Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wise, Ruskin, Veblen

I watched Tim Wise: On White Privilege and was reminded of a book I read five years ago: Unto This Last, by John Ruskin.  Then I encountered some interesting references to Veblen goods when I saw an interview on the Newshour with Robert Frank about his new book The Darwin Economy.  As anyone familiar with Veblen goods knows, it has similarities to sexual selection. 

Why did Tim Wise catch my attention?  Anything that dehumanizes people, via prejudice or objectification, bothers me.  Emily Nagoski gave a good definition of objectification:  decreased perceived agency.  Anything that is contrived, coerced, uncomfortable, artificial, inconvenienced, unwilling, non-consensual, non-participatory, or in any way unnatural is probably, at least in part, the result of objectification.  Not always bad, but worth the introspection to discern. 

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