On October 3rd, David Rakoff, author of Don’t Get Too Comfortable (VidLit) was talking about how the upper class is fetishizing food (full interview) referring to an in-depth article on high-end salt in The New York Times. It used to be that only luxury items were fetishized. Think of cigars, cars and wine. Today’s marketer has discovered that the moneyed and pompous need the validation obtained from paying exhorbitant prices for stuff that regular folks get at the 1$ store or for free as is the case for water and air.
It’s Martha Stewart’s fault!
Over the last 15 years, Martha Stewart, opened our eyes to the subtlety of everyday things discussing rolling pins, tea towels and even eggs at length in her magazines, books and tv shows. I know this for a fact because I have most of her magazines and books. I like quality items just like the next person. I know that a $28 bottle of wine is better than an $8 one. But there comes a point where the price-quality ratio goes out the window and a luxury item becomes only an empty statement of wealth. You see, I’m sure there isn’t much difference between 18$/pound salt and 5$/pound salt. I don’t care if you tell me that this artisanal salt was collected by a noted French brain surgeon who laboured extensively to scoop up the fleur-de-sel with a Marseille souvenir spoon. It’s just salt, dig a hole, scrape it with a stick and add a pinch.