expos rd 4

expos rd 4 - Esther Kang Expository Writing November 9,...

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Esther Kang Expository Writing November 9, 2010 Surface and Surface For decades, the issue of surface and substance has been debated by many people. Some believe that any attention to aesthetics furthers a lie and resources spent on aesthetics are obviously wasted (Postrel 456). On the other hand, there are others who believe that sensory pleasure works to commercial and personal advantage because aesthetics have intrinsic values (Postrel 461). Despite the differences between these varying stances on aesthetics, the value of surface is evident in the lives of many and is independent from substance. The two elements do not have a direct correlation with one another; rather, most people inadvertently value surface more than substance. Humans have the innate tendency to make initial judgments based solely upon surface and not substance, which is fueled by the strong desire to find pleasure in aesthetics and is also provoked by the unintentional inclination to compete with each other for status. These components demonstrate the extent of superficiality that is gradually becoming a part of our culture today. The term “surface” mentioned in this context does not refer to the physical outer layer of an object; rather it considers the aesthetic value or the visual aspect of something or someone. For example, when scrutinizing other people, humans tend to make quick, initial judgments simply from the way that others look and even the manner they dress. By doing so, people are making assumptions based only upon the surface of the other person, regardless of the quality of their personality or substance. This idea can also be
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applied to everyday objects, such as buying a television. If someone buys a television based on the change of color of the television framing, he or she is purchasing the item because of his or her opinion of the surface of the television. The person buying the product or judging another person does not consider whether the item is functioning correctly or what the type of personality the other person possesses. In her work, “Surface and Substance”, Virginia Postrel agrees that intangible, non-commercial “goods” exhibit similar patterns of being judged by the surface (Postrel 465). Postrel provides an example in her piece, in which Liz Twitchell, a twenty-two year old, is extremely unsatisfied with her life because she would rather wear something from Armani, an expensive name brand, rather than the “commonplace” Old Navy sweater she was wearing (Postrel 462). Liz assumes that her Old Navy sweater is not good enough for her because it doesn’t have the name brand “label” like Armani. She does not base her assumptions that Armani is better on whether the quality of the clothing is better or if the items will last longer. Her opinions are solely based upon the surface label of the clothing. This example of
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This note was uploaded on 03/07/2012 for the course 830 201 taught by Professor Leyton during the Fall '08 term at Rutgers.

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expos rd 4 - Esther Kang Expository Writing November 9,...

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