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Home Improvement Photo Gallery

Mr. and Mrs. Average American.

A real industrial propaganda poster from the late 1940s, courtesy of Jonathan Schroeder. It was the time of MORE=BETTER.

Basketry Bottles.

The 19th Century Nootka people of the Pacific Northwest made baskets in the shape of glass bottles.

Electric Koran.

Guliz Ger sends this picture from a shop in the old quarter of Ankara in Turkey. The electric clock is decorated with Koranic verses. The clock is a favorite site for decoration in many parts of the world. In Belize the clock often has scenes from the Bible.

Don’t touch that toilet seat!

We all know that toilet seats are the magical source of pollution and dirt! No amount of cleaning can make them clean and sanitary! Skymall is here to protect you again with a piece of “bacteria resistant” porcelain which will keep your hands unpolluted by that icky thing. The idea that you can get sick from touching a toilet seat is about as scientific as a rabbit’s foot.

Coke is It.

A ceramic tile maker in Kutahya, Turkey, making a wall decoration in "typical Turkish" style - but wait - those are Coke bottles in the pillars on the side! Another contribution by Guliz.

Trophy Head.

The Olmec of ancient Mexico carved giant stone heads of their rulers. Here is one, hopefully a replica, sitting in a front yard in a suburban neighborhood of El Paso, Texas. I took the picture in 1986.

Transcendental Trash.

A decorated trash barrel from a village in Turkey, courtesy of Guliz Ger. The 55-Gallon drum is a global artifact, ubiquitous everywhere.

Poopsie Daisy.

A “toilet pre-spray” which “prevents toilet odors from affecting your environment.”  The advertisement advises you to use three sprays before you go. Why this obsession with toilet cleanliness? Contributed by Rick Stepp.



Barbie Raid.

Turkish advertisement for indoor insecticide dispenser - Johnson Wax uses images of Western nuclear family (note the blonde Barbie on the floor) to sell toxins. Courtesy of Guliz Ger.

Yankee Stadium as Fine Art.

One of the great delights of flying these days is seeing what kind of totally useless and weird consumer goods have appeared in the latest version of the Skymall catalog. They seem to go out of their way to find things no sane person would want if they were shopping at ground level, and could run away. Here for example, a piece of the Hollywood, California sign is being inexplicably offered as an “authentic” piece of New York memorabilia. What was on their minds??

Get a Life.

Jonathan Schroeder sent me this amazing postcard at Arlandastad Outlet Village – “Sweden’s first American Outlet store.”

Yes, you are seeing it correctly. That is indeed a funeral casket imprinted with the Arkansas Razorback football team logo. It seems that some people want to carry devotion to their football team into the next world – after all they spent most Sundays when they were alive thinking about football. It turns out that “themed” funerals are all the rage, and you can get caskets with all kinds of logos and designs – all official and copyright paid of course. Check some out here!!
All over Mexico and Central America you can find small packages including images, sacred objects, and miniature effigies sealed in plastic, which function as sacred amulets, protections, Milagros,tokens of promises made to saints, or other forms of magic. I recently bought one in Texas which is made from a CD, with a saint glued to the front which is made to hang from a rear-view mirror as a protection for truckers. This website includes some good ones, and interprets the contents, and you can order some of them online.

Havana Harry.

Already have a wooden Indian? How about a wooden Cuban cigar-holder? Smokin!

Skymall does it again with the Revolutionary Guillotine Cigar Cutter! What could contradict the spirit of the French revolution better than this gold-plated bauble, which costs almost a hundred dollars and serves no useful purpose except to show how rich, tasteless and stupid the owner is?

Click here to go back to Richard Wilk's Home PageClick HERE for links to other resources on global consumer culture and global environmental issuesA collection of new buzzwords, meaningless but trendy-sounding descriptions of global change.Click HERE to visit Richard Wilk's Course Syllabi and Assignments page.

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Richard Wilk

Anthropology Department

Indiana University Bloomington701 E. Kirkwood Ave. SB 242Bloomington, IN 47405812-855-3901


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