Sorry to disappoint you, but this blog post is not about what you might think: some kinky sex practice by upper class Englanders. The idea of a fetish has spread to so many other things and expereinces. It’s the desire, actually, the “must-haves” that certain people worldwide have come to believe are so important to their lives.
For some people, it could be an Ivy League education for themselves or their children.
For others, it could be the kind of car that they drive.
For others, it could be that special restaurant that they must eat in.
For others, it could be the neighborhood that they live in.
And I’m not saying outright that these things so valued by people are without merit. It’s not that exactly, because some of these things and experiences have real value, and can be quite enjoyable or worthwhile.
But what often happens when an object or experience is fetishized, is that it can be co-opted, so that the authentic value is diminished by its sheer popularity. This occurs because the purveyor of the fetish (whether an institution, a German car company, a restaurant), can be so overwhelmed by the attention that it slacks off a bit, or starts to produce a middling product or experience. Or, the price of admission, or cost of the product skyrockets in response, thereby making its intrinsic value less in comparison to other available products or experiences.
This shift in relative appeal can happen quite suddenly, especially when the public craves a particular brand. And of course, the fetishizing of these product or experiences is tied directly to the increasing use of branding as a marketing tool: the concept of branding was virtually unheard of just ten years ago.
In this environment, unless we consciously choose to embrace a brand, for better or worse, we can choose experiences or products carefully based on what they really offer us, apart from the fetishistic element.