CHAPTER 8Symbolism and Cultural ValuesWho Are We?

A symbol is something specific that typically stands for something more abstract. Examples might be the smiley face (happiness), the Hells Angels motorcycle patch (outlaw), the dove (peace), the diagonal bar (“do not”), or the written word. The products of industry are also symbolic. They are specific, and rightly or wrongly, we assume that they convey a message about the owner. Consider what products such as the Chevrolet Corvette, the Birkenstock sandal, the erectile dysfunction pill, the skateboard, the espresso machine, and the assault rifle say to us about their owners. Rightly or wrongly, I assume that people I see in a grocery store who bring their own bags to take their purchases home ...

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