Tuesday, July 03, 2007
a new survey asserts! a new survey asserts!
Walter Benjamin writes somewhere that the philosopher lives under the sign of the intellect, as the prostitute lives under the sign of sex. The popularity of books such as those by Slavoj Žižek suggests that the bourgeois consumer often feels he lives under the sign of his mysterious pathology.
The consumer base in this country consists predominantly of a single class of petty functionaries, who, though they do not own the means of production, are permitted to call themselves bourgeois, or, if they are not permitted to speak, may feel ashamed in the name of the bourgeoisie. Their leaders have followed their gods in ceasing to speak to them directly. Their society is dominated topographically by capitalism and culturally by hearsay.
The vogue for a repackaged psychoanalysis, a psychanalysis cut into bits and redistributed through magazines, surely derives from the bourgeois consumer's horror and fascination with his own image as it appears distorted in the commodity spectacle. Ceaseless pronouncements on the abstract necessity of every aspect of his life, along with the miserable condition of this life, undoubtedly suggests to him that it is his own psyche, the centre of his universe, that is in really riddled with neuroses.
Capitalist mass culture, though hegemonic, is nearly always presented as something subsidiary, or marginal, as if some alternative existed. This ersatz marginality derives from its reproduction through the commodity system. Life is seen to circulate around an absent dominant. The counterpart of this discourse in topography is airport architecture: transit without destination. The reproduction of social roles tends also to the reproduction of marginality. There is no reason for these roles to be consistant with a conscious totality of life. Society takes on the character of the workplace. The psychoneurotic imagination serves to compliment and otherwise explain life as an endless series of preludes to living.
(intertitles for a silent film)