I read Nobrow by John Seabrook on my way back. The part of the book that stuck with me was his explorations of the way taste was used to preserve social classes after conspicuous economic displays became taboo. He tells a story from his college years where a fellow student says, "How dare you talk about taste when there are people in the world who don't have enough to eat." But it seems the lesson didn't sink in. Part of the book reads like elitist consumer brand-fetish porn, part like a love letter to Tina Brown, and much like a cry for help. I will say that it's peppered with insights that only a privileged brand junky can have...for whatever that's worth. I felt unclean after reading it, and probably wouldn't have finished it if I wasn't trapped with it on a train for two days. A good alternative to Nobrow is Coercion by Douglas Rushkoff.
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