Buyology (book review review)

I think it was Oscar Wilde who said "I never read books, because the reviews are so much better" (though I've been unable to find this quote -- first one to cite it gets a free KDD bumpersticker).  This definitely holds true with most nonfiction these days -- I can't remember the last nonfiction I read in its entirety, though when it comes to fiction I can hardly wait to get my hands on the latest Updike sequel.  Thus I get most of my nonfiction reading in nice five minute snippets from my daily newspaper or reason.com.  Today I'm introducing a new feature, the book review review.

The WSJ had a review today of "buyology", and while I always applaud obscure Lionel Trilling references, I think Andrew Stark is reaching a bit by saying that neuromarketing fosters 'a culture of "inauthenticity": It disrupts identity itself by bypassing the conscious mind and targeting aspects of the self over which none of us has control'.  The applications of neuromarketing are temporal at best; while you may have an urge to pinch the cheeks of the Mini Cooper's face, surely at some point your right brain reminds you that you never fit your kids into the back seat.

I'm reminded of the swanky advertisements for downtown Raleigh highrise living as so ably parodied by Blazer Manpurse.  Many will see in this ad a younger, hipper version of themselves, sipping ten dollar appletinis poolside among the creative class (or maybe just another toned empty nester).  The reality is that you will bitch about not having a decent grocery store and having no one besides trustafarians to talk to (I found this out firsthand when I lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn).

Word on the street is that "North at West" is being discounted given the housing collapse, despite their well-produced YouTube ad (the bikini-clad avatar is a nice touch).  If you find this a bit much you might enjoy the one for HUE, which I liked better.


the housing crisis is a demographic crisis

I was just getting my morning shot of Bubblevision when Josh Rosner told Joe Kernan that the real problem in home prices is that the traditional postwar level of home ownership (estimated at 60%) has ballooned to 70%, and that given the baby bust there's simply no way out of this mess (other than to raze homes).

This is shrewd analysis.  On the one hand, you could see a scenario where the boomers keep these second homes and their underwater mortgages through thick and thin, passing them on to their kids for use as weekend getaways.  One hopes the general level of prosperity will rise enough so that having a second home will be as commonplace here as it is in the English landed gentry (who would prefer to jet off to Ibiza, but will settle for Sussex or the Lake District).  Given the government's apparent preference to guarantee the unlimited appreciation of asset prices, this is a likely scenario.

But what about The Angry Renter?  I know that homeownership is all well and good, but couldn't you make the case that a nation of renters makes for a more fluid economy, where labor is free to pack up and move according to economic conditions?

What Durham needs is a state income tax deduction for rental payments, similar to what they have in Massachusetts.  This is the true progressive position.


DDs: businesses that can't spell

I don't go to Wayne's because I love the little warren of shops south of NCCU, the prices are great, the service is good, or it's close to my commuting route (although all of these things are true).

I go there because the "Laundramat" sign makes me chuckle everytime I stop in. Won't see that in Cary.


DDs: bagpipe guy

Originally uploaded by dcrollins
Have you seen this guy outside the DSA? He's usually on Duke St. just north of Corporation. Awesome.