Came across a review article on things by Jessica Helfand of Design Observer, taking in Perec, Dr Seuss, Buy Nothing Day, the Addams Family, Sherry Turkle's Evocative Objects, and other, ahem, things too numerous for a half-awake blogger to mention. Just in time for the Christmas season.
In George Perec's first novel Things, published in 1965, the protagonists are a pair of disillusioned dropouts who are quickly revived when they join the (then-newly minted) field of market research — a choice that ultimately traps them in a kind of closed loop of consumer greed. It's easy to perceive this story as a fictional depiction of bourgeois culture (the characters become puppets in a modern retelling of an ancient parable, proving that no good ever comes of wanting too much) when, in point of fact, Perec's narrative is stunningly, even disturbingly accurate as a modern-day portrayal of capitalist greed.
The rest here.