Saturday, November 16, 2013

Department of Bad Ideas

The world is filled with bad idea. Heck, I have a dozen bad ideas before I even get up each morning. But it takes a certain level of determination to take a bad idea and make it into a real thing.

Now, in the past, bad ideas rarely got very far--you had publishers or your boss or market testers to put their hand on your shoulder and say "Stop." But in today's world--where do it yourself is a highly profitable sector of the marketplace--the bad idea industry is taking off.

Case in point is the Marry Yourself Kit, designed by (surprise!) a branding consultant and (surprise!) a jewelry designer. Funded through a crowdsourcing site, it's a kit you can buy to...well, to marry yourself. Because why not?

Read the article for the self-explanation necessary as to why this isn't that bad, but the idea itself just seems to be a packaged-up version of the incredible level of narcissism and waste that has become so prevalent. Everyone has a reality show, everyone has their YouTube video, and everyone who has a bad day being single can, instead of ordering a large pizza, a box of tissues, and Sixteen Candles, can instead shell out three hundred bucks in a shallow attempt to make yourself feel better.

Generally speaking, I try hard not to judge people on what they spend their money on. Hey, it's their money; if they feel like wasting it on an expensive ring and a fake ceremony just so their self-esteem will skyrocket, more power to them. And, hey, maybe there's the off chance that this will help some people. But that's part of the problem--somehow, we have managed to operate as a fairly successful society without having to create artificial props to make ourselves feel good about our lives, especially ones that are expensive and serve so little social utility.

Weddings, of course, mean something; they are a ceremony specifically designed for people to express their love to another. Pretty much every single aspect of a wedding, in one way or another, either symbolically or practically, is done to drive this point home. So when the entire thing is inverted into a mission of self-importance, it's less about making yourself feel good and more about being a parody of the ceremony itself. Granted, the makers of this product have a specific ceremony laid out, but the intent is clearly there.  

You want to feel good about yourself? Take that $300 and give it to a charity of your choice. Or spend 40 hours volunteering, and spend that $300 on food and clothing this Christmas. Of course, keep a little for yourself; I hear St. Elmo's Fire can be bought pretty cheap at Wal-Mart.

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