Liking Is for Cowards, Go for What Hurts

Liking Is for Cowards, Go for What Hurts

In Jonathan Franzen’s essay: ‘Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts’(2011), he talks about the problem with actual love in our modern ‘techno-consumerist’- society. Franzen starts out by describing the almost infatuated love he has had throughout the years for new gadgets. He considers his ‘relationship’ to his old Blackberry as having been almost like the sort of relationship you would normally have to another person. Furthermore he points out, that our technology has become extremely adept at creating products that correspond to our fantasy ideal of an erotic relationship. To support this statement he draws attention to the fact that the word ‘sexy’ almost always is used to describe the latest gadgets on the market. Our beloved gadgets don’t ask for anything, but they always obey our smallest winks -instantly. These sexy gadgets substitute the natural and real world, that’s indifferent to our wishes and personal needs. Problematic, Franzen thinks. A related phenomenon is the commodification of love. If you love somebody you should buy stuff for them, whether that would be diamonds as a symbol of your everlasting love or an automobile for Christmas as a symbol of your big wallet. Another nauseating tendency is Facebook and the verb ‘to like.’ To like something on Facebook – and in general, is like a commercial substitute for loving. I must say, as a frequent Facebook user I am embarrassed. There is this term of abuse, a ‘likehunter’ that is being used about a person who is obviously posting things on their profile to receive ‘likes’ from others. The more likes you have, the more popular you are. In relation to the Facebook-conflict Franzen point out that all consumer products – this includes gadgets, devices and applications - are designed to be immensely likeable. These gadgets and fancy devices are created to reflect their owner. If you have the latest gadgets it immediately says something about who you are as a person. But as Franzen points out, if you...

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