David Bowie Pimping Louis Vuitton. Let Me Try To Figure Out Why This Bugs Me So Much.


The full campaign isn’t out yet. But there’s stills and some background here.

It’s not new for Bowie to do television ads, by any means. And the idea of the Vuitton campaign didn’t bother me, really, until I read the above article. It feels like pure, empty commercialism. Selling an expensive, less-than-innovative product to the 0.05% that can afford it. Isn’t Bowie’s image worth more? Isn’t it worth more than, well, money?

I have an issue with money. I have an issue with the concept of money. In ninth grade we were asked to design a city of the future. I decided to create a society where currency didn’t exist. You’d think I’d had raving Socialist parents, but I didn’t. I seemed to be all alone in my hatred of meaningless paper that was passed back and forth.

In university, during some lit course I probably hated or some Poli Sci course I probably loved, I read John Locke. His theory of spoilage was the first time I’d seen written down what I thought I felt about money and wealth — although in retrospect, and in reading the Wikipedia page to remind me — I might have completely missed his full argument.

Here’s what I remember: In a state of nature, everyone is equal, because anything that has value — food, for instance — spoils. Spoilage prevents accumulation. People can only keep what they use, and the rest goes to waste. When we introduced money into society, we placed value on something that inherently has no value. Furthermore, it can be accumulated, creating inequality.

I don’t hate money, per se. I like having it, when I do. But if you are an artist, why would you promote money? Why would you promote a culture of wealth? Why would you promote privilege? Why would you promote inequality? Why would you promote the accumulation of something that, inherently, has no value?

It just bugs me. Come on, David, really? Really? After barely peeking into the public sphere for a decade, this is what you choose to do?

But, hey, whatever. You’re just a rock star. Nothing more.