Code-X (6)

By: Joshua Glenn
May 13, 2014


Call this cleaning-products market category code: Less Clean, More Free.

Definition: This code expresses a demand for cleaning power that is gentle — on consumers (e.g., because of allergies and other physical reactions to chemicals) and the environment (pollution). Willingness to give up a certain amount of germ-killing, dirt-removing security in exchange for freedom to enjoy living naturally.

burts bees

* Burt’s Bees bodywash: “How do you get all the nourishing without the not-so-nice?”

Notes on this code: In political terms, this is a reversal of giving up freedoms in exchange for security; reflects a shift from a Bush to an Obama worldview. Also note how the suburban backyard is depicted as a rural meadow; the freedom offered here is not just freedom-to live naturally, but freedom-from urban, even modern life.


In Date Night, Tina Fey plays a controlling suburbanite who learns to let go, embrace life as it happens — though she doesn’t repudiate her suburban lifestyle. She’s just less anxious and uptight, from now on.



MORE SEMIOSIS at HILOBROW: Towards a Cultural Codex | CODE-X series | DOUBLE EXPOSURE Series | CECI EST UNE PIPE series | Star Wars Semiotics | Icon Game | Meet the Semionauts | Show Me the Molecule | Science Fantasy | Inscribed Upon the Body | The Abductive Method | Enter the Samurai | Semionauts at Work | Roland Barthes | Gilles Deleuze | Félix Guattari | Jacques Lacan | Mikhail Bakhtin | Umberto Eco

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Codebreaking, Semiotics

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