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robertogreco : homesteading   7

The Herschel backpack: how Generation Y carries capitalism's mythologies | Eleanor Robertson | Comment is free | The Guardian
"The ubiquitous blue and brown backpacks are a genius of marketing that perfectly express the myth of the rugged individual"



"Was a law passed recently that mandated every person under 30 own one of those blue and brown Herschel backpacks? How else can we explain how ubiquitous they are? Step onto a university campus and 90% of the students will be wearing one, seemingly in defiance of the laws of supply and demand.

The Herschel trend is fascinating. In 2014 the Guardian’s Paula Cocozza went digging for the source of the bags’ popularity. Brothers Lyndon and Jamie Cormack, both apparel industry veterans, founded the company in 2009 because they “did not feel there was a very compelling story being told about bags”.

They named the company after Herschel, a tiny town in Saskatchewan where their great-grandparents settled after emigrating from Scotland in 1906.

“We as kids got to go back there all the time. Just used to wander the hills, shoot bottles, maybe the occasional gopher,” says Lyndon Cormack.

Cocozza points out that this association with exploration, frontiers, beards, maps, etc. is very now, and the Herschel, with its vintage feel and pointless utilitarian flourishes (the little diamond-shaped leather leather badge is actually a lashtab), is designed to play on aesthetic themes that reject mass production in favour of the vintage, handcrafted and self-reliant.

In other words, the Herschel backpack is a bag for the rugged individual.

The Cormacks’ decision to craft the brand around their homesteading great-grandparents is not an accident: homesteading is a crucial mythology of capitalism. It’s the supposed process by which previously un-owned natural resources come to be validly possessed by one individual, who is then allowed to defend them using force and transfer ownership through contract.

Put most famously by John Locke, homesteading is central to anarcho-capitalism, rights-based libertarianism, and propertarianism. It is amazing, and in some ways perfect, to see this individualistic ideology clearly reflected in the marketing of a backpack that is made in 15 factories in China and adorns the shoulders of every second young person in the Western world.

I doubt the Cormacks intended it this way, but as master marketers they know which stories appeal to people. At this point in history, homesteading, exploration and frontiersmanship are it.

The material conditions in which the backpack exists – in which it is actually manufactured and worn – reflect the reality of global capitalism. It’s made by factory workers and worn by precariously-employed inner-city knowledge workers – journalists, designers, and students.

It is not worn while traversing a mountain in search of a hitherto-unknown gold deposit, or while fishing ruggedly in a pristine lake. But that’s story that its designers have woven in order to make the bag attractive to millions of urbanites: a repudiation of their lifestyle as students and employees.

And everybody loves it, because, as John Steinbeck may or may not have said about the American poor, they see themselves “not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires”. This sentiment doesn’t just exist in America any more, but Australia as well.

When I first started to notice Herschel backpacks a couple of years ago, I thought their slightly childish simplicity and drab brownness made the young men who wore them look like orphans. Now that they are so pervasive, they’re a constant reminder of the weight on my generation’s shoulders of the myths we must shrug off."
capitalism  2015  homesteading  anarcho-capitalism  libertarianism  propertarianism  frontiersmanship  exploration  individualism  ruggedindividualism  marketing  mythology  storytelling  brands  paulacocozza  lyndoncormack  jamiecormack  eleanorrobertson 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Making Cutting-Edge Animation On A DIY Homestead : NPR
"It's pretty common these days for young people to live with their parents after college, but few have managed to transform their old homestead quit like filmmaker Isaiah Saxon has.

With the help of filmmaking buddies Sean Hellfritsch and Daren Rabinovitch, Saxon has transformed 10 hilly acres surrounding his mother's house in Aptos, Calif. into Trout Gulch, a kind of rural hacker space where they build their own houses, grow organic vegetables, milk goats and produce state-of-the-art digital animation.

Saxon explains how his group of 21st-century pioneers takes a do-it-yourself approach to just about everything."
sustainability  film  diy  green  california  troutgulch  homesteading  2011  animation  meaning  well-being  design  glvo  architecture  agriculture  farming  gardening  isaiahsaxon  seanhellfritsch  darenrabinovitch 
august 2011 by robertogreco
The Foxfire Fund, Inc.
"Foxfire (The Foxfire Fund, Inc.) is a not-for-profit, educational and literary organization based in Rabun County, Georgia. Founded in 1966, Foxfire's learner-centered, community-based educational approach is advocated through both a regional demonstration site (The Foxfire Museum & Heritage Center) grounded in the Southern Appalachian culture that gave rise to Foxfire, and a national program of teacher training and support (the Foxfire Approach to Teaching and Learning) that promotes a sense of place and appreciation of local people, community, and culture as essential educational tools."

[See also: http://foxfire.schoolwires.com/ ]
foxfire  folklore  learner-centered  simplicity  anthropology  art  books  gardening  georgia  culture  diy  education  environment  homesteading  history  teaching  sustainability  appalachia  unschooling  deschooling  magazines  learning  studentdirected  student-centered  tcsnmy  lcproject  schools  eliotwigginton 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Urban Homesteading: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Modern Making: ETech 2009
"In 1900 about 40 percent of Americans (40 million) lived on farms, and a similar percentage worked on farms. All farms had machinery and woodworking shops, and the people living and working on farms knew how to repair equipment, make furniture, and build almost anything they needed. People were makers by necessity, and as a result they acquired many useful DIY skills that they applied to their leisure activities as well.
markfrauenfelder  homesteading  urban  urbanhomesteading  self-reliance  diy  make  farming  gardening  homes  etech  2009  agriculture 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Path to Freedom
local family that was profiled in the LA Times - they homestead on a lot in Pasadena
local  losangeles  pasadena  homesteading  agriculture  alternative  california  community  craft  ecology  diy  efficiency  energy  environment  food  living  simplicity  sustainability  urban  howto  green 
january 2007 by robertogreco

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