Robert Horning has developed a substantial body of work in PopMatters' music reviews, concerts, film, and TV sections. You may have also seen his writing in Time Out New York and Skyscraper. In his PopMatters column, "Marginal Utility", Rob bridges the abstract and concrete aspects of consumerism. As we all know, consumerism is a popular topic with theorists, sociologists, and historical analysts that hang out in university offices and corporate conference rooms. Lest you think his column might read like an excerpt from an academic text, you will find that Rob's writing is as grounded and approachable as an everyday trip to the grocery store. Rob has a BA and MA in English Literature and was working on a dissertation for a PhD, but grew less interested in the subject matter of his study (18th century commercial fiction and book reviews), and found himself drawn to the stuff he was reading from outside the field: social theory, economics works, and sociology. That research, and his continued interest in it, is what generates his solid background knowledge for "Marginal Utility" and informs his music reviews.