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On Sneakerheads and Hypebeasts

A dedicated cult of street oriented fashionista's pile into a boutique shoe store in a hip part of town. Nostalgic t-shirts with references to the hip-hop culture of yesteryear, usually with a disposition to more gangster oriented artists line the clothing racks. An Asian, a white guy with tattoo's, and a brotha stand around disengaged. These are the owners and their arrogance is warranted. Like Nino Brown said, “They'll be loyal customers, if not, fuck it, it'll be like in beiruit, they'll be live in hostages.”

And hostages they are.

Slaves to their appetite. Duped into thinking they're asserting their individuality by purchasing the latest sneaker. To some degree, within their smaller groups of friends they might actually achieve that desired individuality. But with their skateboards and dunks, a council of advertising executes applaud one another on once again making the fringe counter-culture, a bankable asset.

So what do we do about these blatant attempts to cash in on our desires to be individuals? Let us look to Thomas More's hypothetical perfect society "Utopia". The children from an early age are given gaudy baubles and trinkets as playthings. The idea being they will naturally outgrow a desire for them. Similar to how we give up our G.I. Joe action figures or Sonic the Hedgehog doll you cried over in front of KB Toys, only to have your mother refuse to buy it, but elaborately deceive you by giving it to you in the morning as a present. Why would she do that?

How do we Vaccinate against empty products pandering to our genuine hopes and dreams? Here's what the Utopian did for their children:

"They gather do not look for them...when they have found some by chance...they use them to deck out their infants, who are boastful and proud of such gems in their earliest childhood but, as they get a little older and notice that such trinkets are worn only by children, they become ashamed of them of their own accord and, with no urging from their parents, they give them up just as our children discard their baubles, necklaces, and dolls when they grow up."

In our world though, this already occurs and it does not work. Adults dress like children, and children emulate the shallow role models they see on TV. Still, the logic of More's argument is sound. It simply needs a modern reinterpretation. How can Thomas More's logic of devaluing trivial commodities apply? Solution: Give Scholars, Educators, and Civil Servants our Trinkets.

Our putrid society values these superfluous items and the moral bankruptcy of our celebrities. So giving a criminal like, Suge Knight, diamond studded sneakers or making urinals out of gold would just amuse the unvaccinated masses.

The modern solution then, is to give these trivialities to the people who don't get the respect they deserve. Twelve year olds aspire to be like the rappers on MTV and bimbos on The Hills because of the (fabricated) decadent lifestyle they purport to live. Give the people who deserve the attention these gaudy trinkets. For example, if college Professors started wearing hi-top Nikes one of two things would happen:

1. Students consider these counter-culture items suddenly “uncool.” Nike readjusts and goes after another fringe trend. Rinse, repeat.

2. Students, seeing their custodian of knowledge dressing like media celebrities, shift their aspirational energies to being like people of societal worth.

It's a win win situation. Win win.

- The Commodore