"What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca Cola, too. A coke is a coke and no amount of money can get you a better coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the cokes are the same and all the cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it."
- Andy Warhol, artist
So, ya, Andy Warhol was a little peculiar. Umm, okay, a lot peculiar. But this perspective is an interesting one, this idea that maybe we have a lot of things that separate the rich and the poor, but there are certain things that, due to American mass-consumerism, are the exact same for both.
And it's funny how a product can connect you with the wealth you don't have. Stef and I would drink Coke in Africa all of the time, relishing every sip and constantly marveling at how the elixir was the same in Johannesburg as in Pittsburgh. We used 2-ply toilet paper made by the fine folks at Unilever just like we would in the US. We found comfort (right or wrong) in the things that were familiar. And, in context of this quote, we did find some equality in those things as well. I don't completely understand how, but I can tell you that it's true.
To finish the thought, I think Warhol would, if alive today, be seeing end of the relevance of his little quote. Everywhere you turn, more and more products are establishing a luxury line, a selection that allows the rich to feel better about themselves and allows everyone else to covet those things just out of their reach. Perhaps the next thing to fade into oblivion is the time when the rich and poor drank the same Coke.
A Warhol original...