jessica watson and the need for ordinariness

I really enjoyed reading Jeremy Bass’s latest article: We need ordinariness to make society rich. Jeremy talks about how we Australians have become too obsessed with money and fame, buying things, and working long hours and taking on debt. Because of this, we have lost what’s really important: we operate as an economy first, and a society second, meaning we’ve lost our sense of community.

A few quotes stood out to me when reading it, like the one about Jessica Watson:

“Last weekend’s heroine, Jessica Watson, received barely a congratulation that didn’t come with mention of fabulous riches and fame in the same sentence.”

and Louis Vuitton:

“…what happens to the positional value of a name like Louis Vuitton when, as Fortune reported in 2007, 94.3 per cent of Japanese twentysomething women own a Vuitton product?”

and he finishes with a bang

“A society that cheers its newfound access to conceits once reserved for the rich while basic essentials such as housing, education and energy skyrocket out of reach shows all the signs of a mass narcissistic personality disorder. The time for a good, hard jab of ordinariness might be upon us.”

So go and read it and then have a discussion about it with someone you love.

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2 thoughts on “jessica watson and the need for ordinariness”

  1. thanks for this tip. a terrific article which I’ll send to my class (on consumer culture).
    Also looking forward to Bryson’s book, and the new Jonathan Franzen book Freedom, which has just come out. See NY Times book review at

    Read that in a plastic bag in the bath, while listening to an Ipod so you can’t hear family pleas for attention.


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