ed halmagyi table talk
IN food, like all cultural paradigms, fashions come and go. Some will inspire, while others simply entertain. But the most interesting part about fashions and trends is not their substance, that’s only temporary. Rather, it is the reasons why some ideas gain traction while others do not.
Cultural philosopher Malcolm Gladwell proposed an intriguing architecture for analysing the stickiness of trends, arguing that for a fashion to extend beyond its innovator, three distinct personality types need to become involved – connectors, mavens and salespeople.
The first group have the capacity to bring together broad swathes of disparate groups, a task made simpler in our era of social media. The second faction are the knowledge owners, informing the conversation around the central theme with relevant observations that can craft an environment ripe for influence. The last set are those who transform a concept shared among elite style-avatars to something far broader by convincing large chunks of our population that the idea is relevant to them as well. This can take some time, but it is the crucial last step. Gladwell is a brilliant ‘people‘ people-person’, an author who possesses a deep and profoun profound understanding of human behaviour. But there is, in my opinion, one key element missing from his approach – the role of shared history. For ideas to really grab hold they must sp speak at some level to th the collective experience that the community has felt, whether at the level of national identity, or the cultural level like an ‘esprit de co corps’. For trends bu build on trends. We ma may not always see this growth, but it is ever present. For who we ar are, and will become, is alwa always a product of who we hav have been, individually, and tog together.
Some will inspire, while others simply entertain