That clip up there is from the awesome, new, HBO comedy series, Veep (pronounced V.P.). In it is an example of a cultural syndrome that I see quite a lot of in Kuwait: I call it the ‘Look How Shiny!’ syndrome.
You know, its the obsession people seem to have with how ‘cool and shiny’ something looks or feels or sounds irregardless of whether or not they even understand, need, or can actually utilize this ‘cool and shiny’ value.
Now, I’m not going to tell you that I live like a Tibetan monk and that I have absolutely no regard for items of a higher aesthetic value (I. E. bling-bling). That would be very, very untrue. But, I have to say, that when I do buy an item with a higher cool-factor that’s hardly the only thing I take into consideration. Like if I was to buy an item with a distinctive name-brand, I wouldn’t buy it just because of the name. I’d buy it because I actually need it, can use it often, AND because of the name.
This is, of course, provided that I don’t find or already have an item of the (relatively) same aesthetic and technical value under perhaps a less pricey name brand. However, in most cases, the really high quality products only come from the really high name brands so you usually don’t find any other exact alternative for what those upscale brands have to offer.
POINT IS! I have nothing against people factoring in an item’s “Look How Shiny!” effect into their purchase. I just find it kind of odd (and slightly funny) when that’s all they factor in.
Take the new Galaxy SIII (yes, I know I’m not the first). To use a cliche from the late 90′s, everyone and their mother is going rabidly insane over this phone in Kuwait. Seriously, it is flying off the shelves faster than you can say “Indiana Jones.” (Watch Notting Hill to get that reference.)
And I noticed that a lot of the people who had migrated so easily and thoughtlessly over from their iPhone 4/4S or from their newest Blackberry (I can’t keep up with those edition numbers) were previously quite happy with their old, relatively cool and shiny smart phones. Meaning that, before the Galaxy SIII came along, they had no complaints and, as far they were concerned, were totally hunky-dory with their already popular, awesome looking device.
Now, look, I’m not saying that the Galaxy SIII isn’t a fine-looking, technologically worthy device. Far from it. I’ve heard of a lot of rave reviews that speak for it’s great capabilities and its fantastic specs. And, yes, it does look très cool.
But, uhm, I’ve already got a phone that has all the capabilities I could possibly need and also looks fresh to death. Sure, my iPhone 4 has been around for a while now, but it’s still a super popular phone in its own right. So why would I need to go out and spend crazy wads of cash on another device just because it’s slightly more popular?
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who traded her iPhone 4S for the Galaxy SIII about why she chose to switch over and, I swear to God, the very first reason that came out of her mouth was, “because everyone loves it.” Every other quasi-technological reason she gave me could easily be found in her iPhone 4S. So, the bottom line was she bought the Galaxy SIII because “OH MY GOD, LOOK HOW SHINY!”
And, this is something I’ve noticed on more than one occasion in Kuwait and have had previous curiosities about. This unexplained syndrome people seem to have with owning something just because it looks cool EVEN THOUGH they already have something that is almost equally cool and functional to their personal needs.
It is a slightly comical quandary that I cannot help but quietly giggle and scratch my head at every single time.
All my love!