From Publishers Weekly
For prosperous townfolk of 15th century Europe, the ability to purchase an illuminated Book of Hours was a sign that one had "arrived." Today, buying a Picasso print or a Porsche might fulfill a similar function for the status-conscious. According to Ewen ( Captains of Consciousness ), the main difference is that, for us, style has come to dominate substance. We are a society in love with surfacea look, a sound, a pose; style is a tool to construct selfhood, a vehicle to sell things. Ewen sees the apex of this trend in the elevation of a mediocre Hollywood actor to the U.S. presidency. Illustrated with photos of industrial designs and advertisements, this devastating, incisive essay explores the ways modernist aesthetics meshes with the needs of an efficient workplace, the invention of celebrityhood, the cult of the body beautiful and the creation of "style industries" devoted to sustaining perpetual novelty.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"An engaging and provocative work. . .sharp, beautifully written." -- Chicago Tribune
"Stuart Ewen is one of the foremost interpreters today of our culture." -- Bill Moyers
"With consistently sharp arguments. . .Ewen succeeds in showing style to be a ubiquitous form of social control, illustrating the many ways in which we are what we wear." -- The Los Angeles Times Book Review