It’s Not Just Stuff

So Shawn Blanc wrote a thoughtful post today on stuff.
He starts his post responding to Dustin Curtis, where Dustin explains how people don’t buy computers because of their specs anymore. People select computers because of how they define them. Like cars.
Shawn “generally agrees” with Dustin, but explains how you really need to look beyond the physical “stuff” someone owns to really understand who they are and what they value.
This is true. People are more than their stuff. But it’s not just stuff. Stuff is but one facet of a person, but stuff can be a very important facet.
Shawn intimately understands how important stuff can be as the creator and curator of Tools & Toys, a site which describes itself as, “a collection of items for the pickiest of gadget geeks, software aficionados, snowboard junkies, music lovers, writers, coffee nuts, and all around collectors of fine paraphernalia.”
Shawn strikes me as the kind of guy who’s very selective with his purchases. Someone who might not have tons of amazing products lying around his home. Maybe just a few well-made, possibly expensive items he thought long and hard about before he bought because what he buys is going to stay with him for a long time. I can respect a man who spends his money thoughtfully.
The thing is, assholes can have great taste in stuff too. There’s lots of assholes carrying iPhones out there. There’s lots of assholes carrying Android phones too. This is why stuff and a person’s taste in it is but one facet that defines him or her. Who you are is a constellation of characteristics.
My wife loves our dog. Loves it to death. Every now and then, when she’s in the midst of smothering the little guy with kisses I like to ask her if someone offered her a million dollars for the dog, if she’d give it up and every time she says, “Never.”
So yes, I get it. In the face of what’s really important, the stuff fades away.
After our dog (and I think me), my wife loves fashion. She loves fashion and probably knows more about it than most people. Regardless, she’d kindly give up her Manolo Blahnik heels she bought for our wedding, or one of her Diane von Furstenberg dresses. The same way I’d give up my signed Shepard Fairey poster of Iggy Pop or my collection of Emigre magazines from the 80’s and 90’s.
But make no mistake. It’s never just stuff.