A PRODUCT THAT WANTS TO DIE

The book cover of a product is its image. Also its comments section and its Facebook page. All but deleted.

There are the tired images of materiel pleasures we no longer desire.

They are like older actresses, or Twentieth Century genre fiction gone out of fashion. They are Tom Clancy and Leon Uris.

Of course, we see aesthetic qualities. These remnants have terms. They are noted.

But maybe there is something more than just seeing how these images have color and shape in common – the simple way they are obsolete and easy to recognize. Maybe they have a more universal quality. They are ended, like a certain kind of vintage fashion, yet they are also earning these new eyes. They are renewed, by our audience, like a a very canonized retro, or its confusing and tasteless precursor: kitsch.

We don’t want to hate these products, because their images remind us of something that is not present in our lives. Something that has passed or something that never was. And we are drawn to this challenging feeling, this feeling of irrelevance that becomes something like rebirth.

These images are great works of fiction. They do not attempt to allude to the real present. They are not capable of relevancy or charm. They want nothing and they do not make themselves easily found. They tell only a single story. Of desire and of power and of a death that never really ends – as long as they are re-indexed by various search engines. They are trying to retire, or retired – like the best poets (according to Jon Leon). They want to die, but their audience keeps them alive enough. They are in pain. And this is their art.

Shall we let them die?

Is that the kind thing to do?