Friday, February 08, 2008

Conspicuous consumption

Amber comes out against spontaneous book-purchasing, while Jezebel condemns Sephora, land of lipgloss you don't really need, but ooh, shiny...

If I could eliminate book- and eyeliner-buying, I would have enough money for... one really nice book, or one Dior eyeliner. I'm talking about a grad-student scale, so I'm still heading to the library far more than the Strand. Amber's concern, however, is less that I might buy yet another book with "France" and "Juif" in the title than that someone who reads nothing will buy War and Peace to place on the mantle before asking his date back to his place.

The anti-makeup and anti-unread-book crusades thus strike me as coming from the same place, i.e. fear of artifice. Yes, concealer improves appearances, and yes, filling an empty bookshelf makes a non-reader look more intelligent. In that I wear some, not heaps, but some makeup, may I justly condemn the decorative book-buyer? I too am showing the world something not 100% real. Yet I can, because of one key difference: someone, somewhere, is using some title with "France" and "Juifs" as his filler, making it impossible for me to get my hands on it. That, above all, is what's wrong with books-as-decor.

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