Flashback Week – Rip-roaring Trends

[originally posted on May 16, 2008]

Ever notice that trends and fads are usually of a nature that requires you not to think about them for too long? This is because if you do think about it, you’ll easily convince yourself that it ranks high on the list of dumbest things you’ve ever experienced.

Take, for example, the desire to display perfectly good objects as broken, torn, smashed, ripped, cracked, faded or any other form of imperfection. I have no idea when this started, but perhaps it all began when Og the Caveman returned home after a grueling mammoth hunt, his primitive saber-toothed-tiger-hair outfit torn to shreds. His friends see this and Og’s social standing immediately skyrockets since everyone now knows he survived the ordeal, but was close enough to ruin his good hunting cloths. Either that, or Mrs. Og thought “My, how hot is that?!” Before you could say Archaeopteryx, everyone was clamoring for the torn look and the rest is history.

Fast forward a few thousand (or million, depending on your view of earth’s age, but anyway) years and young people still pay big money for jeans that look like they’re ready to be thrown out. Unfortunately, as this generation aged, the need for social acceptance based on wild and crazy hunts didn’t go away. True, they don’t go around wearing jeans with huge holes in the knees (factory installed) anymore, but now this need manifests itself in other ways. Now they sport fake bullet holes on their car, apparently still trying to convey the image that they’ve had a dangerous run in (with someone who obviously can’t shoot) and have lived to tell the tale. Or perhaps instead of the bullet holes, they have a sticker on their window making it look like someone put a baseball halfway through the window. I’m not exactly sure how wanting people to believe your car window has been smashed by an errant baseball fits in with the whole “moving-on-up-the-social-standing-ladder” theory, but I’m working on it. I haven’t done a demographic study of the kind of people who usually have such stickers, but I’d be willing to guess that these are the people who probably wouldn’t be anywhere near a sporting event where there would be a chance of a wayward ball hurtling through their window, but at the same time they want to appear cool.

Computers are by no means exempt. Thanks to Stumbleupon (a very cool Firefox feature, by the way), I came across this article detailing how to create your very own “Sawed Off USB Key.” Why would someone want a computer accessory that looked like a ripped cable and had the potential of being tossed in the trash? Og had no idea what he started.

But of course, my first reaction was “Whoa, how cool is that?!” Then I made the mistake of thinking about it for more than 15 seconds and behold, this blog post was born.

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