Flickr Interlude

ties for sale, originally uploaded by Samm Bennett.

Ikebukuro station, Tokyo

[Join and contribute to the Murketing Flickr group]


  • Flea markets, swap meets draw crowds: “Flea markets have seen a 10% to 15% increase in attendance during the recession.”
  • Atoms For Bits: “With more and more of our artifacts being replaced by digital files, when do physical objects matter, and why?” Very interesting essay by friend of Murketing Carla Diana on creating (in essence) meaningful physical containers for our immaterial (digital) possessions. Consumed on immaterialism here.
  • On the Street and On Facebook: “In America today, even people without street addresses feel compelled to have Internet addresses.”
  • When women hide behind their children on Facebook: “A larger and more ominous self-effacement, a narrowing of our worlds.”
  • Links compiled via delicious, and repurposed here with plug-in Postalicious.

In The New York Times Magazine: Plinky

Adding to the structure of online expression, but giving you something to express.

It has never been easier to express yourself in public. Whatever you might want to say, the online tools to let you say it to a (theoretically) worldwide audience are innumerable. Say it long, say it short, say what you want, when you want and how often you want. As the title of a forthcoming book about blog culture puts it: “Say Everything.” You have the technology. The only thing the technology cannot do is solve this problem: What if you don’t really have anything to express?

Ah, but technology can solve that problem for you….

Read the column in the May 31, 2009, New York Times Magazine, or here.

Discuss, make fun of, or praise this column to the skies at the Consumed Facebook page.


  • ephemeratopia: “Antique trade cards, postcards and other old paper scraps.”
  • Celeb tweets help push Anvil to success: I’m not sure about this. The New Yorker‘s Anthony Lane gave this movie a rave, pretty much out of nowhere. How often does that happen for this kind of film? Is that irrelevant? Did it happen because of Twitter? Does it perhaps suggest that the quality of the actual movie might have something to do with its relative success? And why isn’t that success defined — why isn’t there a number of some kind in this story to help us understand how successful the doc actually is, relative to other docs?
  • Most-Popular Lists Breed More Popularity: “Frequently, popularity rankings speak less to the merits of what’s being observed and more to the fact that crowds are observing it.”
  • Links compiled via delicious, and repurposed here with plug-in Postalicious.


  • Kickstarter: “Aims to let creative people of all kinds raise money for their projects from fans, who receive access and rewards in exchange for their patronage.”
  • Weezer’s Snuggie: “Band is — no joke — planning their own line of sleeved blankets called Wuggies. Rivers Cuomo told Rolling Stone, ‘A Wuggie is basically exactly like a Snuggie, except it says Weezer on it. The people at Snuggie are doing it with us and promoting it with us. It’s a totally legit Snuggie.'” Via Listenerd.
  • McDonald’s / Night at the Museum tie-in adds “virtual” element: “The Happy Meal toy collection features eight characters from the movie. Each U.S. toy will come with a special code that ‘unlocks more fun’ at McD’s virtual world, McWorld (located at McWorld lets kids create their own avatars and play games.”
  • Are Humans Genetically Programmed To Care About Long-term Future And Climate Change?: Study: “Humans, like all creatures, generally value a reward today more highly than a reward tomorrow – in other words they discount future benefits. But the model shows that the discount rate is lower for social, rather than individual, benefits.” I didn’t find this particularly convincing. See for context: Why Isn’t the Brain Green?
  • Links compiled via delicious, and repurposed here with plug-in Postalicious.

“Shape your tools, or you will be shaped by them.”

A 10-minute Youtube video about “the hardware hacking community” in Montreal is now making the rounds on some of the big blogs, so maybe you’ve seen it (though if not, check out here via the Unconsumption blog, where Tom Hosford posted it several days ago). It’s worth a look.

Plus: I have a question:

Toward the end a guy remarks: “I forget who said it, but the philosophy behind it is: Shape your tools, or you will be shaped by them.”

I’m very interested in that, but my Google-fu is evidently not up to the task of figuring out the source. So does anybody know: Who did say it? What’s the reference to?

UPDATE: The answer (see comments) seems to be Marshall McLuhan — sort of. Apparently McLuhan said: “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us.” That’s a different sentiment than what I took the hacker/maker to be expressing. But it seems likely that this is more or less what he was thinking of (and he hacked it?). Still accepting counter-evidence or theories if you have them, of course.

Here’s how the video is described, by the by:

“A look into the hardware hacking community in Montreal, including the Foulab collective. Why are more and more hobbyists experimenting with hacks and circuit bends? What relationship does this imply about consumer society and technological advancement? Is this a real-world analog of ‘user generated content’?”

Linkpile (via Delicious)

  • Somebody hates everything: Next time someone slams your work, visit the Cynical-C Blog to be reminded that everything — everything — gets slammed mercilessly by somebody. The blog catalogs harsh one-star reviews from Amazon: The Godfather, The Odyssey, Anne Frank, Gone With The Wind, they’ve all been trashed by someone, and here’s the proof.
  • Cocaine found in Red Bull Cola?: This is good news for Red Bull. Fresh rumors are in-line with its murketed identity.
  • Objectified Review: “There aren’t very many movies that leave you wanting to go out and buy some cool new furniture while simultaneously giving you the urge to clean out your garage.”
  • ‘Suburban survivalists’ prepare for “The Road”-type scenario: “Top sellers include 55-gallon water jugs, waterproof containers, freeze-dried foods, water filters, water purification tablets, glow sticks, lamp oil, thermal blankets, dust masks, first-aid kits and inexpensive tents.” Don’t these people read the “consumer confidence” numbers? Via Recessionwire.
  • Furniture from street debris: “Lost & Found Stools are made from furniture found on the street combined with solid timber. Same goes for their Lost & Found Tables.” Brian W. Jones on the unconsumption tumblr.
  • Threadless co. helping filmmaker: “Skinny Corp [Threadless owner] has line called The Storytellers Collection. 100% of the proceeds garnered from the sales of these shirts goes to Patrick O’Brien’s film, ‘Everything Will Be Okay,’ which is very much about a worthy cause. O’Brien is documenting his battle with ALS, the terminal disease which results in the gradual degeneration of the body.”

Linkpile (via Delicious)

If you like the music, maybe you’d like to buy the … knife?


The relevance of the CD as a physical object connected to or expressive of music fandom is, obviously, on the wane.

But: Fans who no longer need to buy an object containing music (since music can be obtained in other ways) might still be willing, even anxious, to buy T-shirts, posters, and assorted object-packages that might or might not include a vinyl record, a book, garments, a compact disc (maybe even a blank one) and/or other collateral materials.

Earlier I noted Of Montreal’s effort to extend this notion to include such lifestyle products as a lamp.

More recently, special adviser to Cousin Lymon drew my attention to this: Khanate, in connection with its new release Clean Hands Go Foul, is selling things like CDs and DVDs and T-shirts and mugs. But also: knives. Here are some details on this $50 item:

8.75″ long hunting knife features a 4.5″ rubber grip handle and 4.25″ engraved stainless steel blade. Each knife comes with a ballistic nylon sheath and is boxed.

Are you Khanate fan? Then perhaps you buy an engraved hunting knife to prove it.

Linkpile (via Delicious)

Linkpile (via Delicious)

  • Distraction psychology: Mind Hacks piece is most compelling I’ve read.
  • Emerging Media in 1930s: Examples.
  • Money Worries Make Women Spend More: “This type of spending, or compensatory consumption, serves as a way of regulating intense emotions.” [Consumed on “compensatory consumptin” here]
  • Scion recruits rising bands: The latest Scion efforts. I came to this through a via a Richard Florida post in which he reported that Scion is “turning to hipster culture” to appeal to young consumers — as if that were a recent development. I’m pretty sure we sent Florida a copy of Buying In, but I guess he hasn’t had time to check it out. Chapter Eight.
  • A Fan Hits a Roadblock on Drive to See Every Starbucks: If you haven’t heard of this guy, read this. He’s fascinating.
  • Skin and Bones: Tattoos in the Life of the American Sailor: Exhibition through Jan. 3, at the Independence Seaport Museum, Philly. Piece mentions Sailor Jerry doc as well. [Consumed on tattoo culture & Sailor Jerry style (and brand) here.]
  • What would Jesus buy?: “Wal-Mart is also the spiritual center of Bethany Moreton’s probing and nuanced study of the latter-day evangelical romance with free-market capitalism, To Serve God and Wal-Mart. Like Luhr, Moreton is preoccupied with evangelicals’ acceptance and appropriation of consumer culture. Unlike Luhr, she sees the relationship as organic, even inevitable.” Thx: JB.
  • Earth911’s new iPhone application, iRecycle,…: Earth911’s new iPhone application, iRecycle, “makes recycling locally super simple, telling you exactly what you can recycle and where to take it…” (Credit: Andrew Whitelaw.)
  • Designer jeans seem recession-proof: Um, what?
  • Cubicles: “Have a bad reputation as soul-crushing, gray boxes wallpapered in Post-its. But they were originally designed to promote health and wellness. Cubicle pioneer Joe Schwartz explains what went wrong.” Studio360 piece.
  • ReverbNation to Offer DIY Song Sponsorships: With its new Sponsored Song program, ReverbNation is aiming to give some of its member bands marketing dollars that would normally be unavailable to them. According to Hypebot, 1,000 out of the site’s 400,000 indie artists are eligible to join the pilot program, whereby advertiser logos will be implanted into the cover art of a song, and bands, in exchange, will receive .50 per download.

In The New York Times Magazine: Swine flu neckties

A sartorial symbol of conformity gets a subversive twist

At one time or another, most American males must reckon with the necktie. Some embrace it, some grudgingly acquiesce to it and plenty reject it. That the necktie seems to have no practicalpurpose is of course the very source of its potency. Over the past d ecade or two, a rising wave of tech billionaires have made even its absence a powerful signal. This is why a tie pattern that incorporates an image of the swine-flu virus is such a snug fit: while the necktie sounds like an unlikely canvas for dark humor or subversive sentiment, it is actually an ideal one.

“Terminal Illness” is the name of one of the most recent designs from Bethany Shorb, a Detroit artist, and the fact that it has a title is a good indicator that it is not a traditional tie….

Read the column in the May 24, 2009 New York Times Magazine, or here.

Discuss, make fun of, or praise this column to the skies at the Consumed Facebook page.

Your content or your life?

“Tweet and FB are making blogging obsolete!,”  writes Andy Serwer of Fortune. He’s not entirely serious, or not entirely literal; he ties his observations into the ongoing debate about whether we’re in a culture of distraction or becoming more smartly connected and all that. In his own case, he says, he’s blogging less because:

I have literally been Facebooking and Twittering all my content away! I get a thought, I meet someone interesting, I go somewhere cool, and then snap crackle pop, I put it up. Crazy right?

Hmmm. The thing that stopped me here was the phrase “my content.”

Thinking, meeting people, moving through the world — this used to be your life.

Now, I guess, in the time of leveraging your personal brand via online social networking connections, it’s your “content.”

Linkpile (via Delicious)

Supremely bad T-shirt acquires narrative, meaning; becomes top-seller


E brings to my attention this BBC News story about the above T-shirt, for sale on and titled “Three Wolf Moon.” People started posting absurd reviews, and soon it took off — there are now hundreds of reviews along the lines of “”When I put this T-shirt on for the first time, my wife left me! Thank you, Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt,” with a five-star rating.

The shirt is now the number-one selling apparel item at

This is an example of an object acquiring a narrative, and meaning. At first, it was simply a bad T-shirt. Then it became that bad T-shirt, the one that attracted a reviewer-flash-mob. If you were wearing it, and someone asked, you could tell them a story. In fact you could tell them the story even if they didn’t ask — it’s a good story! — particularly if you submitted a funny  review which you can then recount.

The object becomes a souvenir of a moment and an experience: The time we all got together and made fun of this T-shirt.