December 25, 2013
TV’s Post-Recession Obsession With Stuff

Junk, clutter, crap, stuff—the rising tide, the rising gorge. Atop the unfixable air conditioner sits the box of unreadable books; somewhere nearby, dustily, sits your collection of plastic forks, and the unanswered letter from your uncle in prison. Are you going to do something about it? No. Never. Not a chance. Like guilt, like apathy, like the zombie host fermenting at the walls of Jerusalem in World War Z, these piles of personalized crud have a terrible negative capacity: They pluck at you and they pull you down. You’re helpless.
But not quite! Because television, in its obliging way, is enabling us to work through some of our difficulties with regard to stuff. In fact, there’s a whole spectrum of stuff-related programming on TV right now. At one end we have the cultured hubbub of PBS’s Antiques Roadshow: How much is it worth, pray tell, this fire-damaged heirloom of mine? At the other, on A&E, we have Hoarders: the madness, the cats, the landfill in the living room. And currently spreading through the middle, a rash of newer shows about reselling stuff, monetizing stuff, skimming a precipitate of dollaroonies off the suppurating stuff-heap: Pawn Stars, Swamp Pawn, Storage Hunters, Storage Wars, Storage Wars: Texas, and on and on.
Read more. [Image: Gluekit]

TV’s Post-Recession Obsession With Stuff

Junk, clutter, crap, stuff—the rising tide, the rising gorge. Atop the unfixable air conditioner sits the box of unreadable books; somewhere nearby, dustily, sits your collection of plastic forks, and the unanswered letter from your uncle in prison. Are you going to do something about it? No. Never. Not a chance. Like guilt, like apathy, like the zombie host fermenting at the walls of Jerusalem in World War Z, these piles of personalized crud have a terrible negative capacity: They pluck at you and they pull you down. You’re helpless.

But not quite! Because television, in its obliging way, is enabling us to work through some of our difficulties with regard to stuff. In fact, there’s a whole spectrum of stuff-related programming on TV right now. At one end we have the cultured hubbub of PBS’s Antiques Roadshow: How much is it worth, pray tell, this fire-damaged heirloom of mine? At the other, on A&E, we have Hoarders: the madness, the cats, the landfill in the living room. And currently spreading through the middle, a rash of newer shows about reselling stuff, monetizing stuff, skimming a precipitate of dollaroonies off the suppurating stuff-heap: Pawn Stars, Swamp Pawn, Storage Hunters, Storage Wars, Storage Wars: Texas, and on and on.

Read more. [Image: Gluekit]

  1. othersidesofnobody reblogged this from theatlantic
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    GRANDIIIIII!
  3. adventuresoflpl reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Get rid of it all!
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