Looking back into Dell Upton’s Architecture in the United States, we see that Jefferson’s era, and even the man himself, is framed as the possible cause to the start of consumer culture in the U.S. The word ‘consumption’ in this case represents the idea “that link objects and marketing strategies with personal identity” (page 33). This is interesting to me because it gives a materialistic lens thru which to view one of the founding fathers of this country and to question his character. Did the idea of ‘identity thru items’ really start as early as Jefferson?
Immediately following the reading, my mind jumped to the modern example of Fight Club, a book by Chuck Palahniuk and a popular movie staring Brad Pitt [I know this modern correlation is a bit of a stretch]. At one point, the narrator exhibits his ties to his material possessions when he says, “I would flip through catalogs and wonder, ‘What kind of dining set defines me as a person?’” Tyler Durden (Pitt) attempts to enlighten our main character with a rant against modern consumerism that ends when he says, “the things you used to own, now they own you.”
And this all started at Monticello? Hmmm….