>queer 'gear' mentality among Americans<
I'm primarily referring to the fascination so many have for gadgets. The iPhone5, iPadx, the latest 24MP digital camera with those various accessories, or the most scary-looking firearm with the 50-round magazine - the list goes on and on.
Apparently, re that 'grandma gear' fetish, you've led a sheltered existence? Good if true. But I link 'gear' fetishes with the gadget fascinations; the phenomenae may be more than just a "lure of the 'new' and 'different'," and something deeper psychologically.
Marketing hype hooks into this psychological opening?
That gadget fascination falls into the influence of marketing industry hype. There are a number of threads in a couple of forums where I have to defend my use low tech/KISS principle/doing stuff myself etc. People have the attitude that there is something terribly wrong with doing something in a way that you have to think and/or know how things work and/or do it your self or just not have the latest,greatest fanciest etc....
I have an old wooden boat, people can't imagine why I go to all the trouble to varnish....my boat is a piece of artwork, beauty takes work (though not much if you keep up on it, MAINTAIN is the route of the word maintenance.
When I make something I often receive something I haven't figured out is an insult or compliment. People see something really nice I have made and say "Where did you get that" is that because they think I am not capable of such work, or the quality is "professional"
One nice thing about the salesman that convince the people who can afford it that they NEED the lates, greatest, fanciest.....that some really nice stuff goes on the used market for us poor sailors. Example......Radar was one of those things I figured I would get "someday...maybe".......it was waaaay down on my list of priorities. Someone got the latest greatest color display radar w/built in GPS.......he sold his SL-72plus RaYMarine, which he never got around to installing in the first place ..... complete radar, for $125