Randomly walked into a second hand store the other day and picked up a HumanScale Freedom chair for $30, in brand new condition. All of the bells and whistles, including the ridiculously nice top tier leather. $2500 chair for $30. Second best find ever.
The chair might have been the best find... but in terms of lulz to "riches", it had to be the Guidi leather bag I found in a "crap" bin for $3. I had no idea what it was so I just kept it in the back of my closet for a year until I started to pay attention to SZ and the Baller Boot Thread here. I put 2 and 2 together and sold the Guidi bag for $1200.
Maybe it really was just a crap bag, though. Was there a label?
SZ busted a nut when I posted it, so I knew then it was not crap.
Well, I knew beforehand because I think I know leather pretty well and it had reallllly nice, thick, leather with nice stitching, Lampo zips, etc. I just didn't know what brand it was. But after I did some research and looked just like the real thing, and had an upstanding member of the forum confirm as well.
Yeah... I still can't quite understand it. If it were a more "mainstream" brand I would maybe understand... maybe someone's mom was cleaning their room or something that thought "what a ratty looking bag" and decided to get rid of it.
Going to be in Shanghai and Beijing for a couple of days, basically have a day and a half in both of them. Anything cool near Expo Park in Shanghai and Tongzhou Canal Park in Beijing?
I spent about the same amount of time in Shanghai and just walked around, didn't get to do much unfortunately. Hmm Beijing, form a quick google search I'm under the impression that your playing a show? It seems you'll be far away from the major metro area but Sanlitun at night is a fucking trip, Dadu Bar Street, I remember this being called something different but its a canal packed with bars. Limited time sucks but if your doing a show make some friends and have them show you around.
for those whose response was along the lines of "to the extent that my interest in clothes is narcissistic, i don't mind. it feels good":
it's important to have sources of self-confidence, of course, and it feels good to know that others think nice things about how you look (or respond in some other desired way to what you're wearing-- wonder, disinterest, surprise, amusement, intrigue, etc.). one question is how much value that good feeling actually has, in the end. another question is whether seeking that feeling (in ways subtle or unsubtle) necessarily leads one to neglect other valuable things, just due to the fact that we have limited time and energy. (@LonerMatt touched on this.) e.g., the more time i spend looking at old collections, the less time i have to think about a problem in set theory. and the more i'm inclined to take stock of what others around me are wearing, the less sensitive i am to other aspects of my daily experience. these are general problems, of course, but they also bring up questions about the possible conflict between self-presentation and self-cultivation, which my appeal to the (admittedly-too-strong) contrasts was meant to bring out.
@unbelragazzo-- i really enjoyed your post. a couple of thoughts:
even if we (rightly) reject the dichotomy in it's starkest form, i still think there's something important in its nearby relative. and i don't think we need to defend an implausibly strong view about the metaphysics of the self to see it. for instance, there's clearly a difference between being well-read and merely pretending to be well-read to impress someone at a party. what's the clothing equivalent? maybe something like a person who focuses on cultivating an interesting personal aesthetic at the cost of failing to focus on things that would make him actually interesting, as a person. (that would connect to the charge of superficiality.)
i think this is one of the most interesting things about clothing and style. but i think it's also good to remain aware of the possibility that the transformative power of clothing can be leveraged to enable a person to settle for an ersatz transformation. remember those real-life people who donned superhero costumes and set out to fight petty crime? it was pretty clear that, for them, the outfit wasn't enough.
if only it were that easy! i prefer will durant riffing on aristotle: "we are what we repeatedly do. excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." if that's right, then pretending to be x only gets one better at pretending to be x, which is, presumably, not as great as actually being x.
It’s true that Superman’s costume is not what makes him Superman. He’s also a fictional character, presented to us by a comic book. The story writers show us the parts of his life that they consider the most engaging and telling of his character.
I think we have the same right to exercise some editorial control over how our own lives are presented to the people around us. This, to me, is not a lie - it’s a crucial part of faithful storytelling. Imagine everyone around you could read your mind at all times, so that there was no barrier at all between your thoughts and their perception. Do you think this would present the “truest” version of yourself? Every time you were tempted by some awful transgression you would seem a sociopath. Every thrill from a brief consideration of the long fall from bridge to river would make you seem suicidal. Every casual fantasy involving a random stranger makes you a pervert. But are you really any of those things? The fact that I choose to hide these impulses and present a more artful facade is as much a part of who I am as the fact they exist in the first place. How someone wants to be seen is an integral part of who they are. The performance is its own reality.
The human craving for intimacy will remain unsatisfied with this sort of interaction. We want there to be one golden nugget at the center of every soul, and if we can each just peel off all our layers of ore and pyrite, then we can shine together. We are always disappointed.
I recently read a book called Joe Gould’s Secret, by Joseph Mitchell, whom I consider one of the best ten writers of the 20th century. It’s the true story of a homeless bohemian who claimed to be writing the greatest work of history the world had ever seen, which he called An Oral History of Our Time, supposed to be thousands of pages long. I’m going to give away the ending of the story - Mitchell discovered in the course of knowing and writing about Gould that his great work did not exist. All he had done was write down four or five stories from his life over and over again. Mitchell ruminates after discovering Gould’s secret:
I suddenly felt a surge of genuine respect for Gould. He had declined to stay in Norwood and live out his life as Pee Wee Gould, the town fool. If he had to play the fool, he would do it on a larger stage, before a friendlier audience. He had come to Greenwich Village and had found a mask for himself, and he had put it on and kept it on. The Eccentric Author of a Great, Mysterious, Unpublished Book — that was his mask. And, hiding behind it, he had created a character a good deal more complicated, it seemed to me, than most of the characters created by the novelists and playwrights of his time. I thought of the variety of ways he had seen himself through the years and of the variety of ways others had seen him. There was the way the principal of the school in Norwood had seen him — a disgusting little bastard. There was the way Ezra Pound had seen him — a native hickory. There was the way the know-it-all Village radical had seen him — a reactionary parasite. There were a great many of these aspects, and I began to go over them in my mind. He was the catarrhal child, he was the son who knows that he has disappointed his father, he was the runt, the shrimp, the peanut, the half-pint, the tadpole, he was Joe Gould the poet, he was Joe Gould the historian, he was Joe Gould the wild Chippewa Indian dancer, he was Joe Gould the greatest authority in the world on the language of the sea gull, he was the banished man, eh was the perfect example of the solitary nocturnal wanderer, he was the little rat, he was the one and only member of the Joe Gould Party, he was the house bohemian of the Minetta Tavern, he was the Professor, he was the Sea Gull, he was Professor Sea Gull, he was the Mongoose, he was Professor Mongoose, he was the Bellevue boy.
In a Herculean act of generosity, Mitchell does not confront Gould with what he has discovered. He remembers something Gould wrote in one of his few published articles:
I suffer from delusions of grandeur. I believe that I am Joe Gould.
Here fantasy and identity form a complete union. In some ways Joe Gould is a pathetic character. He has conceived himself entirely as a mirage. It takes a truly stylish person like Mitchell to see the entirety of Joe Gould, and find some level of intimacy with him by sharing his fantasy rather than puncturing it.
The fear of discovery surely kept Joe Gould from sharing more of his life with friends. Not everyone can be as generous as Joseph Mitchell. But we all have these delusions, even if not on the scale of Joe Gould. If we can allow each other these delusions as a part of who we are, and together form a more perfect fantasy, we might all find more genuine respect for our fellow humans. This seems to me a better solution than asking for the end of delusion.