The thrill of victory is, we’re exiting earth.We're leaving all this dirt*
A few years ago, I read the New York Magazine article about Annie Leibovitz and her money woes. I came to the conclusion that her life is a sort of documentary of our post-60's culture. From the beginning, Leibovitz was at the center of the cult of personality--she was one of the behind-the-lens witnesses to the birth of the "rock icon." As a result she acquired what she terms "power by association."
(Lebovitz image: Jessica Biel as Pocahontas)
But as it turns out, the power Annie Leibovitz was somewhat fleeting, and in recent years she found herself with more money going out than was coming in...Unfortunately, She had (unwittingly) given the rights to her photos away.
(Leibovitz image: Emmylou Harris in Tennessee)
Her financial conundrum bears more than just a resemblance to what so many people find themselves dealing with today as we muddle our way through this financially challenging era. Leibovitz may be one of the worlds greatest photographers, she still got into trouble the same way most of us do--over-spending.
(Leibovitz: Mary J. Blige NYC)
Since the 1960's, we've become a consumer based economy, which means we don't make the goods, we buy the goods. The money is now made on Wall Street and spent on Main Street. No matter what your job is--or how much money you make--photographer, trader, writer--we are all too easily seduced by the idea that power, love, acceptance can somehow be purchased as easily as a gallon of milk. Or a pair of Louboutins.
Which reminds me, NY Fashion Week is coming up, which is in some ways an exercise in futility--it used to be the only way to see the newest creations, now it's all over the web before the week even begins. Now they are a party (or a lot of people), rather than a necessary work event. Nonetheless, people still want the cache of the label. If someone has a (real) Birkin, Loro Piana cashmere sweater collection, Frette linens, etc., do we not assume that person has money and does that also mean power? Most of us don;t have that kind of money, and can't (shouldn't) pretend that we do. And even if we did, at a certain point we all feel a little oppressed by things...whether it's your car payments, school loans, a mortgage...it costs a lot to have "things." Don't get me wrong, I like nice things as much as the next person. But, if we are going to be a consumer culture, at least we can be more mindful of where our stuff comes from. The best part is--mindfulness is free.
*This line of poetry is from:
by Harryette Mullen
|We need quarters like King Tut needed a boat. A slave could row him to heaven from his crypt in Egypt full of loot. We've lived quietly among the stars, knowing money isn't what matters. We only bring enough to tip the shuttle driver when we hitch a ride aboard a trailblazer of light. This comet could scour the planet. Make it sparkle like a fresh toilet swirling with blue. Or only come close enough to brush a few lost souls. Time is rotting as our bodies wait for now I lay me down to earth. Noiseless patient spiders paid with dirt when what we want is star dust. If nature abhors an expensive appliance, why does the planet suck ozone? This is a big ticket item, a thickety ride. Please page our home and visit our sigh on the wide world’s ebb. Just point and cluck at our new persuasion shoes. We’re opening the gate that opens our containers for recycling. Time to throw down and take off on our launch. This flight will nail our proof of pudding. The thrill of victory is, we’re exiting earth. We're leaving all this dirt.