumption of the used and abused consumer with a witty and unflinching look at commercial culture, starting from the simple observation that "we are powerfully attracted to the world of goods (after all, we don't call them 'bads')." He contends that far from being forced upon us against our better judgment, "consumerism is our better judgment." Why? Because increasingly, store-bought objects are what hold us together as a society, doing the work of "birth, patina, pews, coats of arms, house, and social rank" -- previously done by religion and bloodline. We immediately understand the connotations of status and identity exemplified by the Nike swoosh, the Polo pony, the Guess? label, the DKNY logo. The commodity alone is not what we are after; rather, we actively and creatively want that logo and its signification -- the social identity it bestows upon us. As Twitchell summarizes, "Tell me what you buy, and I will tell what you are and who you want to be." Using elements as disparate as the film The Jerk, French theorists, popular bumper stickers, and Money magazine to explore the nature and importance of advertising lingo, packaging, fashion, and "The Meaning of Self," Twitchell overturns one stodgy social myth after another. In the process he reveals the purchase and possession of things to be the self-identifying acts of modern life. Not only does the car you drive tell others who you are, it lets you know as well. The consumption of goods, according to Twitchell, provides us with tangible everyday comforts and with crucial inner security in a seemingly faithless age. That we may find our sense of self through buying material objects is among the chief indictments of contemporary culture. Twitchell, however, sees the significance of shopping. "There are no false needs." We buy more than objects, we buy meaning. For many of us, especially in our youth, Things R Us.

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Book details

List price: $32.00
Copyright year: 1999
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 10/18/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 310
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.946

James B. Twitchell is professor of English and advertising at the University of Florida and author of many books, including Adcult USAand Lead Us Into Temptation. He is also the author of 20 Ads That Shook the World, For Shame, and Branded Nation.Ken Ross has been a fine art photographer and educator for over thirty years. His photography has been displayed in numerous exhibits and featured in the New York Timesand Esquiremagazine. He has been awarded a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Grant and a New Jersey Artist Fellowship for the photographs seen in Where Men Hide.

Introduction
Attention Kmart Shoppers: A Brief Consumer Guide to Consumption, Commercialism, and the Meaning of Stuff
The Language of Things: Advertising and the Rhetoric of Salvation
But First, a Lot of Words from Our Sponsor: How We Hear What Things Have to Say
Boxed In: The Power of Packaging
The Branding of Experience: Or Why the Label Has Moved from Inside the Collar to Outside on the Shirt
The Function of Fashion in an Age of Individualism
Enough Talk: Let's Shop!
The Liberating Role of Consumption
References
Index
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