This sticker vending machine is an interesting study in identity. It gives you many options, the Disney princesses, the Marvel superheroes, the South Park kids. Among all the Hannah Montana glamour shots, a child choosing which stickers he or she wants is choosing an idol and a brand. This becomes part of the dramaturgy as a child chooses to be either a princess or a superhero and acts out the archetype.
I found this in a supermarket in LA, a claw machine stocked with the normal bevy of stuffed animals and toys, however many of these creatures were also strapped to money. The machine had toys with 5,10, and 20 dollar bills tied to their side. This game is usually meant for kids who seek these stuffed animals as playmates as they create imaginary lives or make believe stories. By placing the money in with the toys, the machine is getting children hooked on capitalism at a very young age.
I spotted these purses at a place where the archaic fashions of years passed go to die, Goodwill. Using Cooley’s discussion of how self emerges through an interactive social process, I look at all the items I find in Goodwill as tools the actors once used to set the stage for their performance as a person.
This was my family’s pumpkin display for Halloween 2011. They are roughly carved renditions of the iconic images belonging to the various New England sports teams. From left to right, the Patriots, the Bruins, the Red Sox and the Celtics. We grew up bonding over the Boston sports teams, watching them on television and at the stadiums, buying each other jerseys and collectibles for Christmas, and attending the championship parades. Lucky for us, the last 10 years have been the most successful in Boston sports history, and we watch and buy with pride as our teams become champions over and over. All of that time we thought we were forming an identity as Bostonians, but we were also contributing to the culture industry.
This picture was taken out in LA. A few things stood out as relating to what we have learned about the capitalistic society. First the loss of individuality and individual feelings. The bold declarations of the prices for divorce, incorporation and living trust seem almost blasphemous, as they simplify and put prices on situations that are extremely personal and emotional. This would have to do with rationality, the idea discussed by Weber. Instead of reacting to the emotional aspects of divorce, this service advertises its prices rather than its support or empathy.
This picture was taken in my very room. The scene was set one frantic morning when I tore apart my makeup drawer looking for a certain color eye shadow. I realized as I was going about my morning routine that I was acting out a form of female habitus. Every morning as I put on my makeup and do my hair, I am a exhibiting a prime example of how my body and its knowledges have been shaped by a lifetime of physical repetition. Putting on my eyeliner, the exact shape I draw is something my body knows how to do and my conscious brain is not even aware of. When I act out these redundant grooming routines, I am not only performing mindless cultural rituals sold to me by glossy television shows or shiny makeup stores, I am also working on my embodied capital.