On Canal Street in New York City, there are series of plastic stores. They sell basically anything made of plastic.
I’m intrigued by these stores because they challenge the traditional grouping process we use for categorizing and separating goods into different stores. Almost always, stores sell items that are useful for a related type of use or endeavor — hardware stores, home appliance stores, book stores and wine stores are all good examples. Plastic stores are interesting because they sell items that can be used for wide variety of things but are made of a common material. Dollar stores are another example of store that employs an atypical type of product selection process in a different way.
The existence of these stores inspires me to think of other ways to sort and justify goods and behaviors more generally. The process can be insightful and funny.
I’ve been thinking a lot about copyright and piracy recently and the different justifications or arguments against piracy. Most people say that piracy is about principle or a larger economic business model but I think it would be fun to think of it as dependent on things like theme and content. For example, one might argue that it is alright to pirate movies if and only if they are about pirates. If you think about the way that content affects society’s interaction and feelings of ownership in regards to intellectual goods, it’s (slightly) less ridiculous than it might initially seem.