Osama bin Laden Cigarette Lighter: Novelty Products as Congealed Culture

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What can you say about a cigarette lighter that projects an image of Osama bin Laden?

Except, that it provides more evidence that novelty products are the place where the most frightening conceptions of culture coalesce. Forget Milan and its multiple takes on what we would like to be. It’s objects from the periphery where we see what we really are. The bargain bucket at the toy shop, knock-offs on the market stall, gift shop detritus … these are the places where plastic is moulded into objects that hybridise the contemporary condition faster than we can comprehend. So fast, its hard to describe them, or work out quite what they mean.

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