Monday, November 30, 2009

The Television Event Everybody Will Be Talking About

Around the water cooler
"Did you see Idol last night?" ... "Can you believe the Pats went for it on 4th and 2?" ... "It turns out Lost jumped the shark in season one, but none of us noticed!" ... Small talk and Monday morning quaterbacking around the water cooler are hardly human interaction. Although an utterance of, "There was nothing good on TV last night so I read this book in which the author says we no longer directly live, but experience a false representation of life through an endless succession of spectacles," might be met with a slightly more authentic form of human contact: the blank stare.*

"The spectacle is not a collection of images; it is a social relation between people that is mediated by images."

* The Blank Stare, once the weapon of sardons and malcontented comedians, (see: Bill Hicks,) has matriculated into common use and been commodified by the spectacle to punctuate and soften irony. A goofy "just kidding!" sung after every "insult," (see: Jon Stewart.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Alienated Production

Child labor
This child is not making a soccer ball for himself. He is making a commodity of a thousand soccer balls. Somewhere along the line he may have the opportunity to own or play with one of these balls, but he only benefits from a very small portion of the value of his surplus production. Most of these soccer balls will be utilized by the children of other alienated workers in far away lands.

"[A]lienated consumption has become just as much a duty for the masses as alienated production. The society's entire sold labor has become a total commodity whose constant turnover must be maintained at all cost. To accomplish this, this total commodity has to be returned in fragmented form to fragmented individuals who are completely cut off from the overall operation of the productive forces."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Spectacular Improvement: Home and Garden DIY

Home Improvement
Home buyers expect an updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops. And a master suite with plenty of space. And a tiled bathroom. And don't cheap out on the fixtures!

"The spectacle ... is the omnipresent affirmation of the choices that have already been made in the sphere of production and in the consumption implied by that production."