There is an old saying, “Clothes maketh a man!” While, there certainly was a time when the simple adage made sense; in today’s day-n-age, a man is not just made by “what” he wears…but “who” he wears. For the man today is nothing but a proverbial clotheshorse. With shelf after shelf of clothes, which scream the brand-names in all its monogrammed glory, the man has become forever lost in a world of LOGO LAND!
In fact, so strong has become the penchant for possessing brands (and the supposed envy it generates) that I remember reading an interesting post on Facebook, posted by a former student, which simply read: ‘I finally realized why God gave me two kidneys.’ In case you’re wondering what the post supposedly meant, let me now add that the accompanying image that accompanied the post was the glittering shiny image of a brand-new Apple iPhone 6.
To say that I was amused would be an understatement. The post actually made me wonder if there was indeed someone out there, who was now willing to pawn his organs and peddle his flesh all in the name of owning a brand new phone. Of course, I did not need to wait much longer…Lo and behold, a few days later as I read the morning newspapers, I chanced upon an interesting news item…two youths, who had finally paid the price for the phone: ‘A kidney for an Apple!’
In that moment, I was dumb-struck. Is that the price the youth was willing to pay to sport a piece of gadget that would go obsolete in a matter of years, especially given the rapid frequency with which Apple comes out with newer models? What would you give then? After all, it’s unlikely that you would be sprouting new kidneys any time soon.
Truth is, it isn’t the gadget or the logo itself that the youth strives to acquire…it is what comes after!
The ‘after-effects’, in fact, are best encapsulated in an adage that we have read and used ad nauseam, since we were in school, ‘Man is a social animal.’ If you study primate behaviour, it becomes easy to understand this preposterously primitive primate-like paraphernalia of brand-hoarding. For all that the man [or woman] is forever trying to “buy” is not the “brand” per se…but to “buy” acceptance and adulation from fellow primates.
In the simpler past, when there were literally no Apples to sell your kidneys for, one had to work arduously hard to earn the society’s respect. In that day and age, it was an individual’s individual accomplishment that made him the ‘Who’s Who’ of the world. Today, those things have changed. We now live in an era that is defined by conspicuous consumption…where the world celebrates the Kim Kardashians of the world. And for what? What are her accomplishments? Truth be told, it would be comparatively easier to enter North Korea and have tea with the other popular Kim…[Kim Jong-un, that is, the fascist dictator] than to name one solid accomplishment for Kim “the Keyless” Kardashian…(Unless, of course, eating a placenta is considered an accomplishment).
Hence, in the changed circumstances…the man has given up and given in to the mirage that beckons him out into the waiting embrace of the brand. The brand promises him a miracle…where the man will be respected, envied and loved…by one and all. But does the brand deliver? Well, sadly…it does…but it comes with a price… ‘A kidney for an Apple’!