browsing through the brunswick street bookshop late last night, i happened across a couple of books (both Australian) which my dinner companion a little later on categorised as “dinner party intellectualism”. A nice phrase as this is precisely why i browse at that particular bookshop.
anyway, the first one was called “The Neos” and breathlessly exposed how a new consumer force in the market was emerging and in fact had emerged. The Neos (which stands for New Economic Orders) in the handy summary the authors had attached (hence saving me both the time and expense of actually purchasing and reading the book) was highly educated, comprised of 25% of the market but spent 53% (market analysts take note!), highly paid, had conservative economic ideas but liberal/progressive social attitudes, were interested in brand relationships, convenience (ie think nothing of outsourcing boring tedious tasks like cleaning, cooking, babyminding and exercising), authenticity, the internet and exclusivity through privileged knowledge and cliques as opposed to mass advertising.
The winning image the authors decided on was of a designer bracelet done in matt black rubber/vinyl with the words “gold is blind” or summat on it. The secret being that the bracelet itself was actually high carat gold under the black covering with others none the wiser except for the wearer, other owners of like bracelets (presumably forming a secret on-line cabal) and of course lucky in-the-know readers of “The Neos”.
Frankly, i think the phrase is a little tacky but in general I thought it was all very good. I can now call myself a NEO neo-liberal or perhaps a neo-liberal NEO.
The next book I picked up was a long(ish) polemic on the construction of adulthood in reaction to the current backlash against “adultescents”. The title and author escapes me mainly because the word “adultescents” jumped out at me. I hadnt heard of it till then or the backlash for that matter, probably because i dont read the herald-sun but i thought it was a great word.
Adultescents are apparently highly prolifigate types preferring luxurious clothes and lifestyle, can be found living at home hence having more money to dribble away into luxuries, are into the Internet, change jobs regularly (presumably getting better salaries each time although the general attitude in the backlash is because adultescents have the attention span of a gnat) and are perpetually plugged into their iPods.
I thought, wow that just sounds like the Neos except with much less cool factor. I didnt bother skimming through much more of the rest of the polemic. The type was large and I didnt like her prose style.
Besides I thought this whole “adultescent NEO” stereotype / market segment thing had enough dinner party intellectualism value for me to dine out on for a couple of times and write a blog entry about.