Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Society of the Spectacle, Chapter 3

 Chapter 3: Unity and Division Within Appearance


The subject of this chapter is false divisions within the spectacle, such as the realm of political contests; also markets [I infer this, the struggle of corporations, brands, etc. He will later in this chapter refer to the epic struggle of commodities with each other]. The impact of the developed-world spectacle, as exported to the developing world [parts of the film Learning from Ladakh spring to mind]. The banalization of the world, repressive pseudo-enjoyment, etc.

Even dissatisfaction becomes a commodity:

"The smug acceptance of what exists can also merge with purely spectacular rebellion: this reflects the simple fact that dissatisfaction itself became a commodity as soon as economic abundance could extend production to the processing of such raw materials." (#59)

The role of celebrities as "agents of the spectacle."  Division of labor: everyone is engaged in only partial production, so they need the life of the celebrity to believe in, fantasize about; to live out aspects of life that the rest can never experience. The rule of things (commodities) (#62) which are youthful, have contests, lives that are more real than those of the humans who live vicariously through them. The concentrated spectacle of totalitarianism, vs. the diffuse spectacle of advanced capitalism. The epic struggle of commodities; but every star or celebrity, every commodity, once it wins, has lost, because it will now be disavowed and denied by the spectacle which continues with the new star, the new commodity. This is "the essential poverty of the commodity" (that it loses its value once bought; this is also linked to "the misery of its production").


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