Have we advanced to the racket phase already? Juliet Macur on change as rank, unadulterated materialism:

On the sides of buses, inside Metro stations and over the radio, Ikea promotes its home furnishings by proclaiming "Change Begins at Home." In other Metro stations, advertisements using the words "hope" and "optimism" are splashed on walls and pillars -- with the O's replaced by Pepsi logos.

Around town and across the Internet, hope does not come free, and change will cost you.

Amy Fettig, a Washington lawyer who was out last Sunday buying a T-shirt from the Presidential Inaugural Committee's store, said, "America is excited about Obama, so this all makes sense because when Americans want to express their excitement, they turn to merchandising."

Among the Obama yo-yos and piggy banks, Ms. Fettig noticed the $70 tote bags by the designers Diane von Furstenberg and Tory Burch.


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