What is Hollywood, you ask, dear children? A quorum of whores babbling endlessly on about fucking while the bordello is razed for a penny arcade -- Paul Bern

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Yeah, let's build a smarter planet! I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but I feel smarter just thinking it. 

The diffusion of class antagonism into a pneumatic system which must maintain an optimal PSI, as though constrained by some law of statics. This pressure is maintained through the auguries of necromancers, that is, professional economists, and a relentless variety of exhortatory propaganda which is like catnip for the educated classes.

Every citizen in good standing knows in her private marrows that she must consume the widgets produced by others so that those strangers in solidarity, in their turn may purchase the widgets that she produces. Widgets being defined as those rather useless images of currency, icons, transmissible software, what the ancients called dreams -- that were once sluggish, "hard" economic goods.

Their uselessness is in fact their virtue, because economic activity is far more frenzied when it is fundamentally irrational. For example: a maker of chairs in a village, as a rational economic actor, would determine the net amount of chairs needed by his village, allow for attrition and set his prices and rate of production accordingly. In this way, he would have a sustainable livelihood. Now his modern counterpart would have no interest in sustainability or rational economic activity; he would understand that he was trading in images, and that in a system where everyone was compelled (as if by black magic) to consume, he only has to be an excellent marketer. Because, there being no necessity for anything but CONSUMPTION, the object of consumption is accidental. In this limited way, consumption and production are poetic, almost surrealist endeavors. (in parenthesis: the equivalent of the Mad Chair Maker in cultural production would be the theorist, of course)

The neo-capitalist citizen also intuitively realizes that, like the feudal lord of old, the relative increase of one's own wealth requires a positive distribution of that wealth (as a Veblenist potlatch) over the greatest area (in the way of "goods" and "services") that also serve to indicate one's status. In this eternal cold war, the things we buy are the medals and merits we earn for our wounds. Thus a satisfactory sort of community is enacted through masochistic bondage.

We can conceive this modern commune as a series of overlapping feudal kingdoms where all people are simultaneously both lords and serfs in the system of spectacular production. For this reason we can't help but heroize demigods like Berlusconi or Murdoch. They are us, but to a far greater degree, they who must bind themselves over completely in their service to the spectacle. They are the ultimate patriots of the spectacle, as they have the least leisure of any.

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