commodification conundrum

yes, I should be spanked for that title. But it has a ring to it that I like. And I do not mind if the reader asks who the fuck I think I am to think that anyone would appreciate such intellectualism.  I don’t know who I am so the question is totally fair, and I don’t mind swearing either because I’m from Brabant and us Brabanders like swearing. Not because we like offending people, far from it, but because our tongue assumes that many things are just better expressed that way. If I understand Bill Connolly correctly,that is true for some other parts of the world too, like Scotland.

But this post isn’t about me, but about the commodification conundrum. So what’s the intricate and difficult problem (conundrum says merriam-webster) with stuff formerly appreciated for its intrinsic value being turned into commodities, appreciated mostly for its economic (trading and/or monetary) value?

Well, a large part of the difficulty is that if I like something, let’s say running (and you can replace that with whatever you fancy, to make this statement true for you too – let me know if I’m wrong), others involving themselves with it for money’s sake seems to bother me, devalues the intrinsic joy it holds, soils its pristine nature, you get the picture. Why should that be the case? Why do I care?  If the value is really intrinsic, how can it be polluted? Might intrinsic be a fantasy? Does value as experienced always have a strong collective character , determined by what others think?

Let’s take a quick detour to  view another comedian whom I watched every week on Dutch TV when I was a kid. His costume undoubtedly contributed to my current experience of living in an exotic place.

The argument I’m trying to make about the experience of intrinsic value and the Tommy Cooper ingredient of my Cairo experience are actually very similar so it’s less of a detour than an illustration. Had I not grown up with Tommy, my Cairo experience would be different, ever so slightly maybe, but different nonetheless.

The same is true for my running. I got into mountain and trail running relatively early on. The fringe aspect of it must have contributed to the experienced joy of it. So when it went main=stream, with the gear industry, oh horror, jumping in, numbers shooting up and every tom, dick and mary going off tarmac, dressed in super fiber, wearing compression socks, clocking thirty stats for further desk analysis, and living of gels and scientifically enhanced ORS, it affected my experience, although I don’t do none of these things myself.

I caught onto the minimalist fashion and the related hunter gatherer science before Born to Run hit the shelves. A couple of years later all running shoe companies have multiple models of expensive non-shoes, and probably make an even bigger killing than before. And that downs my enthusiasm for these things although I should actually be happy if ever I believed a shred of the arguments for going minimal and running being part of our evolutionary heritage.

Am I stupid or something? As the answer is obvious, and sour, I’ll conclude this conundrum with two sweet but sad songs about lemons.


About roger henke

Still figuring out the story line that would satisfy myself here. Listening to what my family and friends evoke, what the words I absorb, the images that move me, the movements that still me, point to.
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