Post holiday season, I found myself in the auspicious position of having some spending money, and wanting to purchase a new camera lens. However, I soon made a dreadful mistake when I ventured onto the Internet seeking advice. What I found on every camera site was fun, and by fun I mean explosive and angry forums. These online contributors were not having civilized conversation on which camera lens was superior, but instead an argument that could easily be compared to guerillas hurling mud at one another. This discovery, then shockingly led me to ponder a potentially serious society wide issue. Why do we passionately defend our choice in consumer goods, and more importantly why do we form such close communities around them?
A few weeks ago, I was riding a chair lift and the man next to me was yelling down his cell phone while seemingly doing his best Kanye West impression, “The company just doesn’t care about the consumer.” Yet, if this statement is seemingly true, then why do so many groups of people seemingly defend their arbitrary consumer goods? I believe that our society, by offering a plethora of choices, creates a little fanboy inside of us. Because a lot of what makes people fanboys, is not how much we love something, but how much we hate something else. For example I could probably tell you in great detail why I have despise the iphone OS, but for why I prefer googles android, despite rambling off some arbitrary numbers, I probably couldn’t come up with a concrete reason. Therefore, I believe we defend our own choices in consumer goods, because with out limited spending money, we have to make a choice, and we subconchesly begin to hate anyone or thing that tells us we made the wrong decision.
Ever since the dawn of modern society, humans have incorporated things outside of them into their identity. We are skiers, Radiohead fans, liberals, and that sense of identity can lead to the formation of a very tight knit community. Now I’m not saying that we need the annualized consumer waste that marketers try and cram down our thoughts. No, we need the sense of belonging, which our modern society is far to devoid of. Because you will be shocked whom you can get along with when you have a common interest.
Now despite the seemingly obvious conclusion to this, I will not end this piece by regurgitating some Fight Club line about how your stuff owns you, because I believe that our world actually needs fanboys. It’s a fact of life that we all want to belong. Despite our best attempts at retaining our so called individuality, at the end of the day we all need to know we are a part of something larger then ourselves, and indeed other people care for us. So if these pseudo communities can indeed unite people in a common hatred, then it should be encouraged. Yes, the last thing our world needs is more hatred, but if that abhorrence can lead to unity and love, it is ultimately for the better. Hell, if people hated world hunger as much as Yankees, image what could be accomplished.