Monday, January 05, 2015

New material

-Trace Barnhill has brought frugality to Into The Gloss, a site whose usual influence is to make spending $40 on luminizer seem like a great idea. Barnhill makes an interesting point about there being two kinds of thrift:

Some people prefer to cut out personal, almost invisible purchases—things no one else will see but you. You get the generic panty-liners. The veggie Ragu instead of the Italian-import truffle-infused sauce. I’ve personally not had a headboard on my bed since high school, unless the wall counts. Switching to generic allergy drugs. [...] 
But then sometimes it’s the opposite. Sometimes you only want to spend money on things just personally, intimately for you. Your coat can be shabby-chic consignment (and you know it’s actually really ugly), but you’ve got Chanel in your bathroom cabinet. No TV, but unlimited HBO Go. Little secret purchases while on the outside, you’re a quiet, thirsty soul.
I'd never thought about it quite like that before, but it makes sense. I think I fall into the second camp more than I'd like to, but in principle would want to be in the first. I'll very often be found in a pair of $30 corduroys from five years ago, but my cupboard (and, ahem, hair-product collection) shows evidence of splurgy trips to Japanese supermarkets. There's probably some deep, psychological meaning behind which category one falls in, but what that is isn't coming to me at the moment.

-I've been thinking about Miss Self-Important's second resolution from last year: "Get some new ideas so I can stop infinitely repeating things I've already said in my non-academic writing." The appeal of one's old ideas - for me, at least - is that one has thought through every aspect of them. Figured out all the counterarguments. From an impostor-syndrome-ish perspective, this is immensely satisfying. Sure, there will still be the 'this is the dumbest thing I've ever read' brigade on Twitter, but they'll fail to convince the author of his or her (her) own idiocy.

The trouble with a new idea - and I've just given one of those a gamble - is that one hasn't spent months analyzing it. I'm still trying to sort out exactly what I think about certain aspects of the undershare question, and at this point think the most compelling thing about it is that it's even a question.

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