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I was going to walk away from the Radiohead/Aqua thing, because it didn’t seem particularly important, but I had a quick look at the Ridinghood site, where Sebastiaan has been giving it a bit more thought and it raises for me a few questions I can’t answer on my own.

Namely:

How can something that affects the musical environment of millions of people NOT have cultural significance? What is this thing you call culture?

Must art be representational?

History is the only significant variable in aesthetics?!

Please explain.

And to answer the question about what ‘fake plastic’ might be – I think it’s called hendiadys in literary criticism. These are Oxford boys, after all – perhaps they’re just being clever with words by introducing redundancies for added effect.

However, if it makes you more comfortable, put a comma between the two words in the phrase ‘fake, plastic trees’. That removes all of the linguistic problems that an overly literal reading of the title would introduce.

But actually, perhaps ironically, fake plastic is polyvinyl chloride – which is what they used to make Barbie dolls out of in the 1950s, and which collectors are now having problems with, because they’re starting to get sticky on the outside and leak a chemical substance resembling estrogen. Apparently, it’s causing havoc with the developmental progress of people who play with them (as if the toys themselves weren’t doing that enough by themselves).

These days, of course, they use real plastic instead. :)