[Stupid Idea Series] mythoconsumer & Re: Vacation!

Dave Long (dl@silcom.com)
Tue, 24 Aug 1999 22:08:09 -0700

I suppose it would be silly to expect the primary relationship for
consumer brands to be "vendor-consumer". If brand execs are willing
to pay for the touchy feely stuff, we should sell them Campbellian/
Voglerian analyses on how to position their products as heralds,
allies, and gatekeepers for a mythic consumer-hero.

. . .

> First you have to prove to me that dominance
> is a transitive relation

Painter's French Chivalry[1] gives an example of a sort of failure
of transitivity. Apparently the Normans, but not other Franks,
saw the benefits of WIDative properties.

> Suppose for instance that a baron had twenty knightly vassals.
> His overlord was a count who had as his vassals twenty barons.
> In many parts of France these two nobles would find themselves
> with equal feudal levies. In short, while in some advanced feudal
> states such as the duchy of Normandy a vassal's military
> obligation to his lord was proportionate with the size of his
> fief, in most districts each fief no matter how important owed the
> service of a single knight. Even in Normandy the baron's
> obligation to the duke was unlikely to represent more than a fifth
> of his actual military resources. The eleventh-century baron who
> possessed a strong castle and a fair-sized band of vassals could
> often defy his lord with comparative impunity. If he was unable
> to resist his lord's host in the field, he could retire to his
> castle. As feudal levies served only for a limited time, usually
> forty days, a reasonably strong castle was practically impregnable.


[1] Now, if the development of the armored knight meant that only
those who controlled sufficient landed property[2] to field knights
had any political power, and the development of gunpowder meant that
all those who could fire a rifle could acquire political power, how
should we expect political power to be divided in an age when
military forces are reckoned in carrier groups and stealth bombers?

[2] The measure of land was called a knight's fee; it seems to have been
about 800-1600 acres, depending upon the quality of the land. So
supporting a single knight probably took revenues on the order of
USD millions a year, when scaled to the current economy.