First, and before we commence, I invite you to watch the linked video. It is fairly important to the points I am going to write for you.
Urban Outlaw came to prominance sometime last year, featuring heavily across the online motoring press. I was deeply impressed with it, I showed it to anyone who had the time to spend. All seemed impressed, all that is, until, one Tuesday evening, having consumed a bottle of wine and several Guinness between us, I showed it to friend and sometimes mentor, Dr Martin Randall. His hostile reaction to the piece was surprising.
I thought on this for months, tried to write about it, failed. Weeks went on, I put on a bit of weight, work got hard for a bit, then easier, I broke up with a girlfriend, started running again, gave it up when it got too hot, made plans to move to Bristol, got drunk a little too much and started saving in earnest for a new car. Life, as it is, went on. Then, two weeks ago, while wading through David Foster-Wallace’s The Pale King I came across a chapter (sub-section) where three tax inspectors are stuck in a lift. One of them is trying to make a point about ‘civics’, about the relationship between citizen and society. His point peeks when he concludes with how he thinks consumerism will play out:
‘No, you’re missing the genius of it. It’ll all be played out in the world of images. they’ll be this incredible political consencus that we need to escape the confinement and rigidity of conforming, of the dead flourecent world of the office and the balance sheet, of having to wear a tie and listen to Muzac, but the corperations will be able to represent consumption patterns as the way to break out – use this type of calculator, listen to this type of music, wear this type of shoe because everyone else is wearing conformist shoes. It’ll be this era of incredible prosperity and conformity and mass-demographics in which all the symbols and rhetoric will involve revolution and crisis and bold forward-looking individuals who dare to march to their own drummer by allying themselves with brands that invest heavily in the image of rebellion. This mass PR campaign extolling the individual will solidify enormous markets of people whose innate conviction that they are solitary, peerless, non-communal, will be massaged at every turn.'(1)
I have, as you may know from an earlier post, already written a draft of this VOTW. That draft contained a breakdown description of the themes and language used in Urban Outlaw that move towards the point made above. That draft is gone. I am not going to repeat that process. I believe, as conscious individuals situated within a chattering community you can make those connections for yourself.
As things go, it is often best to leave a point with a quote followed by some elipses:
‘There’s not a lot of bearded, dreadlocked, tattooed Porsche guys out there… it is part of the mystique, here’s this cool guy that looks like a rock and roll homeless dude that people are not really sure about, but hey, he’s got some pretty cool bitchin’ Porsches that he restores and races…'(2)
1. Wallace, D.F (2012) The Pale King, 1st ed. London, Penguin Books, p148
2. Urban Outlaw (2012) Short Film, Directed by Tamir Moscovici, Toronto: MOS Media