In the 1989 movie “Back to the Future Part II,” Michael J. Fox’s character, Marty McFly, wears a pair of Nike brand, self-lacing shoes. Almost thirty years later, Nike announced their “HyperAdapt 1.0” shoes that lace themselves. Is this the latest in conspicuous consumption, a chance for people to show off athletic shoes with no useful purpose other than to advertise that the wearer could buy $700+ sneakers? Let’s ask Michael J. Fox.
Every city seems to have its Martin Luther King Jr Avenue, or Boulevard. It typically is in the most dilapidated part of town. You can draw your own conclusion from that. When Portland renamed Union Avenue to Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard, there was an outcry, claiming that “Union” was part of the city’s heritage, even though no one was able to come up with what the significance of the name was. About the same time as the name change, the city decided to upgrade the desolate avenue, lined with empty stores and decaying buildings. They improved the street, building a shrubbery-lined median along its length. The crown jewel was a brand new, block-long retail strip. It housed several retail businesses, including a café and a Nike outlet store.