Those dead cats will be worth something someday

In any society that exploits the capacity of skilled workers to change locations on short notice — in which, as a result, people spend an increasing amount of time in short-term housing, briefly rented apartments, and hotels — a growing number have to adjust themselves to what, in essence, is somebody else’s broad sketch of a home looks like, or what a dining room looks like. In such a society, there are few beloved objects, and too many interchangeable ones that must constantly be discarded and replaced. Minimalism is eventually depressing, and yet, on a practical level, life still seems not portable enough, not by a long shot. Important information is difficult to keep “in sync,” and moving is still a terrible ordeal.

In this society, then, the attitude towards the object becomes increasingly hysterical. Psychically, we are starving for objects: we want to glut ourselves on them, binge on things, like Scrooge McDuck swimming around in piles of gold coins. Simultaneously, we are disgusted by them (in short, we treat all objects with the same craving and contempt we feel towards food). Surely, then, this situation must create a desire for a cathartic cultural ritual focusing on individuals who have been defeated by objects, and are now trapped in a masturbatory, dangerous swamp of them, “pigging out.” Such a cultural product would not be tragic; instead, it would be half-comedy, half-nightmare. Sometimes, the individual renounces the overflow. In return, he receives assistance with a tremendous, bulimic purge of these things, an act that marks his redemption and re-integration into society.

The rest of the time, the things win; this doesn’t affect the entertainment value of the show at all, because either way, the audience members watching on their laptops still feel the horror and the pity. But of course it’s nice to see cleanliness and order winning an occasional victory; those people are lucky. Finally, like the rest of us, they can move on — over, and over, and over.

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