Friday, January 29, 2010

Bottom up

Here's something that I've been stewing about for a while. Until just recently, I didn't really have the framework to adequately articulate my thoughts.


Art and creativity is a luxury. Ever feel so run ragged that you can barely maintain bodily function to stay alive? So drained and devoid of any ounce of creativity? Yeah, me too. A lot of the time. But I, like many of you, are fortunate enough to have the luxury of self expression.

If you are struggling to stay alive and put food on the table for your kids, then it's probably not a far cry to say you are not crocheting rocksripping 3,000 phone books to shreds, nor making dumb approximations of reality tv stars. (I am not immune)

I mean no disrespect to those who do such things. I think we need those things. However, those things and people who can do those things make me feel a little bitter. A vineyard of sour grapes. I want to wear diamond encrusted lobsters in my baby pink hair, but, alas, I can't.

However, though my life may not be as charmed as some, I have it pretty fucking good. I can make glittery "FUCK OFF" signs and have the resources/means to write a blog. I'm not trapped under a pile of mortar or living atop a coal pile in Haiti. It really is all relative. I often straddle the line between, why me? and why not me?

I've been taking this marketing management course (hello, privileged little twatwaffle!) that has, in addition to making me feel like a subhuman commodity, distilled my thoughts to a tee. There's actually a theory and practice based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs that backs my weirdo ruminations! Fancy that!

"The segment at the very bottom of the typology—survivors—are resource poor people who are focused on a struggle for the essentials of life. The struggle for survival gives them little money or time to be innovative, at least with respect to their consumption habits. Survivors often feel swept aside by economic and social change. Survivors are not a high value target for most marketers, but they are loyal to the brands and services they prefer."

VALS survey, if you're so inclined.
Nest, 2007 by Dash Snow
2nd photo


  1. If I don't have sexual intimacy, I can't have the respect of others, or be lacking in prejudice? Or be "self-actualized." Bugger.

    I'm reading Status Anxiety at the moment and de Botton points out that people were more content with their lot in life when everyone just accepted that peasants were peasants because they were born that way, and the rich were rich for the same reason. We become dissatisfied in a "meritocracy" because if we don't have all and do all, we musn't be trying hard enough.

  2. Ah! As soon as I read the first paragraph, I thought, "hey, i wonder if she knows about that Maslow's theory". Get to the bottom, and there we go.

    I am the most critical son of a bitch. I like art just fine, but at the same time I hate it. Honestly, I'm just an overall fan of functionality, so I prefer to like the art that is handcrafted and sewn or carved or whatever. Case in point, I hate the stuff of the likes of Jean Claude and Christo. Such pointless and overly expensive crap. How can you even fathom creating such excess when there's so much more needed elsewhere? Why put thousands of orange fabric panels in the middle of one of the richest neighborhood in this rich country?
    Sorry if I offend anyone...

  3. i've also been thinking about this a lot. this, and other such bourgeoisie type problems. and it's really been messing with my drive to do, well, anything. thanks for enlightening me on maslow's theory!

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  5. Despite loving so much art, I think this way quite a bit. It especially doesn't help to read or listen to artist's statements. I find that they're mostly so convoluted and trite that they make me roll my eyes about 95% of the time. I read "Design for the Real World" last summer and it made me really resent a lot of product/industrial designers who make frivolous or useless shit too.

  6. "I often straddle the line between, why me? and why not me?"

    in my line of work, this is a question i ask myself every day. and although i know i'll never find an answer, it's still an important question to ask yourself in order to maintain a sense humility. maslow's hierarchy is something we refer to in school quite often (and is something I was interested in before school). when art comes from a place of privilege (such as dash snow's and his cohorts'), i find it very dull. for me, it lacks genuine feeling and emotion. there is a reason why people like this are tied into the fashion world, but that's a whole other topic. also, i took that vals survey and found it really off the mark. maybe i over-thought the answers? it said my primary type is innovator and my secondary type is achiever. i didn't relate to either description. is this a diagnostic tool widely used in the business world?

    excellent post - one of my favorites of yours ♥

  7. Thank ye gods/divine PB&Js for blogs. That's all I got.


The divine PB&J in me, salutes the divine PB&J in you.