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June 27, 2006



How would Tara ride into Jerusalem? Auto-crucified by plastic surgery.

Kes, are 4x4’s a symbol of plunder? If so it’s a weird one, as wealth has always carried an element of ‘unconditional expenditure’ (to use Bataille’s terminology) and excess. It’s a really difficult line to tread, for as much as I hate the pig-ignorance of the wealthy and the pretenders, there is a real space for non-utilitarian acts and waste. Maybe it’s back to the nature of transaction and community, potlatch versus shopping- the difference between individual excess and organised communal destruction. There is also the question of the nature of consumption, Lewis Hyde’s definition of consumption being the same as movement- ownership is always static.

Do you remember, back in the days of yore, we were going to do something on the idea of ‘God is useless’? I’ve still got the sketches.


When you say 'there is real space for non-utilitarian acts and waste' you're right - I think we have to 'distinguish between potlatch and shopping'. Nice turn of phrase.

On the 4x4's, I would think they could be seen as a symbol of plunder, but only in certain contexts. Your farmer dad, for example, might actually well need a vehicle like that. If you go around Africa, an old Defender is a symbol of frugality, not frivolity as they can be so infinitely repaired. But around London... yes, I'd say they were definitely trophy vehicles. A pure status symbol, or status sign - physically putting people above others.

This is a classic example of the vicious circle, because the justification many people give for having them is security - they offer better protection. But the logical conclusion of that is that if we all have them, then they wouldn't offer better protection, so the rich would get even bigger ones... and so it continues.

I'll get onto what I mean by plunder soon, but suffice to say, the only way out of such a viscious circle is through 'gift' - a positioning of the other before the self... And in such a position you wouldn't buy the 4x4 as it would harm 'the other'.


have you seen banksy's latest?

thought of this series of posts straight away... actually, i'm staying in kensington, post greenbelt. these posts are on my mind every day.

i was hoping to meet you at greenbelt - where did the weekend go? loved the talk.

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