GARISH

You are looking for something to believe in, something which defines you, centers you, then lifts you up, above your now-self, above the other selfs, and which judiciously marks you a member of a clan, the very clan which claims to stand for all that you hope you are.

For millions, this is gleaned through possession of products by Apple, a very rich corporation which, at least until there are algorithmic sorting hats able to place us within our most right, respective tribes, is the closest we have to a tangible, tactile tell that declares to all: I am thus.

“I find Samsung displays to be technically impressive but downright garish in terms of saturation.”

Garish.

A word designed to incite and divide.

Samsung displays — unlike Apple displays — are garish.

No data is provided. No pixel numbers presented as evidence. No A/B testing to verify. One isn’t simply worse than the other, or lesser than the other, it’s garish, an assault to the senses, a vile and putrid attack upon taste and decency.

A Samsung display? Here! Darling, it simply isn’t done! Think of your breeding, your training! Think of us!

Labeling a competing product’s display as “garish” is so thoroughly non-masculine, so bereft of validity and rectitude, that I’m quesy just mocking the sentiment. But sadly, this is marketing in the second decade of the 21st century. No numbers, no data — no need. Numbers are verifiable, they are reality gradations, a reminder of the actual closeness of like things, like to like, conclusively revealing the closeness in quality of a Samsung phone versus an Apple phone, for example. And wherever there are gradations, acceptance is the appropriate response.

But we must never allow for acceptance!

Differences must instead be highly emotional, a call to arms — a declaration of tribe.

You don’t merely prefer the Apple display, you find the alternate garish.

Of course you’re lying, but that’s not the point.

Correction, that is exactly the point.

You know that Apple uses the very same display technology that Samsung uses. You probably also know that Apple *literally* buys its displays from Samsung. But to admit such truth is to deny the pose, to dare suggest that your tribe has no anointed specialness.

Meaning: you have no anointed specialness.

Garish is not a lie, not really, it is a declaration of personhood.

We are in a transition period, our technology equal parts magical and mundane, it’s impact on our life and our future is self-evident, but the evidence for our self is increasingly less certain.

This frightens.

We are all connected, to all people, soon to all things, at all times, all places, yet retain that manly duality, to join in but to stand out.

How?

An easy way is through your purchases.

Capitalism has optimized the global infrastructure for exactly this.

What do you stand for?

Brand!

Who do you stand with?

Apple!

Show your weapon.

iPhone!

The Other?

Garish!

We describe to things using words of passion because we have lost our passion.

And hope to find it within that which we control, which we own — which we have purchased.

You are walking around with a supercomputer in your pocket but is it the right supercomputer? Let me check. Oh, good. Here, strap this supercomputer onto your wrist. It’s easier for the rest of us to always see your allegiance.

We are outsourcing the rational to computers, to algorithms, allowing big data to make decisions on our behalf, but it’s not enough, no matter how right, because our machines do not (yet) feel, they are without compulsion, impulse, doubt, joy, belonging, faith.

Identity.

We covet the irrational, probably more so than ever before, but remain unsure of — frightful of — just how fully to give ourself over to it.

The irrational man creates, yes, but is ultimately self-destructive.

Our inclination is to live.

Another pressing duality.

For now, we use physical marks — products — products which the emotional grifters are happy to supply. An iPhone, a Prius, tangible attempts to harmonize our realities, that is, how we believe we are seen versus how we believe we want to believe how others see us.

But such efforts are draining.

An easy out is to defile the other, the not-our-tribe.

Men at work.