Did You Say Bizarre?
Sex, The Last Thirty Years
JULIET FLOWER MacCANNELL
Rorty and the Orchids
It is no surprise that Coke was first introduced as a medicine - its strange taste does not seem to provide any particular satisfaction, it is not directly pleasing and endearing; however, it is precisely as such, as transcending any immediate use-value (like water, beer or wine, which definitely do quench our thirst or produce the desired effect of satisfied calm), that Coke functions as the direct embodiment of "IT," of the pure surplus of enjoyment over standard satisfactions, of the mysterious and elusive X we are all after in our compulsive consumption of merchandise. The unexpected result of this feature is not that, since Coke does not satisfy any concrete need, we drink it only as a supplement, after some other drink has satisfied our substantial need - it is rather this very superfluous character that makes our thirst for Coke all the more insatiable: as Jacques-Alain Miller put it succinctly, Coke has the paradoxical property that, the more you drink it, the more you get thirsty, the greater the need to drink more of it - with its strange bittersweet taste, our thirst is never effectively quenched. So, when, some years ago, the publicity motto for Coke was "Coke, that's IT!" we should discern in it the entire ambiguity: "that's it" precisely insofar as that's NEVER effectively IT, precisely insofar as every satisfaction opens up a gap of "I want MORE!"
Olav Westphalen, Drawing, ink on paper, 1998
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