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Thank goodness I'm out of style

Approved house style: New York Times

I can think of a hundred ways to psychoanalyze the people who set themselves up as lords of style and look down on the rest of us. But I’d rather try to be nice and think of it as a serious question: Why is there such a thriving industry and subculture of style?

The best answer I can come up with is that the style industry is an arm of consumerism. It’s to teach us to disdain and devalue what we have so that we’ll buy something new. It’s to teach us that if we don’t buy the new styles, people will make fun of us.

Invariably, the houses that newspapers feature in their architecture columns are boxes. The box in the photo above was certain to be featured in the New York Times, because, not only is it a box, it’s a crooked box that cost $1.4 million. There’s this quote from the owner of the house: “If we just produced another thatched cottage, we might as well still be living in caves.”

The plaid outfit speaks (loudly) for itself.

As for the cabbage, the food writer for Salon informs us that people used to eat cabbage, but cabbage fell into disrepute and something ruined its reputation. I never knew. The way to redeem cabbage’s reputation and make it fit to eat again, he tells us, is to give it a “ripping sear in smoking-hot oil.” Maybe later.

I live in a cottage, my best outfits are from L.L. Bean, and I eat cabbage the old-fashioned way. With the capital I save from not being stylish, I might be able to afford an out-of-style landscape, and a garden.

Approved style of dressing: New York Times

Approved style of eating cabbage: Salon

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