Expressive individualism is thus the ideal context in which the mode of life as appearing can take hold. Here what matters about the products we buy is not their use value but their sign value. We do not buy a car simply for the purpose of getting from one place to another. Rather, we buy a particular make or style of car so that in driving it we will project a desired image. I don't actually have to be an outdoorsman or a Hollywood starlet to participate in the look by driving a four-wheel-drive sport utility vehicle or a convertible roadster. What has happened here is the elevation of the sign, image, or style above reality or substance. Given suitable attire and props (and funds!), we can share in the look of any identity without participating in the discipline of relationships that would make it real. We live in what the French theorist Guy Debord called the "society of the spectacle."
- Norman Wirzba, Living the Sabbath