New you’s: Modular commodification


I am Nikon. I am my iPhone. I am a chimera, a mongrel composite of my Levis, my Dockers, my Tilly hat, my Bush Country SUV.

I am whoever I choose to be. I am whatever. I am a staunch iconic mashup doing my part to keep the wheels of industry turning. I am my modular personality du jour compliments of the advertising industry and my own f***wittedness. Cool.


But it gets weirder than that. And maybe more dangerous. Are we being subtly and not-so-subtly encouraged to identify with things that may not be to our advantage at all? (Rhetorical question.)

Here’s something from “6 Kinds of Pills Big Pharma Tries to Get You Hooked On for Life”, by Martha Rosenberg:

… [G]iving kids daily drugs creates two problems. First, parents will never know if their kids would have outgrown their conditions, and second, it’s unlikely they’ll ever get ‘clean.’ In fact, Pharma marketers worry about the revenue threat of kids going off their meds when they leave home and even run an ad campaigns in college newspapers to keep them on. One ad shows the lead singer of Maroon 5, declaring, ‘I remember being the kid with ADHD. Truth is, I still have it.’ The ad’s tag line reads, ‘It’s Your ADHD. Own It.’ [my bold italics]

Okay, I guess. So it’s my ADHD.

Wait a minute. Isn’t that pretty close to saying, “I am my ADHD?” What? Anything to keep the wheels of industry turning.  And we all have to do our parts.

Meanwhile, I personally am not my ADHD. I don’t have ADHD. Though it is true I’m in danger of fragging by way of an Internet addiction, of becoming victim to pandemic attention-diminished dopamine-dipping dementia (ADDDD.) Or iktsuarpok, as the Inuit might have it.

But not to worry, eh? A nicely pre-fragged personality is all the more susceptible to modular reconstruction by the ad industry, all the more amenable to “being” this and “being” that. Someone, somewhere, is even now working on a thesis: Integrative effects of corporate greed and irresponsibility: The bright side.

I wonder. If I bought an Akubra hat, would that bring it all back together? Yeah. And I could switch to Timberland shoes. That should do it.

For another take on this idea that I am my iPhone, see “Starbucks and the social construction of reality.”

For more on ADDDD, see “Writerly occupational hazards: Addictions, spinal deficiencies, and disciplinary infinite regresses,” and “Some good things to do with an Internet addiction.”


4 thoughts on “New you’s: Modular commodification”

  1. I am this, and I am that. Basically, though, I am my story (mystory, history, herstory, whatever). I am not my brain or my body or my mind or my soul or my consciousness. I am a personal narrative.

    Yeah, and maybe with the modular commodification of self, we’re outsourcing our narratives, letting the corporate entity ghost-write our individual and collective selves. Did I say maybe? And what is this “corporate entity”–is it part of ourstory, or is it theirstory?

    And such are the thoughts that arise on this lazy Sunday morning when I could be doing something with my life instead. I should go shopping.

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