Empty Wishes from Model Neighbors

Happy Holidays from the Hilfigers.  An ad presented as a seasonal greeting card could easily find a home on the mantle.  Of course, including this image among the cards of real families would be farcical.  The Hilfigers are models, actors, guns for hire.  They’ve been paid to represent a family.  Yet that representation contains some farce in and of itself.

Tommy Hilfiger ad: Family on ski trip.

One hears the word family more often these days in connection with big business.  From our family to yours; the so-and-so family of companies, et cetera.  Is this a marketing strategy for embedding brand names in the American psyche or simply an unconscious expression of materialism, possibly even greed?  After all, the term family values rose to prominence during a time of unprecedented corporate malfeasance and remains as popular today as it is vague.

Lodged between the desires of individuals and the agendas of companies, families seem least likely to survive the power struggle.  Although visions of family life influence our decisions, those visions are probably unrealistic, vestiges of the nuclear family, or, a household devoid of grandparents or grandchildren where people have fixed roles that last into perpetuity.

The Hilfigers may or may not hold a place in our imaginations, but assembled as such, they do appeal to our sense of personal identity.  The expression of each family member looks natural.  For a moment we forget the staging involved.  Yet something tedious unites this motley clan.  Is it the Hilfiger motif of red, white, and blue?  Or the latent aura of vanity that emanates from any given photo shoot?  In the foreground, two basset hounds look elsewhere, merely enduring their masters.


Tommy Hilfiger ad: Family on ski trip.
Chilling: The Hilfiger Family

Author: Todd Garlington

Urban spectator, Inner space cadet

4 thoughts

  1. Elegantly written as usual Mr. Garlington. I am an appreciator of your prose and the message you poignantly deliver. Albeit, I never was a fan of this “Designer” (more like chicanerist haberdasher), even still, it is appropriately noted that the ubiquity of terms in such cases are abused for free-market plunder of the subconscious.

    -Tommy jacked the collective stream. (Just a little bit)

    There should be consensus & concern for how the algorithm of meaning and lauded words defining base human virtues are being abstracted and diffused. While the English language is perpetually in expansion, the degeneration of words loaded with significance i.e. “Family” are subtly distorted in the name of hackneyed, archain fashions and thus perpetuates a loss of the impact these words come to represent in our collective minds. Simply put, meaning becomes gradually lost.

    The “unprecedented corporate malfeasance” you unabashedly describe, hath shamelessly run amok. With that said… Don’t take it out on the Basset Hounds nor the Beagles of Alps for that matter. They are the innocent ones working for mere Hilfiger biscuits and their collective asses must be freezing on that family ice.

    -MM-

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