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baboon2004
29-09-2011, 05:45 PM
Right, me first up:

have been mulling the possible parallels between capitalism and addiction. From Marx:

“As capitalist,” a man comes to have “one single life-impulse, the tendency to create value and surplus-value, to make ... the means of production absorb the greatest possible amount of surplus-value” ;
In his monomania to accumulate, the capitalist is like “an automaton ... endowed with intelligence and will, animated by the longing to reduce to a minimum the resistance offered by that repellent yet elastic natural barrier, man.”

This expands on what I have always seen as the pure insanity of those who have more money than they can ever spend, only to want more - it seems to me strikingly similar to more commonly considered addictions, say for drugs, or porn - only MORE will fill the void.

Obviously I can read Marx for more, but any other references gratefully received!

you
05-10-2011, 10:41 PM
Baboon

I've actually been reading and thinking about art, art theory, thinkings and paradigms as repetitions - Like, if you go back to bernstein where he talks of D, DF, D, DF being just nur nur nuh nur nurrr... communication is repetition in many many ways.

Like art theories as way's of talking and thinking about art - they are pareidolia, so we can easily repeat -- - - like the same cognitive shorthand that may lead to rascism (you know that theory that we judge rather than expend the brain power to treat everything as individual as unique.... so once one ginger bloke has trodden on my toe, up on some evo tip here, every ginger out there may well threaten my precious nikes - so best to just judge and cross the street)

Capitalism and Addiction both share the similarity of repetition - and each time the buzz diminishes.... so like the first opiates slot comfortably into out receptors it's amazing (or so im told), the first time we pick out that CD at HMV it's a rush, the first time we feel deconstructivism can de-code hidden signifiers in art it's cool - but years on it's just same shit different dae....

So I can't tell you exactly about books or Marx or Capitalism - but if the way im thinking through stuff sounds helpful I'll let you know some books?

Leo
06-10-2011, 12:23 AM
being a capitalist implies being driven, obsessed, addicted to wealth and subsequent power...but can't there also be such a thing as, i don't know...a "lazy capitalist", perhaps?

i know people (myself included) who run their own little businesses or are self-employed/freelance, working within the capitalist system to earn a living but are content to be able to pay the bills and have some left over for enjoyment (and down the road, retirement). while i like money, i have no lust for riches and power. i'm not obsessed with it and have on occasion turned down opportunities to make more because either i didn't like the assignment or just didn't feel like killing myself. an addicted, obsessed capitalist would sell his granny if the price was right, but not all of them (us) are like that.

Mr. Tea
06-10-2011, 02:14 AM
Capitalism and Addiction both share the similarity of repetition - and each time the buzz diminishes....

I've not read much - bar what gets discussed around these parts - on this subject, but it resonates with something that occurred to me a while ago, which is that simply being rich, by itself, doesn't seem to make people particularly happy. What makes people happy is becoming richer, the feeling of 'getting on in the world', upgrading their car, climbing the career/property ladder and all that jazz. This is probably just the temporal aspect of the relativity of wealth. The spatial aspect is simply that whether you feel rich or poor is conditioned by your immediate surroundings and the media you're exposed to. This surely had a huge contributing effect to the August riots; if you're on the dole and live in a crummy tower block in London then of course you're materially far richer than some poor sod in a Dhaka slum or a Soweto township - I mean, you've got enough food to eat, have clean water to drink and more than one change of clothes, probably even 'luxury' items like a phone and a telly - but that's little consolation if you live just a few hundred yards down the road from people who live in four-story Georgian mansions and drive Jags and Bentleys, and if every time you turn on the telly there's some asinine Pimp My Bling bullshit, nauseating 'house-porn' property development shows or just adverts for stuff they can't afford.

baboon2004
06-10-2011, 12:00 PM
Baboon

I've actually been reading and thinking about art, art theory, thinkings and paradigms as repetitions - Like, if you go back to bernstein where he talks of D, DF, D, DF being just nur nur nuh nur nurrr... communication is repetition in many many ways.

Like art theories as way's of talking and thinking about art - they are pareidolia, so we can easily repeat -- - - like the same cognitive shorthand that may lead to rascism (you know that theory that we judge rather than expend the brain power to treat everything as individual as unique.... so once one ginger bloke has trodden on my toe, up on some evo tip here, every ginger out there may well threaten my precious nikes - so best to just judge and cross the street)

Capitalism and Addiction both share the similarity of repetition - and each time the buzz diminishes.... so like the first opiates slot comfortably into out receptors it's amazing (or so im told), the first time we pick out that CD at HMV it's a rush, the first time we feel deconstructivism can de-code hidden signifiers in art it's cool - but years on it's just same shit different dae....

So I can't tell you exactly about books or Marx or Capitalism - but if the way im thinking through stuff sounds helpful I'll let you know some books?

Hmm, really interesting, thanks. Definitely would be great to know books you recommend - I know nothing about art theory, but at the moment I'm very much into joined-up thinking across disciplines....certainly sounds like you are too.

Was reading a drugs messageboard ('Booze and Drugs', perhaps - will find the link) yesterday, and the (quite stunnningly unmediated) conversations about opiates really made me think about the dangers of being exposed to that ultimate rush, and as you say, how everything afterwards would be trying to attain that again, whereas in fact it's unattainable.

baboon2004
06-10-2011, 12:04 PM
being a capitalist implies being driven, obsessed, addicted to wealth and subsequent power...but can't there also be such a thing as, i don't know...a "lazy capitalist", perhaps?

i know people (myself included) who run their own little businesses or are self-employed/freelance, working within the capitalist system to earn a living but are content to be able to pay the bills and have some left over for enjoyment (and down the road, retirement). while i like money, i have no lust for riches and power. i'm not obsessed with it and have on occasion turned down opportunities to make more because either i didn't like the assignment or just didn't feel like killing myself. an addicted, obsessed capitalist would sell his granny if the price was right, but not all of them (us) are like that.

I'm not sure of the exact meaning of the term, but when I talk about capitalism, I'm thinking about the tendency towards endless accumulation of capital, where small businesses are viewed with suspicion because they could be more efficient. And where, as you say, everything else is subsumed to (mindless and endless) accumulation.

And the evils of capitalism really kick in with rentier capitalism, whereas small businesses are run by those who own them, which I personally think is a great model.

you
06-10-2011, 12:07 PM
.

baboon2004
06-10-2011, 12:10 PM
I've not read much - bar what gets discussed around these parts - on this subject, but it resonates with something that occurred to me a while ago, which is that simply being rich, by itself, doesn't seem to make people particularly happy. What makes people happy is becoming richer, the feeling of 'getting on in the world', upgrading their car, climbing the career/property ladder and all that jazz. This is probably just the temporal aspect of the relativity of wealth. The spatial aspect is simply that whether you feel rich or poor is conditioned by your immediate surroundings and the media you're exposed to. This surely had a huge contributing effect to the August riots; if you're on the dole and live in a crummy tower block in London then of course you're materially far richer than some poor sod in a Dhaka slum or a Soweto township - I mean, you've got enough food to eat, have clean water to drink and more than one change of clothes, probably even 'luxury' items like a phone and a telly - but that's little consolation if you live just a few hundred yards down the road from people who live in four-story Georgian mansions and drive Jags and Bentleys, and if every time you turn on the telly there's some asinine Pimp My Bling bullshit or nauseating 'house-porn' property development show.

Absolutely - I think what you're saying chimes in with what You said about the rush of consuming, or the rush of accumulating, rather than the end product itself.

Yep, relativity is the thing - wealth differentials are incredibly dehumanising to those on the lower end of them. What really gets me is how stupid a world is that endlessly devotes itself to material 'betterment', but consistently sidelines any theorising about how to improve the really important things in life, its real pleasures.

baboon2004
06-10-2011, 12:10 PM
.

haha

you
06-10-2011, 12:13 PM
On Capitalism - Baboon - I appreciate what your saying, but there is not an alternative model - alternatives would only work in a microcosm - harnessing capitalism to support refreshing pockets of controlled alternatives would be my bet - - see my childish attemps to put shit straight in the comments here (http://notesfromthevomitorium.blogspot.com/2011/09/london-riots-2011-analysis.html)..... on repetition and diminishing returns - it's important to keep trying, because when you least expect it something new, actually new crops up of it's own will - with art and literature it's important to go through the endless tedium to get to the eureka shit

computer_rock
06-10-2011, 02:53 PM
Worth remembering that if accumulation is addiction it's only from the abstraction of use-value that it can proceed:


Qualitatively or formally considered, money is independent of all limits, that is it is the universal representative of material wealth because it is directly convertible into any other commodity. But at the same time every actual sum of money is limited in amount, and therefore has only a limited efficacy as a means of purchase. This contradiction between the quantitative limitation an the qualitative lack of limitation of money keeps driving the hoarder back to his Sisyphean task: accumulation. He is in the same situation as a world conqueror, who discovers a new boundary with each country he annexes.


In other words the potential for capitalist accumulation is literally unlimited. And Re:


Absolutely - I think what you're saying chimes in with what You said about the rush of consuming, or the rush of accumulating, rather than the end product itself.


There is no end! I wonder if this feature is internal to all addictions?

Thinking about addiction in Marxist terms makes me wonder how much 'greed' can be said to contribute to addiction. I'd like to see studies on addiction in pre-capitalist societies, if they exist. One of the most important things I take from the above paragraph is that it is a set of social conditions that have primacy over what many would to to naturalise: human capacity for greed.

slowtrain
07-10-2011, 01:25 AM
I live on $300 a week and I often feel like I am fucking rich as fuck. Buying clothes and drinking coffee at a cafe.

I think I am a lazy capitalist - I think I'm just interested in exploiting the system (not people, however contentiously you would seperate the two) to get the cash I need.

I don't think that being rich makes you happy, but the independence that you gain from being rich (or having access to surplus money?) makes you happy.

Knowing that if I don't have to try live on rice for the rest of this week, or that I can eat a chocolate bar if I feel so inclined is pretty good.

Mr. Tea
07-10-2011, 07:44 PM
Absolutely - I think what you're saying chimes in with what You said about the rush of consuming, or the rush of accumulating, rather than the end product itself.

Yep, relativity is the thing - wealth differentials are incredibly dehumanising to those on the lower end of them. What really gets me is how stupid a world is that endlessly devotes itself to material 'betterment', but consistently sidelines any theorising about how to improve the really important things in life, its real pleasures.

Something I found quite odd in the wake of the August riots was related to the notion I had that socialists and left-leaning people generally were usually opposed to consumerism; that anti-consumerism naturally went along with anti-globalisation/anti-capitalism. But after the riots a lot of people seemed to be saying: "Well why shouldn't unemployed youths demand £100 trainers and £300 smartphones?" - to which obvious answers might be "Because they can't afford them" and "Because they're totally superfluous luxury items". It's like people who are against nuclear weapons in general, and against Israel having nuclear weapons in particular, but as soon as anyone mentions Iran, they're like "Well if Israel's got nukes, why shouldn't Iran have them too?". Um, hang on, are you opposed to nuclear proliferation or in favour of it? Similarly, when people buy luxury items with their own money, they're deplorable consumerist zombies; but if poor people either get themselves in terrible debt buying things they don't need, or simply steal them, they're merely reacting in the only way they can to the irresistible onslaught of aspirational advertising and peer pressure. It's like that quote zhao posted in the riots thread, from the young guy saying that girls won't even look at you if you're not wearing the right trainers. Doesn't say much about our young people, does it? But like every generation, they are the way they are because of the world they've grown up in.

That said, I think there is far, far too much advertising these days - there were TV screens showing adverts on fucking buses a while back, though thankfully I haven't seen one for a while - and especially too much that's aimed at kids. There was a study done recently that showed that the more 'brand-aware' kids are, the more likely they are to be depressed. I think a law to ban advertising aimed at kids under a certain age was mooted recently, dunno what chance it stands of getting passed though.

My own parents are by no means hippies or anarchists but they have a very strong sense that all advertising is basically bullshit, and that seems to have rubbed off on me, for which I'm very grateful.

slowtrain
08-10-2011, 01:20 AM
I agree very very much with Tea's post above.

I will say though that buying things can be quite a bit of a joy though, and I don't think it is necessarily harmful.

I just bought a bunch of books last night (which I don't really have the time to read, looking at you William Gaddis) but I felt super cool and had tons of fun showing them off to people I was with at the show, reading out the blurbs and stuff.

OK - I know that isn't really the same as having to have the latest trainers or whatever, but I suppose "capitalism" is like a drug - life destroying if you abuse it, but it can be a shitload of fun.

Mr. Tea
08-10-2011, 01:33 AM
I will say though that buying things can be quite a bit of a joy though, and I don't think it is necessarily harmful.


Yeah, of course! It's nice to own nice things, obviously. And very often, nice things cost more than shit things. I mean, some fancy cheese from a market or a proper deli that costs £25/kg is clearly going to taste far, far better than some processed crap from a supermarket that costs £5/kg. To a certain extent, you get what you pay for.

Where it goes off into la-la land is when you have people who'll happily pay £80 for a T-shirt rather than £10 just because it has the fucking Evisu logo on it. It's not any better of a T-shirt, it merely has this illusion of value because of some simple little design on it that (supposedly) makes the wearer 'cool', that admits him to some exclusive clique of 'fashionable people'. Fuck that for a laugh. The way to have good dress sense is to look for interesting, attractive clothes that fit you and suit you, and to combine them well. Label whores are just sad wankers - sad, lazy wankers who are easily parted with their money.

muser
08-10-2011, 08:59 AM
I think the idea of pure addiction being the drive behind grandmother murdering capitalists can only go so far allthough I like it. I can see how people who are in a position where one decision can instantly pay off by doubling their assets will get very much addicted to that rush, but I'd say for most its a more gradual sort of thing. I see it more as something like people who are "addicted" to plastic surgery, or maybe bulimia.

you
08-10-2011, 10:19 AM
Nah nah nah, buying books and finer cheese than the next man is still working along exactly the same lines as capitalism. I buy books sometimes because I enjoy the act of buying a book, I buy £30 bottles of red because I fancy a 'better' red than the cheaper bottles - but this is still a massive part of capitalism.

"Ah yes, but that's different to label whores" you cry - no. You project a value onto items, you fill these porous objects with an essence. I don't buy £250 selvedge jeans because I actually think they are of superior quality (itself a subjective notion) - I buy them because I like knowing my jeans are unique and obscure - this is a value I am happy to pay for. Same goes for wine and cheese and books - although the value may not be uniqueness or obscurity, it could be reputation etc.

If you go camping and get really really wet and hungry all this crap quickly disintegrates into the air - Some of the best food I've had has been cheap cheese or soggy bread after getting trapped up a mountain.

Quality (whatever that may be) does increase generally as you pay more - but we do not need higher quality items, we just believe we do. Speakers are a great example of this - i'll never enjoy music as much as when I was 14 anyhow, despite having better equipment now.

So the clowns who are label whores, with their emperors new clothes are not too dissimilar to ours, we believe we are paying for something extra special as do they - we both get a buzz out of it. I don't need fine wine to have a good time, but I believe it's better, they don't actually need adidasXstarwarsXransomXcaharttXyo-momma trainers to enjoy themselves either - but they believe it's better - an so pay extra for the privilege of reinforcing their belief.

You can have all my Barolo, and my Sugarcane jeans - I think I'd probably be happier if I spent more time outside and slept with a few more women.

Mr. Tea
08-10-2011, 01:52 PM
"Ah yes, but that's different to label whores" you cry - no.

No, I think there's an important difference. Two important differences, in fact.

One is that an expensive, hand-made cheese will have been made from milk from one specific herd of cows/sheep/goats, will have been produced very carefully according to some particular recipe and then allowed to mature for a long time in certain specific conditions. As opposed to some cheapo processed pseudo-cheddar, which will be made from any old milk in a big industrial factory where efficiency takes precedence over every other concern, then wrapped in plastic and shipped out to the supermarket toot-sweet. OTOH, any two T-shirts have probably both been made in a third-world sweatshop using the same materials and manufacture techniques; the only difference between the one that sells for a few quid in H&M and the one that sells for far more in a more 'up market' shop is that the latter has had a little logo stitched onto it (which, by itself, probably costs a few pence per shirt to apply - certainly nothing like the differential in the final retail price of the two shirts).

The other difference (between cheeses and T-shirts, I mean) is that in the case of the cheese, the difference in quality is inherent to the product. I can tell that a good mature cheese tastes infinitely better than a bit of rubbery processed nastiness whether there's anyone there to watch me eat it or not. It's an interaction between the cheese and my tastebuds that demonstrates the quality, or lack of quality. Whereas with clothes that rely on 'labels' to be cool, they only make you 'cool' if other people see you and think "oh, he's cool". The perceived added 'quality' is mediated by a third party.

you
08-10-2011, 02:23 PM
sup Tea - I agree with you about cheese - we probably like the same sort of stuff, ....but these aspects of the (cheeses) production hold no worth for some people, whereas a logo holds worth for some people - different people project values into different things - and this self-projected value is translated into whatever we feel happy to pay for. I've been in quite expensive restaurants (not me paying by the way...) and my enthusiasm is all for the ingredients and the crazy techniques used whereas the guy opposite just likes it because it's the place to go to try because of it's rep.... you know?

As an aside: There are pretty big differences in clothing quality - but this in no way correlates with cost - but some cotton t-shirts are of a higher 'quality' (cotton count, type of cotton, source, raw cost, construction) than others - just like cheese. There is cashmere and then there is Cashmere, there is stilton and then there is Stilton - just because it's duchy or gucci relates little to it's empirically established quality - but then this is separate to the values we project onto it.....nawwahmean? You and me probably are concerned about artisanal practices and care of production, others may only care about a label - the value is where you put it, and as so many idiots place their value in different (to my mind wrong) aspects the old quality/cost correlation does not live.

Mr. Tea
08-10-2011, 03:43 PM
Sure, I see what You're saying about projecting value, but I think there is something apart from that, something that's more inherent to the product. For example, take two people who really like cheese. One of the may like blue cheese more than the other does, and he in turn may have a greater liking for goat's cheese than the first guy does - this is just personal taste, which is of course subjective - but you can be certain they'd both vastly prefer a special-reserve gruyere to Kraft "cheese food" slices. It is, in some intrinsic and objective way, a better product. For one thing, it costs more because it is inherently more laborious, and therefore more expensive, to produce - this is before you even consider the demand-side question of how desirable it is compared to cheap processed pseudocheese.

You may well be right that a T-shirt with a well-known label on it wil actually be better made than a cheap one from H&M, but let's consider two T-shirts, otherwise identical, except one has the Ben Sherman logo on it and the other bears the Lacrosse logo. Now a Ben Sherman devotee may think the former T-shirt looks bare nang but the latter makes you look like a wanker, whereas a Lacrosse fan might think the opposite. The inherent quality of the two shirts is the same - and, crucially, no different from an entirely plain T-shirt that's been made to the same standard - so neither man is correct; it's entirely down to subjective taste and projected value.

luka
08-10-2011, 03:54 PM
mr tea we are laughing cos you wrote lacrosse instead of lacoste. thats funny.

Mr. Tea
08-10-2011, 04:01 PM
mr tea we are laughing cos you wrote lacrosse instead of lacoste. thats funny.

Hahaha, so I did. I think I'll leave it for posterity.

you
08-10-2011, 04:05 PM
Sup tea - you make 2 presuppositions here 1 - that your cheese men can both taste the extra labour, production cost etc... not all people do (surely you have given a great wine to someone who just doesn't know them apart at all - you ask them to say why it's different to jacobs creek and all they say is, 'uh, yeah, it's nice too'). 2 - A 'better product' - your better product is not the next mans better product. 'Better' is a subjective relativity - it is better than the other options only along the lines of the buyers uniquely projected criteria.

If you went shopping with some chelsea mum (by chance, she hasn't hired your expertise for the outing), and (for examples sake let say you are an independent cheese reviewer, taster, whatever) she was looking for a good cheddar you could explain that cheese A is better than cheese B because of X, Y and Z production criteria, it's more artisanal, better milk, better ageing etc etc etc - she may well turn around and say 'yeah but Nigella uses this, so this is better' - because her projected values are different from yours, she projects brand, reputation and celebrity you project (rightly so imo with cheeses) more empirical shit like manufacturing, production values etc.

It's a bit like selling me a 'better' car because it's an italian 6 litre sports car - when actually my values are ground clearance, 4 wheel drive and space for a few sheep.

http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lmfe66jMCV1qcidxzo1_500.jpg

Mr. Tea
08-10-2011, 04:53 PM
Yes, people have different tastes but I think people who 'know about' wine, cheese or whatever it is would universally prefer a high-quality product that's been made by people who know what they're doing, to something very cheap and mass-produced. And yes, someone who's not knowledgeable about wine may not see 'what the fuss is about' over an expensive bottle, but let's suppose he then goes on a wine-tasting course; unless there's something actually wrong with his tastebuds, he'd be then able to tell a grand-cru Burgundy from a £5 Turning Leaf merlot. And if the woman buying Nigella-approved cheddar were to do a blind taste test, she might well find there's another cheese that's tastier and perhaps not even any more expensive - in this case, the Nigella Lawson Seal Of Approval is like the logo on the T-shirt; it adds a purely psychological value that has nothing to do with the inherent quality of the product.

Another point is that there are two reasons why a given product might cost more than a comparable product. There could be a supply-side reason, in other words the first product actually costs more to produce the second, because it uses higher quality raw ingredients, has to be made by trained craftsman, has to be matured for a long time, is only made in one place rather than factories that can be built anywhere, and so on. This is why single malts cost more than blended whisky; they're actually that much more expensive to produce, but people buy them because they're a better product.

The other thing that affects the price of something lies on the demand side. This is our T-shirt, handbag or whatever that is perceived as valuable because it carries with it some sort of cachet, which is then bestowed on the person who wears/carries it. So a T-shirt might be made more 'valuable' by having a logo stitched onto it, which costs very little, whereas for a cheese to made more valuable, it has to be matured for a couple of years in a special facility with a controlled temperature and humidity, which is very expensive. So if the label in question went out of fashion, the company could still make a profit (a reduced one, of course) by dropping the price of its shirts, because it was working on a high profit margin and can still be profitable even with a smaller margin. Whereas a mature artisan cheese cannot be sold at the same price as a processe cheddar because of the inherently high cost of producing it.

you
08-10-2011, 05:05 PM
http://gallery.nen.gov.uk/assets/0709/0000/0305/jousting_mid.jpg

Mr. Tea
08-10-2011, 05:23 PM
Ha! Yeah, that that! :)

you
08-10-2011, 05:44 PM
Yes, people have different tastes but I think people who 'know about' (1)wine, cheese or whatever it is would universally prefer a high-quality product(2) that's been made by people who know what they're doing(3), to something very cheap and mass-produced. And yes, someone who's not knowledgeable about wine may not see 'what the fuss is about' over an expensive bottle, but let's suppose he then goes on a wine-tasting course; unless there's something actually wrong with his tastebuds, he'd be then able to tell a grand-cru Burgundy from a £5 Turning Leaf merlot(4). And if the woman buying Nigella-approved cheddar were to do a blind taste test, she might well find there's another cheese that's tastier and perhaps not even any more expensive - in this case, the Nigella Lawson Seal Of Approval is like the logo on the T-shirt; it adds a purely psychological value(5) that has nothing to do with the inherent quality of the product.

on the joust - yeah, but that's a bit of a cop out really...

(1) Subscribe to an established set of value criteria that they then project upon the product
(2) Subjective
(3) Subscribe to the same criteria of projected values as 1
(4) Yes, he will be able to tell the difference, but which one would hold more 'value for him? He would learn to identify the 'correct' values. Just because his first set of criteria of project are not validated by the establishment of the majority doesn't make them wrong or bad - just different. Like switching from Hinduism to Islamism yah?
(5) Psychological value is all we look for, if you are taught that such and such a production method is of value and you believe it then that is your psychological value - your criteria to project.

I feel that just because certain values are established does not make them good, and as value systems shift products in stasis change from ideal to rubbish - even in the fickle minds eye of the consumer. Look at music and art - you don't know who to believe anymore.

In short I just except my projections are projections and not true (nothing is) and try to meet them without being too much of a nutter about it all - whilst also being well aware that those around me may view me as wrong - my personal 'quality criteria' have shifted on a whole bunch of things that I have spent money on over the past few years etc... but that's cool, it seemed right at the time. If I ever say something is 'better' I am speaking subjectively. Asda's accountants and BDM's may well regard Kraft as the best cheese they have.....

I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree - I don't have a science background, so the different approaches to reality raise their heads here.....

baboon2004
09-10-2011, 11:13 AM
Interesting stuff, especially with the cheese/T-shirt joust.

One observation I'd add is that a lot of cheaper food can in fact be 'objectively' superior to more expensive stuff, and there has been a grand tradition of ascribing arbitrary value to foodstuffs that I don't rate taste-wise at all (eg truffles, caviar). So I definitely think that cheese and T-shirts both are status symbols onto which we project. The more expensive T-shirts will often be made of 'better' material (analagous to cheese being produced by hand etc), but again, depends on your value-set as to whether that is truly better.

And I think a McDonalds cheeseburger is 10x superior to Gourmet Burger Kitchen, in terms of the actual pleasure I take in eating it.

Mr. Tea
09-10-2011, 03:26 PM
Yeah sure, I mean sometimes a Yorkie bar is exactly what you want even though you know Lindt or Greene & Black's is 'technically' better chocolate. You don't have be a gourmet 24/7 just because you like nice food. And price does not necessarily imply quality, I mean those Nong Shim noodle cups are infinitely nicer than Pot Noodles, yet are invariably cheaper.

Mr. Tea
09-10-2011, 03:56 PM
Look at music and art - you don't know who to believe anymore.

I think this is a bit different because tastes in art and music are entirely subjective in a way that, I think, tastes in food and drink aren't (obviously the latter are to some extent subjective, but they can be modified by exposure to products of a wide range in quality - I think, given this exposure and the opportunity to expand their palate and shake off whatever preconditioning they may have had, most people would eventually agree that some nice mature West Country cheddar from Neil's Yard really is superior to Tesco Value Quasicheddar, and that Chateauneuf du Pape is actually a better wine than some plonk from Blossom Hill).

Whereas you can only say one piece of visual art is better than another if you measure it against some objective criterion such as how well it represents the thing it's meant to 'be'. In which case, clearly a Titian is better than a Picasso, and Michaelangelo's David superior to Moore's Reclining Figure. But visual art hasn't primarily been about representation for well over a hundred years, so this would be a very narrow and rather ignorant view to take. Likewise, you can only talk about the 'objective quality' of music in similarly narrow terms of musical virtuosity and production values; according to those criteria, Queen were obviously far superior to the Ramones, whereas a lot of people find the Ramones fun and exciting and Queen a load of pompous stadium-rock drivel. (As it happens, I have a lot of time for both).


Asda's accountants and BDM's may well regard Kraft as the best cheese they have.....


Well yeees, I guess so, but cheese is first and foremost a foodstuff - people have been making and eating cheese since long before shops, let alone ASDA, existed - so whatever other properties a given cheese has are entirely secondary to what it tastes like. If you want to descale a kettle, cheap spirit vinegar is better than vintage balsamico de Modena, but that's not primarily what vinegar is for. If you want to knock someone unconscious, a week-old baguette is better than a nice fresh one...

you
09-10-2011, 04:59 PM
If you want to knock someone unconscious, a week-old baguette is better than a nice fresh one...

depends how cruel you wanna be ;-)

Mr. Tea
09-10-2011, 05:27 PM
depends how cruel you wanna be ;-)

God, what an awful way to go - slowly beaten to death over a period of days with a gradually stiffening baguette - French bread is pain, after all - surreal culinary horror, you should write to Reza N. about that, he'd love it. :)

slowtrain
10-10-2011, 12:53 AM
I love caviar, truffles, blue cheese, olives, brussels sprouts, anchovies,