venerdì 15 aprile 2016

Three SURFACE AND SUBSTANCE (moda e lusso) - The Substance of Style by Virginia Postrel

Three SURFACE AND SUBSTANCE - The Substance of Style by Virginia Postrel ------------ bello&falso acqua&sapone femministebrutte controillusso allaboutstatus sovietizzazione sentirsiricchi queldemoniodellamoda ilpiaceredellanovità retoricadellautenticità buonoebello? bellezzadel9/11
Three SURFACE AND SUBSTANCERead more at location 1200
ThreeRead more at location 1201
Note: Elogio della supervicie: cattolici vs puritani; Scuola di francoforte vs consumismo; femministe vs veline Accusa 1: la superficie distrae dal contenuto (contro: identità) Accusa 2: la superficie denuncia solo preoccupazioni di status (contro: esperimento mentale) Accusa: e la moda. Ok il bello, ma x' mai il bello dovrebbe cambiare? Anche la novità offre un piacere estetico. E poi la moda precede la società capitalista. Considera la moda dei nomi. Il bello e il male: riusciamo ad apprezzare Refi? Riusciamo ad apprezzare le immagini del 9/11? Estetica x tutti = libertà (chiedere alle donne afghane) Edit
everyone believes that surface has genuine worth. Three SURFACE AND SUBSTANCERead more at location 1203
Note: 3@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ Edit
it’s hard to measure the value of aesthetics, even in a straightforward business context.Read more at location 1204
Note: QUANTO VALE IL BELLO? Edit
We know that people generally don’t want something that’s otherwise worthless just because it comes in a pretty package and, conversely, that valuable goods and services are worth even more in attractive wrappings.Read more at location 1208
In the early 1990s, Motorola came out with an updated version of its most popular pager. The new version had enhanced features, but what really made it special was the pager’s colorful face.Read more at location 1212
Note: MOTOROLA Edit
squirt-gun green plastic, which actually cost us nothing, could get us fifteen bucks extra per unit.”Read more at location 1216
Paying more for green plastic is stupid, and only a dupe would do it. Function, not form, creates legitimate value.Read more at location 1223
Note: ORTODOSSIA Edit
To such critics, form is dangerously seductive, because it allows the sensory to override the rational. An appealing package can make you believe that Nazis are good, or that colas are distinguishable. The very power of aesthetics makes its value suspect. “In advertising, packaging, product design, and corporate identity, the power of provocative surfaces speaks to the eye’s mind, overshadowing matters of quality or substance,” writes Stuart Ewen,Read more at location 1230
Note: LA SEDUZIONE DEL BELLO Edit
Sociologist Daniel Bell, in the twentieth-anniversary edition of his influential book The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, points to the prominence of cosmeticsRead more at location 1237
Note: DANIEL BELL Edit
the pervasive falsehood oiling “the machinery of gratification and instant desire” that is contemporary capitalism. Women’s fashion and fashion photography exemplify for Bell the same falsehood as advertising: “this task of selling illusions, the persuasions of the witches’ craft,”Read more at location 1239
Note: FALSITÀ DEL CAPITALISMO Edit
contradictions that will ultimately bring down capitalism by eroding its Puritan foundation.Read more at location 1241
Note: CONTRADDETTE LE FONDAMENTA PURITANE Edit
“The world of hedonism,” he writes, “is the world of fashion, photography, advertising, television, travel. It is a world of make-believe.”Read more at location 1242
Note: EDONISMO Edit
Frankfurt School Marxists Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer put it in an influential 1944 essay. In commercial products at least, such critics see ornament and variety not as goods that we value for their own sakes but as tools for creating false desire. Where the gullible public finds pleasure and meaning, the expert observer perceives deception.Read more at location 1245
Note: ADORNO. CAP. ARTE DELL INGANNO Edit
“That the difference between the Chrysler range and General Motors products is basically illusory strikes every child with a keen interest in varieties,” declare Adorno and Horkheimer.Read more at location 1248
The claim is unfalsifiable, since the more we try to proclaim the real value we attach to look and feel, the more we demonstrate just how duped we are.Read more at location 1251
Note: INFALSIFICABILE Edit
Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems, who declared PowerPoint presentations wasteful because they consume more computer memory than handwritten slides—evenRead more at location 1255
Note: POWERPOINT Edit
This reasoning combines the oversimplified Maslovian idea, “aesthetics is a luxury,” with a puritanical conviction that luxury is waste.Read more at location 1258
Note: CONTRO IL LUSSO Edit
A conservative minister worries that evangelical churches, in their efforts to attract and hold members, have sacrificed the substance of preaching and prayer for mere spectacle.Read more at location 1260
Note: IL DEGRADO DELLE CHIESE EVANGELICHE Edit
There is a sensory feast but a famine of hearing….Read more at location 1265
This critique reflects the widespread fear that surface and substance cannot coexist, that artifice inevitably detracts from truth.Read more at location 1271
Note: IL BELLO INCOMPATIBILE Edit
One sign of the “age of falsification,” writes a critic, is “the blockbuster movie in which story line and plausibility are sacrificed to digital effects and Dolby Sound.”Read more at location 1275
Note: DOLBY SOUND Edit
Even worse, we fear, the aesthetic imperative is disguising who we really are. From Loos to Bell, and for centuries before them, critics of ornament have aimed some of their sharpest attacks at bodily decoration—atRead more at location 1278
Note: CONTRO LA COSMESI Edit
In the seventeenth century, writers and preachers warned against women’s makeup, which “takes the pencill out of God’s hand,” defying nature and divine will. “What a contempt of God is this, to preferre the worke of thine owne finger to the worke of God?” exclaimed one writer condemning cosmetics.Read more at location 1280
Note: ACQUA E SAPONE Edit
In The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf advocates “civil rights for women that will entitle a woman to say that she’d rather look like herself than some ‘beautiful’ young stranger.” Wolf praises the “female identity” affirmed by women who refuse to alter their appearance with makeup, hair dye, or cosmetic surgery: “a woman’s determination to show her loyalty—in the face of a beauty myth as powerful as myths about white supremacy—to her age, her shape, her self, her life.” Except those born with exceptional natural beauty, authenticity and aesthetics are, in this vision, inevitably at odds. Remaining true to oneself means eschewing artifice.Read more at location 1284
Note: IL FEMMINISMO CHE DIFENDE LA BRUTTEZZA Edit
Viscerally, if not intellectually, we’re convinced that style does matter, that look and feel add something important to our lives. We ignore the preachers and behave as if aesthetics does have real value. We cherish streamlined artifacts, unconcerned that they do not really move through space. We find spiritual uplift in pageantry and music. We prefer PowerPoint typefaces and color to plain, handwritten transparencies. We define our real selves as the ones wearing makeup and high heels.Read more at location 1290
Note: L ISTINTO X IL BELLO Edit
English professor who advises aspiring humanities scholars on their appearance and manners. Still, she warns that the wrong clothes can be catastrophic: “If you don’t know how to dress, then what else don’t you know? Do you know how to advise students or grade papers? The clothes are part of the judgment of the mind.”Read more at location 1301
Note: SE NN SAI VESTIRTI... ALLORA Edit
Hillary Rodham Clinton,Read more at location 1305
Note: I CAPELLI DELLA CLINTON Edit
“The most important thing that I have to say today is that hair matters,” she said. “This is a life lesson my family did not teach me, Wellesley and Yale failed to instill in me: the importance of your hair. Your hair will send very important messages to those around you.Read more at location 1305
Beneath the humor is a sense of betrayal. Why are you so obsessed with my hair? Why won’t you take me seriously? It wasn’t supposed to be this way, not for ambitious public women. Hair is just surface stuff.Read more at location 1310
The joke simultaneously expresses three contradictory beliefs: that appearance matters and should be given due attention (the unironic reading); that appearance shouldn’t matter (the ironic reading); and that appearance matters for its own aesthetic pleasures rather than for any message it sends (“what hopes and dreams you have for your hair”).Read more at location 1320
What is the substance of surface?   When they aren’t denouncing surfaces as lies and illusion, cultural critics typically have one explanation for why we devote time, attention, and, most of all, money to aesthetics: It’s all about status.Read more at location 1327
Note: ALL ABOUT STATUS Edit
When they aren’t denouncing surfaces as lies and illusion, cultural critics typically have one explanation for why we devote time, attention, and, most of all, money to aesthetics: It’s all about status.Read more at location 1328
In Luxury Fever, a self-described “book about waste,” economist Robert Frank treats the aesthetic ratchet effect as entirely status-driven. We want ever-more appealing things because our neighbors have them.Read more at location 1331
Luxury Fever,Read more at location 1331
Robert Frank treats the aesthetic ratchet effect as entirely status-driven. Read more at location 1332
Note: ROBERT FRANK. TUTTO STATUS E INVIDIA Edit
in Frank’s world, finding out that our neighbors are enjoying some new luxury functions only as a competitive spur, not as information about what’s possible. We aren’t happy for the neighbors. We don’t want to share the same pleasures.Read more at location 1333
Note: PIACERE ZERO NEL MONDO DI FRANK Edit
Larger, better appointed homes are not, in this view, an enjoyable effect of prosperity but the outcome of a raceRead more at location 1336
Note: FRANK: LA PROSPERITÀ NN ESISTE Edit
The argument depends on the conviction that we do not want those expensive shoes or large homes because of any intrinsic qualities. Frank assumes that we do not value the luxuries themselves—the soft leather of the shoes, the smooth granite countertop, the sculptural lines of the car, the drape and fit of the jacket—but just want to stand out, or at least not look bad, compared to other people. He also imagines only rivalry, not identification,Read more at location 1341
Note: ASSUNTO: IL BELLO NN CI INTERESSA Edit
Not surprisingly, he sees aesthetic competition as almost entirely wasteful,Read more at location 1345
In this view, we would all benefit if men could agree to wear cheap,Read more at location 1349
Note: IN DIVISA TUTTI MEGLIO Edit
Frank thinks it’s just a matter of status-oriented one-upmanship, focused almost entirely on how much things cost.Read more at location 1351
Note: FRANK: CONTA SOLO IL PREZZO Edit
What would happen if every restaurant looked like a functional school cafeteria—butRead more at location 1353
Note: TUTTO SOVIETIZZATO Edit
What if every product came in a plain black-and-white box—but one company invested in graphics and color? What if everyone wore drab Mao suits—but one person dressed with color, tailoring, and flair? People would, of course, be drawn to the aesthetic deviant, even though that nonconformity might well offend the reigning status hierarchy. This thought experiment suggests something at work besides status and one-upmanship.Read more at location 1354
Note: ESPERIMENTO Edit
Sensory pleasure works to commercial and personal advantage because aesthetics has intrinsic value.Read more at location 1357
Note: VALORE INTRINSECO Edit
If you show up for an interview in a custom-tailored suit only to find your prospective boss wearing khakis and a polo shirt, the mismatch in aesthetic identities will cancel out any imagined status gains.Read more at location 1361
Note: STATUS E SOLDI. INSIDIE Edit
Status competition is part of human life, of course. But cultural analysts like Frank are so determined to see status as the only possible value, and money as the only source of status, that they often ignore the very evidence they cite.Read more at location 1363
Frank writes that “the status symbol of the 1990s has been the restaurant stove.”Read more at location 1365
Note: STUFE Edit
To bolster his argument, he quotes a woman who owns a $7,000 stove, despite rarely cooking at home.Read more at location 1366
Does she say she wanted to stand out from the crowd? No, she describes the stove as a work of art:Read more at location 1367
work of art:Read more at location 1368
quotation demonstrates the opposite of what Frank maintains:Read more at location 1369
Even analysts who do not view luxury goods as waste do not necessarily credit the goods’ intrinsic sensory appeal. In Living It Up, a mostly sympathetic analysis of what he calls “opuluxe,” James Twitchell examines the spread of luxury goods, which he describes as “objects as rich in meaning as they are low in utility.”Read more at location 1376
Note: SENTIRSI RICCHI O AMORE X IL BELLO? Edit
Anyone can buy into the signs of wealth, so “making it” is no longer a matter of joining a socially exclusive club.Read more at location 1379
The status critique does not actually say luxury is meaningless.Read more at location 1400
Note: NN ESISTONO SOLO FUNZIONE E SIGNIFICATO! Edit
The status critique sees only two possible sources of value: function and meaning; and it reduces meaning to a single idea: “I’m better than you.” It denies the existence or importance of aesthetic pleasure and the many meanings and associations that can flow from that pleasure.Read more at location 1402
If surfaces are “trivial stuff,” surfaces that change for no good reason are even less worthy. Hence, those who see aesthetics as “illusion” and “make-believe” are particularly vitriolic toward fashion.Read more at location 1410
Note: QUEL DEMONIO DELLA MODA Edit
“Typewriters and telephones came out in a wide range of colors in 1956, presumably to make owners dissatisfied with their plain old black models,” sniffed the influential social critic Vance Packard in his 1957 book The Hidden Persuaders. Nearly a half century later, many people still imagine that the world works the way Packard portrayed it.Read more at location 1415
Note: PACKARD E IL COLORE DEI TELEFONI Edit
artificial obsolescence.Read more at location 1418
Note: OBSOLESCENZA CALCOLATA Edit
Today an engineer similarly condemns the latest iMac for using behind-the-curve chips and mocks buyers who’ve “been seduced by the case plastic”:Read more at location 1420
Fashion exists because novelty is itself an aesthetic pleasure.Read more at location 1434
Note: IL PIACERE DELLA NOVITÀ Edit
The fashion process is not mechanical but contingent; which changes will fit the moment depends on a host of unarticulated desires and unnoticed influences, making shifts hard to predict. A fashion writer refers to “fashion’s X-factor, the unknown quantity that makes an item seem hot to a consumer.Read more at location 1454
Note: MODA E IMPREVEDIBILITÀ Edit
The sales racks are full of aesthetic experiments that failed to capture the public imagination, and every such item is an argument against the notion that authorities can dictate style.Read more at location 1458
We find fashion patterns in goods for which there is no commercial market. Historian Anne Hollander notes that fashion in clothing has existed for eight hundred years, centuries longer than the apparel business. “The shifty character of what looks right is not new, and was never a thing deliberately created to impose male will on females, or capitalist will on the population, or designers’ will on public taste,” she writes. “Long before the days of industrialized fashion, stylistic motion in Western dress was enjoying a profound emotional importance, giving a dynamically poetic visual cast to people’s lives, and making Western fashion hugely compelling all over the world.” Pleasure, not manipulation, drives changes in look and feel.Read more at location 1460
Note: HOLLANDER: MODA DEI NOMI MODA DI 800 ANNI FA Edit
Sociologist Stanley Lieberson has studied how tastes in children’s names change over time. Nobody runs ads to convince parents to choose Emily or Joshua for their newborns. No magazine editors authoritatively dictate that “Ryan is the new Michael.” But names still shift according to fashion. Name choices, like clothing choices, are influenced by the desire to be different but not too different;Read more at location 1466
Contrary to common assumptions about how fashion works, Lieberson finds that names don’t trickle down in a simple way from high-income, well-educated parents to lower-income, less-educated parents. Newly popular names tend to catch on with everyone at about the same time. External influences, such as the names of celebrities or fictional characters, do play a role in what’s popular. But cause and effect are complicated. Fictional characters don’t just publicize possible names; their creators, like new parents, select those names from the current milieu.Read more at location 1473
Note: COME SI SCEGLIE UN NOME Edit
And whether a famous name spreads partly depends on internal, purely aesthetic factors.Read more at location 1477
Harrison Ford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Wesley Snipes are all action stars, but their stardom hasn’t translated into millions of little Harrisons, Arnolds, or Wesleys—in part because their names just don’t sound all that appealing.Read more at location 1477
Whether for names or clothes, fashion reflects the primacy of individual taste over inherited custom. The freer people feel to choose names they like, rather than, say, names of relatives or saints, the more rapidly baby names go through fashion cycles. As Hollander observes, “Fashion has its own manifest virtue, not unconnected with the virtues of individual freedom and uncensored imagination that still underlie democratic ideals.”Read more at location 1488
Note: LIBERTÀ E MODA NEI NOMI Edit
This dynamic perturbs critics. Static, customary forms, they suggest, are more authentic. Thus Daniel Bell worries about the rise of syncretism, “the jumbling of styles in modern art,Read more at location 1495
Note: AUTENTICITÀ Edit
Ewen, again equating style with illusion, writes that “modern style speaks to a world where change is the rule of the day, where one’s place in the social order is a matter of perception, the product of diligently assembled illusions.”Read more at location 1499
This analysis scorns the search for individual satisfaction and self-definition—theRead more at location 1506
the value of objects was less and less associated with workmanship, material quality, and rarity, and more and more derived from the abstract and increasingly malleable factor of aesthetic appeal.Read more at location 1511
The old “symbols of perpetuity” were in fact products of a traditional, fairly static social order.Read more at location 1518
Note: NOSTALGIA DELL STATICO Edit
These goods demonstrated inherited social position; only a family that had maintained wealth and rank over generations would possess homes, portraits, furnishings, or silverware with the patina of age. You could show off your grandfather’s portrait or your great-grandmother’s silver only if your family was in fact one of long-standing status.Read more at location 1518
Note: MODA E NOBILTÀ Edit
Surface patina demonstrated social substance. As anthropologist Grant McCracken notes, “The patina of an object allows it to serve as the medium for a vitally important status message.Read more at location 1521
ephemeral nineteenth-century merchandise that Ewen condemns spread new aesthetic pleasures to people of limited means.Read more at location 1526
Such critics exaggerated both year-to-year fashion shifts and the response of consumers; as we know from survey data, families with moderate incomes did not own large or frequently changing wardrobes.Read more at location 1537
Note: OSSESSIONE MO? NO Edit
We do not know, of course, that traditional peasant women experienced no such pangs. Folktales like “Cinderella” suggest that they did.Read more at location 1542
Note: ANCHE CHI NN POTEVA DESIDERAVA Edit
How we deal with fashion’s flux suggests something about our inner life. Can we enjoy its pleasures, using them to create an aesthetic identity that reflects who we are, including what we enjoy?Read more at location 1555
Note: IL FLUSSO DELLA MODA Edit
From well-intended mothers to scathing social commentators, authorities tell us that surfaces are “meaningless.” That might be true if they meant that the value of aesthetics lies in its own pleasures, not in what it says about something else. But that’s not at all what they intend. Authorities call aesthetics “meaningless” to suggest that it is worthless and unimportant, that it doesn’t matter.Read more at location 1558
Note: APPARENZA ZERO MEANING Edit
The challenge is to learn to accept that aesthetic pleasure is an autonomous good, not the highest or the best but one of many plural, sometimes conflicting, and frequently unconnected sources of value.Read more at location 1591
Note: IL SEGRETO. IL BELLO X IL BELLO Edit
A bad person can be beautiful or create beautiful things. A good person can be ugly or make bad art. Goodness does not create or equal beauty. The problem with Leni Riefenstahl’s films is not that they’re aesthetically powerful—that achievement is, considered in isolation, valuable.Read more at location 1601
Note: BUONO E BELLO VANNO INSIEME? Edit
Beauty is not a moral defense, merely an autonomous value.Read more at location 1603
Riefenstahl’s artistic achievements, and her images, are permanently polluted by the cause she served.Read more at location 1610
Note: L IMPOTENZA DELL ESTETICA Edit
Aesthetics is not a psychological superweapon,Read more at location 1612
When terrorists slammed two passenger jets into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Michael Bierut had his own moment of Nazis-to-Pepsi self-doubt. He was in London and returned home to Manhattan a few days after the attack. “As a designer,” he wrote me, “I am still reeling from the images of 9/11.” The act had been horrifying, but the images it created could not have been better designed:Read more at location 1613
Note: 9/11 E BELLEZZA Edit
If an event so awful could look so vivid, even beautiful in a purely formal sense, how could we trust aesthetic pleasure?Read more at location 1619
Note: AFFIDARSI AL BELLO? Edit
The attack, wrote Bierut, “makes me think about all the times I’ve worked on purposeless assignments and put meaningless content into beautiful packages.Read more at location 1621
Note: OTTIMA FORMA CATTIVO CONTENUTO Edit
Those images were valuable because they could say more than words. But the images were not the act itself.Read more at location 1627
Bierut had forgotten the meaning and value of his work, falling into the puritanical mind-set that denies the value of aesthetic pleasure and seeks always to link it with evil.Read more at location 1628
Note: IL PIACERE DEL BELLO IN SÈ Edit
“One of the signatures of any repressive regime,” he wrote the following day, “is their need to control not just meaningful differences—the voices of dissent, for instance—but ostensibly ‘meaningless’ ones as well, like dress. It will take some time for people to realize that creating the difference between Coke and Pepsi is not just an empty pastime but one of many signs of life in a free society.” The Afghan women who risked the Taliban’s prisons to paint their faces and style their hair in underground beauty shops, and who celebrated the liberation of Kabul by coloring their nails with once-forbidden polish, would agree.Read more at location 1632
Note: TOTALITARISMO E BELLO