They were the finest European swords the day, superior to almost any other on the battlefields of the Viking Age. Made from steel no one in Europe would know how to make until the Industrial Revolution. Stronger, more flexible, almost magical in combat, engraved with the mysterious name "+ULFBERH+T" by unknown makers, these swords were the both fearsome weapons and incredibly expensive prestige possessions. Only 171 have every been identified. And no one had made one from start to finish, using only hand tools, for over 900 years. [more inside]
The Brand And Burger Concerto: Luxury And Poverty For All In The U.S.A. Is luxury becoming democratized? Are ostentation and conspicuous consumption not only tolerated now but demanded of anyone but the poorest and least ambitious? As James B.Twitchell, whose well-off father drove a Plymouth, pithily puts it in this adaptation of his book Living It Up: Our Love Affair With Luxury, would you go to a doctor who drove a Plymouth? Well, he confesses he wouldn't. His essay is full of interesting (though perhaps too easily answered) questions. Are time and philantropy really the two remaining luxuries for the truly wealthy? And is it really true almost anyone can now be king for a day or an hour? [I'd add that what he says about the U.S. is even truer of present-day Western Europe, where the stigma previously attached to ostentation was much more powerful among the middle and upper classes than ever it was with rich American WASPs.]
Does this company currently have a PR problem?