A barn raising in Rainy River District, Ontario, Canada, c. 1900 When I was in 8th grade, all I wanted was a new pair of Umbro soccer shorts. This style is coming back into fashion, so it might be slightly easier to understand the desire today. But my adult self has been baffled for some time by the ardency of that 8th grade desire. It had nothing to do with utility or beauty. I didn’t play soccer, and these shorts were not beautiful. They were pure signifier: of means, of ability to use those means to knit myself solidly into the status quo.
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