Code-X (5)
By: Joshua Glenn | Categories: Codebreaking, Semiotics


Call this market/cultural category code: To the Victor Belong the Spoils. Call the category: Premium-ness.

Definition: To the Victor Belong the Spoils coding is about power. You’ve earned the best, and nobody can take it away from you. Brand a means to radiate authority — render your position at the top of the heap unquestionable.


Notes on this code: Authoritative, Powerful (“100% wool. Because the sheep have always done your bidding.”) Use of powerful figures like Gorbachev. Men half-reclining like Roman emperors; alluring women shown wearing jewels presumably given them by their wealthy lovers.

harleys wool



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Joshua Glenn is a cultural and brand semiotician, and co-principal of the agency SEMIOVOX LLC. He is editor and publisher of HILOBROW and the Radium Age sci-fi paperback imprint HILOBOOKS. He is author of (with Mark Kingwell and the cartoonist Seth) THE IDLER'S GLOSSARY (2008) and THE WAGE SLAVE'S GLOSSARY (2011); and he is co-editor of the object-oriented story collections TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY (2007) and SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS (2012). With Elizabeth Foy Larsen and Tony Leone, Josh produced the popular family activities guides UNBORED (2012), UNBORED GAMES (2014), and UNBORED ADVENTURE (2015), not to mention two UNBORED activity kits from MindWare. In the ’00s, Josh was an editor and columnist for the BOSTON GLOBE's IDEAS section; in the ’90s, he published the high-lowbrow zine/journal HERMENAUT. He was born and raised in Boston, where he lives with his wife and sons.