“SLUGXURY – The Manifesto” by Aidan Gabriel


The Manifesto

Pogo stick propaganda written by Aidan Gabriel
With editing assistance from Duncan H.

It has been three months since I released my debut trick pogo video, SLUGXURY. Within our pogo community it is not common for people to write manifestos explaining their cinematic creations. However, there is a deeper sentiment I have tried to convey with this project. I have since discovered that a pogo stick video is perhaps an inefficient way to articulate a revolutionary potential. In an effort to rescue the point from obscurity, here I am writing yet another manifesto. 

The opinions contained in these pages are my own. It is undeniable that I have been inspired by books n’shit. I just don’t want to imply that these opinions are shared by other members of the extreme pogo sticking community, my friends at Allpogo or Reaper Pogo, or by my friend Earl who is featured prominently in the SLUGXURY film. I am also not speaking on behalf of the Edgewater Mutual Aid Network Creative Collective. 

I felt strongly that the video SLUGXURY was the best vehicle at my disposal to share what I’ve witnessed in the little nook of reality I inhabit. I believe networks of extreme pogo practitioners showcase powerful community tools with the potential to innovate human experience. This particular spectacle of community potential exists within a global social structure which incentivises people to relate to one another through established institutions and markets. 

In the extreme pogo sticking subculture, we see one example of people supporting their pursuits through community. We witness how this manner of engaging with others results in the unfettering of human ingenuity and allows us to reimagine what we have at our disposal to create with. This essay uses the lens of luxury good production as a familiar realm of creation where we can explore this reservoir of abundance. 

In order to explain this point quickly, I will need to make some brutal generalizations. I have chosen some loaded terms to tell this tale that many hold with great reverence. Pardon the swing of my rhetorical machete as I hack away at any nuance. Please note that fancy phrases such as “Capitalistic, Hobbesian, Liberal, etc.” are simply used to expedite our exposition. In most cases, I’m attempting to reflect the in-group understandings of the words as used within their respective academic disciplines. It is true that while operating under these definitions, I have no real pedigreed authority regarding any of these respective traditions. This is honestly a status I relish with pleasure. You have been warned – I will be ballsy with the retronyms.

Luxury is something understood through experience. When we say something is a luxury item, we are usually implying that the article will be more well made, more functional, or more enjoyable to use than a ‘run of the mill’ alternative. All of these are determinations made by engaging with, studying, or utilizing the article which is to be understood as luxurious. 

The way I see it, luxury items in our society exist in a state of elite capture. It’s likely most people would not outright disagree with this position, but its strength is probably due to how vague it is. What is it that we mean by capture? What is that we mean by elite? 

By capture, I mean that the majority of luxury items purchased and owned are by people who perceive themselves as members of the “elite” within global society. As we will show later, the result of this trend is an outsized influence on the design and production of luxury items in the future. 

For the term “elite,” I am a fan of Jo Freeman’s understanding of the word as described in her 1972 essay The Tyranny of Structurelessness. Jo Freeman defines this term in a larger discussion around how groups of people will always create social structures, regardless of whether formal channels of communication and decision making exist.

“A structured group always has a formal structure, and may also have an informal one. An unstructured group always has an informal, or covert, structure. It is this informal structure, particularly in unstructured groups, which forms the basis for elites… Correctly, an elite refers to a small group of people who have power over a larger group of which they are part, usually without direct responsibility to that larger group, and often without their knowledge or consent. A person becomes an elitist by being part of, or advocating, the rule by such a small group, whether or not that individual is well-known or not known at all.”

We live in a capitalistic society (more on this later). Since the people with most of the influence in our global society are generally those that have a shit load of money, our global “Elite” social structures are usually comprised of individuals such as this. It is not my belief that there is a single definitive social group of financial elites on this planet. However, I do believe that the multiplicity of these social circles generally hold overlapping values, opinions, and desires in most cases -most of the time.  

Yet elitist is a yucky word, and most people don’t enjoy feeling like a dick by taking more from others than they are willing to give. Majority of people want to be liked by others and feel good about themselves. Thus if you are a member of this Elite, it appears as if there are two general justifications for perpetuating this capture depending on whether the perspective is primarily liberal or conservative. The conservative being a ‘Thomas Hobbesian’ style justification, and the liberal being a ‘Jean-Jaques Rousseauian’ style justification. These two justifications are not mutually exclusive, and are often blended as they manifest in the minds of self perceived fancy individuals. But these justifications are both essential to propping up the elite capture of luxury in whatever form they bloom. I’ll explain later why I believe neither of them really hold water. First, let’s take a dip into both for arguments sake. 

The first, the Hobbesian, is a lot easier to grasp. Life is a competition. “It’s mine because I have it.” If one wants to add a spiritual boost to this belief system they can lean into a prosperity gospel interpretation of reality, “if God didn’t want me to have it, he wouldn’t have given it to me.”

The Rousseauian argument accepts, “Well, of course an educated person knows that things are more complicated than that.” The more liberal sensibility follows that luxury goods are the product of complex societies, and that luxury goods exist as proof of how successful our systems of production are. In our global society, most of our material wants and needs are commodified. This argument erroneously conflaits luxury and progress, because producing better versions of commonly available goods is seen as an improvement by definition. 

If one starts to feel guilty once they realize they are an outsized consumer of luxury goods in a world where many others struggle to survive, this perspective allows for a couple of simple workarounds to avoid any associated discomfort.

We cannot help that we live in a complex society. Most people’s casual understanding is that complex societies naturally require some sort of hierarchy to organize themselves. It follows under this Rousseauian perspective that yes, poverty may be the result of complex societies, but complex societies are necessary to produce the refined blessings that many of us take for granted today. Yes, there may be some individuals who consume a disproportionate amount of luxury goods compared to others. One of these disproportionate consumers may point out that many luxurious things have become available to a much wider swath of society today than they were historically. It’s cheaper and easier to enjoy items such as cell phones, air conditioning, cars, etc, than it has been in the past.

The different manifestations of this Rousseauian angle facilitate the development of what I’ve come to refer to as a “Shepherd Complex.” There are other dynamics within market economies that lend themselves to the development of this complex as well. 

Because most luxury goods are sold in markets, and luxury goods by definition offer a heightened, more extravagant user experience than a hypothetical standard version, they’re almost always more expensive. Even brands that offer products for cheaper still usually drop limited releases to maintain exclusivity, which simply adds a single layer of abstraction in the pricing trends until these goods reach the secondary resale market. While luxury items are purchased by everyone in society, a disproportionate amount of luxury goods are still purchased by individuals who have significantly more money than others.

For context, let’s take a quick digression into the existing state of luxury markets as understood by the industry professionals themselves. A Boston Consulting Group and ALTGAMMA study from 2023 surveyed 12,000 respondents on their purchasing habits relating to personal luxury goods (clothes, accessories, jewelry, watches, perfumes, cosmetics, etc) and experiential luxury goods (hotels, restaurants, wine, spirits, etc). This study focussed largely on the consumption habits of true luxury consumers, for reasons that you can probably figure out over the course of our discussion. 

Aspirational luxury Consumers and true luxury consumers are industry terms for the two general categories of people purchasing lux items. Aspirational luxury consumers make up well over 90% of this consumer base. They tend to purchase items that are on sale, items that are priced lower in a brand’s portfolio of goods, and they usually make their purchases when they have extra disposable income. True luxury consumers are the individuals who will purchase items at pretty much any price point, at pretty much any time.

True luxury consumers in the BCG study were found to account for approximately 20 million of the 370 million total global luxury consumers, which is about 5.4% of purchasers in these markets. These True luxury consumers account for 40% percent of global luxury purchases, with the average True luxury consumer spending ~39,000 € a year on these august wares. The reader may be able to anticipate the general level of personal wealth required to fall into this category of individual.

Since having access to a user experience is how we develop opinions on that experience, and since collecting a large set of opinions relating to different experiences is how we decide what we like and don’t like, those with enough money to collect a lot of luxury experiences are going to develop more “taste” for them than those who do not have the same level of access. It is true that one can read about or study luxury items, or see photographs of an item to gain an understanding of their essence from a distance. However, people who engage with luxury items in this manner will always be comparing and contrasting the opinions of others. Those who try to develop expertise through these methods will only have an abstracted glimpse of a product until they themselves have had access to the particular luxury in question. 

Those fortunate enough to have the frequent access required to develop taste will likely appreciate more of the nuance and intricacies of these items, simply because of the sheer amount of luxury items they have at their disposal to compare and contrast. This appreciation for the details and intricacy of these goods may lead to the bias that because many without access do not appreciate their nuances, the products deserve to be owned by somebody who already understands them as a luxury item. There is almost a cosmic justice that reveals itself! Through these mental gymnastics, one takes on the role of a steward, a caretaker, a shepherd of luxury for the rest of humankind. 

Both the liberal and conservative justifications lead to the increased social attraction to these items due to the association of luxury consumption and being a member of the financial elite. This enforces a positive feedback loop that narrows design constraints on our societies portfolio of luxury goods. Those designing the goods will take into consideration those who can afford to purchase them, and their consumer preferences and values. If a luxury good is designed or marketed in a way that makes it appear accessible to everybody, the good in question will have a hard time demanding a luxury item price, which will affect the product’s ability to materially remain a luxury item. 

The aforementioned 2023 Boston Consulting Group report indicates just how outsized these purchases of luxury goods by the ultra wealthy are when compared to aspirational consumers. However, it is not just the amount of purchases by the ultra wealthy that reinforces designing luxury goods with elite consumers predominantly in mind. 

This BCG study finds that these true luxury consumers are not only important because of their disproportionate amount of goods purchased, but they are more predictable and loyal consumers. Aspirational luxury consumer purchasing habits are much more likely to be curtailed by periods of global economic hardship. They are more likely to shop around and make their purchases based on the value they believe they’re getting for their money. Not only does catering your product to the desires of the ultra wealthy provide a higher return on investment, but a more stable and predictable one.

When these products appear to members of society as being manufactured with a particular class of individual in mind, the result plays into a feedback loop which reinforces the perception that the opinions and preferences of this wealthier social class are receiving preferential treatment. Since market trends cause the brands that manufacture these goods to cater their expressions of luxury to the wealthiest consumers, this conflation of luxury and elite status also reinforces the ingroup elite justifications for hoarding access to luxury goods in an economic manner in addition to a social one. 

In school as young children, many of us are taught about supply and demand. We are told that if there is higher demand for a product, people will respond to market incentives and attempt to make more of that product if possible. Since members of the elite are perceived as consuming the most luxury goods, many in elite ingroups will perceive that they themselves are the reason luxury goods are created within this dynamic. This also contributes to the “shepherd complex” of financial elites who have socially captured luxury.

We’ve discussed how members of the elite are able to see the development of luxury goods as the pinnacle of quality generated by markets, and we’ve outlined how it’s possible to frame these market tendencies as one of the drivers of progress in a society. Through this framework, one can see how the elite could believe their consumption of luxury goods is a fundamental force for progress in society due to supply and demand. 

The problem is, both the liberal elite and conservative elite justifications rely on fundamentally incorrect assumptions about reality.  

To the conservative elite, sorry but we do not live in Leviathan. While some people are preoccupied with their own self interests, there are plenty of examples that show people are capable of working together for mutual interest without being coerced. Additionally, no man is an island, and humans have always required each other to succeed at any noticeable scale. The most successful financial sharks have almost assuredly found a way to leverage the physical, creative, or care labor of others. If the reader can find a single example of a billionaire (in US$) who has personally created every component part pertaining to whatever product or service made them rich, I pinky promise that I will get a tattoo of that billionaire’s face. 

Not only is it impossible to produce the levels of wealth required to be a true luxury consumer in isolation, the markets that generate the revenue required to purchase luxury items are inherently formed through social relations.  

This idea is a large part of why I included The Conquest Of Bread audio clips about luxury in the video, because of the book’s emphasis on community and collaborative development of luxury, and Kropotkins acknowledgement that people have always found incentives to work towards common interest.  

If there are any individuals who still cling to the prosperity gospel interpretation of reality, I don’t think giving up your faith in a higher power is required to see that this is a deeply self-serving interpretation of a very long and super old book. I would recommend reading what it’s believed Jesus of Nazareth explicitly said about the poor and the rich, as well as his opinions on authority if you’re a fan of the bible. To name drop another old Russian dude who was getting spicy in the 1890s, The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy goes pretty hard.

The Liberal Perspective relies on the assumption that complex societies require hierarchy with counterpoint extremes. The problem is, there is no evidence in the anthropological, archaeological, or ethnographic record that indicates large complex societies require relegating large amounts of people into poverty. There is in fact evidence indicating that at different points in history, humans have been able to develop large complex societies without institutionalized suffering as a fundamental prerequisite. There is also evidence which shows humans are capable of creating complex organizations and supply chains without permanent hierarchies of control and coercion. 

This is a large part of the reason I included The Dawn of Everything audiobook quote, because the book is largely a discussion on these exact misunderstandings. The specific part of the book sampled is a window into one of these lost worlds where the traditional narrative of complex society development does not fit with the evidence. 

Just because our society has achieved certain advances through financial technologies associated with capitalism, which are currently being supported by neoliberal state policy, that doesn’t mean these models of production are the only way to achieve advancements in technology. It also doesn’t mean that they are the best way for humanity to progress. The fact that they have been used to facilitate human ingenuity does not mean that the harms they create are justifiable, because there is a lot of information available which indicates these harms are not necessary for complex societies to advance. 

To further poke holes in the Rousseuian justification, the expertise in luxury required to maintain the Shepherd Complex within this system of production is only supported by a functional monopoly on access to developing taste. If we lived in a different society organized around something other than the capacity to accumulate capital, this monopoly on taste would either not exist or be the territory of another group of elites. The taste monopoly is only maintained due to the social and financial access constraints that restrict the acquisition of luxury experiences, as we have previously described. This same logic follows for the supply and demand forces which help drive the shepherd complex as well, in the sense that there is nothing essentially “natural” or “inevitable” about them outside of a market economy. 

Since the point of this essay/manifesto/rant is a discussion around strategies of human creation, there is something I think I need to clarify – creating more things is not automatically a good thing. There is a strong correlation between the amount consumed by a particular group of people and the negative environmental effects externalized by that group of people. Perhaps some readers might interpret me as arguing on behalf of consumerism. However, our argument is concerned with luxury consumption, not total consumption. 

Within a capitalistic society, most financial incentives encourage the manufacture of more units that can be sold with less production costs, since higher production costs can hurt an investor’s bottom line. Corporations need to attempt to increase their profit each quarter in order to keep shareholders happy. If shareholders believe management is acting against their short or long term interests, they can sue the executives (Dodge v. Ford Motor Co. (Mich. 1919)). Not to mention, many executives of corporations receive their compensation in company stock, or have their compensation dependent on increasing the price of stock. It is also worth noting that the board of directors for most publicly traded corporations get to choose who they hire as their executive leadership. The members of this board of directors are generally elected by the majority shareholders of the corporation, who have usually acquired majority shares with the intention of turning a profit on their investment.

It is not really possible to make the priorities of an enterprise to be both making a product as best as it can possibly be made, and for the enterprise to make exponentially increasing profit every quarter. Higher quality goods usually require higher quality materials and more labor, which are expensive. These things can only really be claimed as mutual priorities if you’ve already convinced yourself that making more and more profit is required to make nice things, which does not actually seem to be the case once one investigates reality. 

The longer a product lasts, the less likely it is that previous consumers will need to purchase another updated model. Making a product that functions too well for too long reduces the number of people who might want to buy it again in the future. The InstantPot ownership and financing saga is an interesting example of this phenomenon, as are the rising instances of planned obsolescence with commonly purchased goods such as smartphones, washing machines, etc. 

Call me naive, but because of these trends, I do not think there’s an inherent contradiction here between wanting more access to luxury and wanting to decrease unnecessary consumption. Consider what might happen if our understanding of what is considered luxury expands beyond what we perceive as luxury in a capitalistic society, and if the parameters considered when designing products are directed by the communities that need the products instead of shareholders. Many people might be willing to consume less cheap shitty items if people have access to more high quality items.

It is not simply our argument that if the production of luxury goods did not exist in a state of elite capture, then more individuals would be able to share the existing amount of luxury goods. It is our argument that the capture of luxury production by financial elites limits the total amount and creative range of luxury goods that a society can produce. 

In capitalistic societies, those who perform more of the act of “capitalism” tend to fare better than those who do not. That is, taking a chunk of profit generated from some productive enterprise, and directing it towards another productive enterprise. Most people just call this “investing.”

Because of this little life hack, most of the people with most of the money in the world are people who could be described as “capitalists”. However, if capital is simply money directed towards a productive enterprise, then spending money on luxury goods gives you less capital to perform capitalism with. Thus, the more luxury goods a capitalist purchases, the worse of a capitalist they are. The less luxury goods a capitalist purchases and the more of their money directed towards productive enterprise, the better of a capitalist they are.

So, if luxury item access is greater to those who perform capitalism, but capitalists threaten their access to luxurious experiences by spending too much money on them, then it appears we have some inherent logical friction in this financial situationship. 

One historical example that elaborates on this point, is how common it was for slaveholders in the antebellum south to be burdened by crippling financial debt. Yes, many of them were rich in terms of land ownership and in the amount of human lives they were allowed by the law to own and abuse. However, social norms dictated that they uphold a certain perception of this wealth in order to retain access to the social milieu and networks required to own and trade in f*cking human beings. In order to uphold this status, they needed cash. Slave holders often borrowed against their “assets” in order to get money from the bank. To an extent, this still occurs today. If you want people to do business with you, you need to uphold the perception that you are a successful business person. Elon Musk might be screwed if Tesla goes under (***Allegedly***).

Another way capitalistic society limits the development of luxury items is that if taste is necessary to design, limiting the access for those who can develop taste to the very few with elite experiences, then it seems obvious that the range of perspectives that inform luxury design will be limited as well. 

Luxury is something that is experienced, so those with similar sets of experiences will have similar ideas of what is considered luxury, while ignoring definitions of luxury that do not align with their own understandings and experiences. This in theory will seriously limit the diversity of luxury design. We’ve also touched on related dynamics that reduce creative capacity of luxury goods in our earlier discussions on the “Shepherd Complex.” Market forces require maintaining the social perspective of luxury as exclusive. This limits design novelty to ideas that reinforce the existing paradigms of what is already considered by the general public to be exclusive, and through forms and functions that affirm true luxury consumer biases about how luxury should be expressed. 

Additionally, there’s the Pyotr Kropotkin argument that increased access to luxury goods will allow for more of the producers who make the products to use them. Having the experience with the product will likely inform the ways they think about the design. If a multitude of individuals in a similar position are allowed to cooperatively work on developing and manufacturing new versions of these luxury items, then Kropotkin thinks we have a recipe for more creative and informed craftsmanship. A community centered approach to production also allows for easier sharing of care, creative, and physical labor amongst individuals. This not only gives people involved in the production an even wider understanding of the products and their manufacture, but a more intimate understanding of the production methods environmental, social, and economic externalities. 

So let’s take a step back from all the theoretical debate and talk about how all this relates to the extreme pogo sticking community. That was allegedly the point of all this discussion, right? The reason I have spent so many pages musing upon luxury production, is that I am convinced that the development of the pogo stick used in the SLUGXURY film is a near perfect example of a community developed luxury item.

Once upon a time there were a number of competing pogo stick companies that were owned by individuals who had started or acquired them because they thought pogo sticking was very fun. Legends in the community such as Ian Britt, founder of Vurtego pogo sticks. Or Irwin Arginsky, the developer of the short lived yet trailblazing GG stick. Irwin was also a previous owner of another pogo stick company that will remain unnamed, due to the fact I’m about to talk a bunch of shit about them.

In 2015, two individuals acquired this unnamed pogo company and used a 4.3 million dollar loan and over 1.5 million dollars from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to move their facilities to New Jersey. Most astute readers will recognize this sort of play as a form of “investing.” 

This company then purchased the aforementioned Vurtego pogo sticks, acquiring what was a smaller, specialty pogo stick company that they viewed as a competitor. Without going into too much detail, this mega pogo stick company then started cutting some serious corners in the production and customer support of the products they created. This eventually culminated in the discontinuing of the most commonly available pogo stick used for “Tech” style trick pogo. This was because new management mistakenly identified it as a competing product to other the sticks they sell, due to their debilitating lack of extreme pogo expertise. 

The new owners and operators of the company in question do not associate with extreme pogo stickers and largely ignore them. They do not follow trends in extreme pogo whatsoever. It is obvious to all serious members of the community that these individuals’ primary concern is a return on their investment, not fostering and pushing the bounds of an action sport or cultivating a community of people who love it. 

Some of this is also due to trends in generalized commodity production, and is not specific to the particular pair of smooth brains largely despised by all those who are nice with the bounce. Moving more product out the door is how you make more money. Consequently, if the public image regarding the products that you sell caters to adrenaline junkies or young neurodiverse adults, it will not appear to the typical consumer that you sell a typical children toy. 

It is a market fact that because pogo sticks are commonly understood to be a children’s toy, the largest quantity of product will be purchased by adults who want to buy a fun and relatively safe toy for their children. This has led to a strange feedback loop where the company that manufactures almost all the extreme pogo sticks in the world has a financial incentive to pretend like they don’t make extreme pogo sticks.

Yet out of the ashes from this gross negligence of steez comes the single best steel spring pogo stick to ever battle gravity.

A man named Earl Pote has spent the vast majority of his life honing his pogo chops and is almost certainly one of the best to ever do it. Having spent fifteen years myself studying and practicing the specific tradition of “tech” pogo, I am comfortable saying there has never been a more talented and dedicated tech pogo athlete. For the uninitiated, tech pogo is basically doing technical, low airtime tricks on a classic steel spring stick. Honestly, this level of nuance is not really necessary to understanding the forces at play here. But hey, you’re the one reading an anti-capitalist manifesto basing its central defense around an internet community obsessed with a children’s toy. You got yourself into this mess. 

Earl is also now a close buddy of mine, so admittedly it feels a little strange talking about him like he is a specimen in a jar. However, because I believe his existence is a foundational part of my core argument, I’ll follow through with my analysis and just apologize later if it makes him uncomfy. 

Earl is a loving father and husband. He is also a US Air Force Veteran, and Union Boilermaker. He has been pogo sticking since 2002, and is an incredibly skilled welder. As a unionized worker, he has been able to collectively bargain for financial compensation that is proportional to his skill and dedication to his craft. Since he receives what he rightfully deserves for maintaining the infrastructure we all currently need in order to operate society, he has been able to direct some of his earnings towards starting a pogo stick company out of his garage called Reaper Pogo. 

A Reaper pogo stick is built by hand out of structural aluminum that Earl has specifically chosen based on weight, gauge, and strength parameters. He has studied every type of rubber, plastic, and adhesives commercially available to craft tips and bushings that have the exact strength and friction requirements needed to withstand the extreme forces his sticks are exposed to by serious competitors. I watched this man spend years of his life searching for a company that would build a steel spring that had the exact coil count per inch, steel composition, and tension specifications that he desired. He then has these springs put through multiple custom heat treatments and “ball peen fired” exposures. He has designed the angles of the pegs and handlebars in order to execute tricks that he himself has created – which nobody else in the world can even land. He’s gone so far as to develop a custom brass bushing to hold the bolt perfectly snug to the shaft so there’s not even a millimeter of play or wiggle while doing complex static trick combos. It is a pogo stick that is so perfectly designed and executed that there are only a couple dozen people in the world who can even comprehend its excellence. 

Earl did not start building these pogo sticks because he wanted to turn a profit, if fact that might never occur. Earl builds these sticks because he loves pogo sticks and wants to share his skills and expertise with other people who feel the same way. He sells them for a price that is as accessible as it can be for a community of people who share his passion for bounce, which is a price that does not reflect the dozens of hours required to build each stick. He has spent years testing his designs and has been courteous enough to allow other members of the pogo community to help him in this effort. 

This is the primary reason you hear Pyotr Kropotyns writings on luxury in the background of SLUGXURY as the film cuts to different shots of Earl building the stick. I firmly believe that Earl is evidence of Kropotkyn’s argument that those who are excellent at using a product have particular expertise that those who build a product do not often have. The manifestation of Reaper Pogo is proof that if society allows people to diversify the way they contribute labor to the world and gain well rounded experiences through using, designing, and creating a product, the resulting developments will make your butt pucker. 

While Earl builds these sticks almost entirely by himself and with his own hands, there is a hidden element of community support that I think Kropotyn would point out as well. Earl’s participation in organized union labor has given him a lot of the financial capacity to pursue this endeavor. While Earl is a serious force in the development of tech pogo tricks, he himself would most likely point out that many of the tricks he considered when designing the sticks have been developed by other members of the pogo community. There is a part of the Reaper stick called an “Upper Pass” that was 3D printed by another legendary pogo sticker, Fred Grzybowski. Much of the artwork for the Reaper pogo was designed by other bOz bois such as Nick McClintock and Bryan Pognant. The web presence of Allpogo, largely developed by Ryan O’Malley, has been a key component of the Reaper rollout. Will Weiner and other members of the Xpogo organization have been very supportive of the project as well. As previously mentioned, the sticks and their component parts have been tested by other pogo experts in addition to Earl. Nick McClintock, Michael Mena, Fred Grzybowski, and myself have all tried our very best to beat the things to shit and put them through the ringer. 

The Reaper pogo stick is a luxury good. It’s higher quality, provides a better user experience, lasts longer, and has an increased capacity to do the things pogo sticks are supposed to do. It is a luxury good that does not resonate with what most members of the elite would consider to be a necessary luxury good based on their experiences. It is not a luxury good that was manifested into the world because of widespread consumer demand, it’s been brought into existence by members of a community that needed it to exist. This is a very particular kind of luxury good that I’ve come to refer to as a slugxury good.

 In many ways, slugxury is the answer to the crisis of imagination described in the essay up until this point. Slugury is a truly luxurious experience, but one that cannot be mass manufactured. Slugxury goods arise from communities of people that have cultivated a practice that cannot be understood without being a community member. The good itself can be transferred and sold like other commodities, but anyone who is only willing to purchase them as a stock commodity will never be able to comprehend the depths of luxury there to behold. The ‘taste’ required to comprehend the glory of true slugxury cannot be achieved in isolation. It requires conscientization and self awareness to understand where the material meets the moment. While often based around a product that can be transferred from one person to another, A truly slugxurious experience cannot be purchased as a kit or a complete set. Slugxury must be achieved through community, practice, and trust. 

Each experience of slugxury is understood at the individual level and cannot be replicated. An individual acquires a product through some channel, but cannot unlock the depths of its slugxury without the keys to its understanding, passed on through the culture of a community. There is an unknown abundance of potential slugxury goods, because nobody is aware of how every item can be used, enjoyed, or improved upon. This type of exploration must start at the intersection of the individual and the product, but will always be limited without the multiplying power offered by various perspectives in community discourse. 

Items that are conventional luxury goods can also be slugxury goods, but may be so without being understood as such. Products only understood as luxuries are predominantly acquired through purchase. They are advertised as luxurious, which requires acknowledgement of this understanding through broad cultural consensus. Slugxurious goods can be generated out of what previously has been understood to be mundane, as the affirmation of this status occurs through diverse perspectives and individual exploration. Once the potential slugxuriousness of an item has been recognized through individual discovery, it can be brought to fruition through community tinkering. 

In this way, everyone can be a producer of slugxury if they are supported in this production by others. An individual can have many experiences with slugxury goods as they can find communities to support. There are as many radiant multitudes of possible slugxury goods as there are people on this planet, multiplied by however many communities those individuals could be a part of. The limits of luxury are material and economic, the limits to slugxury are only social and exist in the imagination.