Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This is a Liquidation Sale

The social function of Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice can best be described as a liquidation sale.

I write about the concept of value a lot on this blog, usually in the context of culture and pop-culture. I use the word in a general sense. Value as in socially transferrable or exchangeable "meaning" or "significance". I find it more useful, and interesting to remove assumptions of "importance" — the prejudices of taste and class etc — and look at what people actually spent time doing and paying attention to.

Celebrity is perhaps the best example of something that violates many sophisticated senses of taste yet has, like it or not, an undeniable power and presence within this culture. It has high social exchange value. The value of celebrity, like more traditionally recognizable commodities does not have a fixed worth. It fluctuates and sometimes finds itself being unloaded on the cheap. In this sense you can think of Donald Trump as an estate salesmen liquidating the remaining celebrity value from careers before the shelf life has completely expired . Most of the items up on the block (pictured above) wouldn't fetch much on their own these days but put them together and you can squeeze out enough to sell it off as a lot on a prime time slot. It's a bit like a garage sale. Which makes sense for real-estate guy with a flashy, gauche sense of taste.


CobraLover said...

Brilliantly put.

Yard Sale!

Freak show on display, buy 'em cheap.

Thomas Sherman said...

I always crack a big smile when I see the word cobra in the username of a left comment and particularly love that it's never quite the same name twice