David Mitchell (the funny one, not the novelist) writing for the Observer on the deluge of Star Wars merchandise, makes the point that not everything we make and sell needs to be ‘worthy’:
I don’t mean it as a criticism when I call this stuff crap. Our civilisation cannot be sustained solely from the buying and selling of sturdy items that people genuinely need. We all need people to purchase things they don’t need; to buy things that, while not necessary, are fun – like chocolate, toys, booze, DVDs – and then, to keep the economy growing, also to buy things that vaguely seem like they might be fun if you don’t think that hard about it, like Darth Vader showerheads and lightsaber chopsticks. The market for hilariously apt dust-gatherers is vast and growing – it makes up a significant proportion of the Christmas shopping spike and we probably can’t do without it.
It’s a fair point. Our GDP would plummet, several developing countries would go bankrupt, and there’d be a lot less fun if we weren’t busy making tomorrow’s landfill.
On a related note…
I was shopping for some friends’ kids the other day and found myself standing in the Star Wars section, feeling slightly jealous. Lightsabers, Millennium Falcons. 12 inch Stormtroopers and Darth Vaders. And all for pocket money prices. When I was a kid, you had to save up for months for some of that stuff. Kids today, eh?
I like this quote from Mitchell’s column – something of a warning to fans everywhere:
Anyone who enjoys their Star Wars Stormtrooper single duvet set is unlikely ever to need a Stormtrooper double duvet set
Still, I was alright. We couldn’t afford a Star Wars Stormtrooper single duvet set when I was a kid…