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kipple: a definition

An excerpt from  used as a test to paste content into WordPress.

Kipple is all the useless stuff we collect over time that starts filling up our rooms, houses and eventually our lives. The term “kipple” was first introduced by science fiction author Terry Carr, but it became widely known with the release of Philip K. Dick’s 1968 masterpiece Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – the book that became the movie Blade Runner.

The best explanation for what “kipple” is can be found in a conversation between two of the characters in the book:

Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers of yesterday’s homeopape. When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there’s twice as much of it. It always gets more and more.

To the character J.R. Isadore, kipple was the enemy. To Philip K. Dick it was a symbol of entropy and consumerism – a clever allegory to illustrate how people are filling their lives with junk rather than substance. But is kipple really so bad?

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Show me your kipple and I’ll tell you who you are

To me, kipple is more than just a symbol of a consumer culture gone amok. If you think about it, our kipple (or lack thereof) is a reflection of who we are. Look around you and notice all the useless stuff you surround yourself with, whether at home, at work or in your car. In many ways all this stuff, your constantly growing pile of kipple, helps define you as a person different from all other persons. Your kipple is part of your identity; it defines you.

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Every piece of kipple has a story

Over the years I have collected a lot of kipple, some of it for functional value, some of it purely sentimental. One of my growing kipple piles is my collection of cameras. When I put them all together in the same place it is hard not to ask myself why I keep them – after all I only use one or two on a daily basis. But there is something safe and familiar about them all and they each have a story to tell. In truth when I look at all my cameras it’s like leafing through a photo album. Each item works as a memory anchor, keeping a constant reference to times and events long gone. Not all the stories are worth telling, but together they summarize and reference many of the important events of my life. Without the kipple, the memories of these events would likely drift away into obscurity like leaves of paper on a stormy sea. So in an attempt to preserve some of my history for posterity and share with the world the virtues of kipple, I have created this web site where I will share with you some of my kipple and the stories they anchor to.

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