Monday, June 27, 2005

FUCKING SHIT IT'S HOT IN MY OFFICE!

- Monday, Bloody Monday: I come in to work today, AC is broken and, for some reason, all my emails in my work-related Outlook Express are gone. That’s hundreds of emails that I pretty much NEED... it's fucking insanely hot in here. Fuck.

- Random Crap: Random crap about Random Rap.

- Real World: I missed the Real World premier on Tuesday night, but caught the re-run on Sunday. Peep Byron Crawford’s Real World redux if you missed it. While you’re there, peep his Cassidy review. Shit’s funny.

- Album Covers Appropriated for Ad Purposes: Presumably inspired by the Nike ad that bites this Minor Threat cover, David put me onto this tom foolery. People who get all up in arms about this type of corporate appropriation seem to me be a bit off-base. My basic thoughts about this type of shit are as follows:

    As "sad" and "disgusting" as this is (which it certainly is to some degree), I think it's more productive to realize that it's symptomatic of how the culture industry appropriates, co-opts, and markets, all for the sole purpose of accruing capital. Of course, that don't make it "right" (nor does it necessarily make it "wrong"), but it is a reality.

    It's just symptomatic of something much larger at play: the logic of marketing and late capitalism.

    It's pretty much why I think "Roger and Me" is a stupid movie (though totally entertaining). Michael Moore is making these corporate big wigs out to be the enemy, as if the problem(s) with capitalism is(are) that a couple bad apple CEOs are just mean and heartless bad guys or something. Uh, no, dude. This is the logic of capitalism. This is how the world works. Cheaper labor equals more profit. So, if you can go to Mexico to get cheaper labor, holler. Morality doesn't come into play here. Capitalism is by its very nature amoral.

    In other words, don't hate the player (Nike), hate the game (good ol' capitalism).


Some dude got all up in arms when I posted these thoughts on a messageboard and tried to call me out for encouraging “complacency” with my argument. His words are italicized, mine aren’t:

    How is it "productive" to a) simply accept an existing reality, and b) render it neither "right" nor "wrong"? The idea of productivity is that something is actually produced. All I see produced in your model is complacency.

    Who the heck is talking about “accepting an existing reality” and being “complacent”? What I’m calling for is simply a more accurate realization of the forces that drive our world. If anything, the “Fuck Nike for this!” shit is more complacent then what I’m calling for because it allows for a totally inaccurate scape-goating—as if Nike and a few other companies are the only ones that are “inauthentically appropriating subcultures” for capital, and that if they were just a little bit more socially-conscious or respectful or something, then it’d all be hunky-dory. Heck no! This shit happens all the fucking time—it’s what the fuck marketing is based on. All I’m talking about here is understanding that it’s not about over-simplilfying and scape-goating companies like Nike and Scion for some sort of “inauthentic appropriation” for the sole purpose of making money. If we want our actions to have any lasting impact on the world, we need to understand that this is the system that we live in and the system drives the logic. Of course people make up a system which makes up people which makes up the system on and on and on forever, but to individualize the “problem” like this is, to me, what I find to be “wholly unproductive.”

    Saying there is “something much larger at play: the logic of marketing and late capitalism” is like saying that there is "something larger at play" when killers kill people. Sure, ok, whatever, there probably is something larger at play- cultural devaluation of human life, broken homes, the logic of late capitalism- but none of this means we can't or shouldn't judge and hold individual or collective actors responsible for their actions.

    Who is saying you “shouldn’t or can’t hold individual or collective actors responsible for their actions”? Certainly not me. All I’m trying to shed some light on is that this type of marketing is not a unique phenomenon and is just plain ol’ “marketing.” Now, suddenly people care because an album they like is being de-valued by Nike or something and I’m just trying to say “Woah, hold your horses. This shit happens literally ALL THE FUCKING TIME” and it’s way too easy to just sit back and say “Dude, fuck Nike for pimping Dischord like that!”

    To say “don't hate the player (Nike), hate the game (good ol' capitalism)” is nonsense. The players are what make a game. If you hate the game, don't play. If you do play, expect to be hated.

    Pray tell, how can one “not play” this game? There is no space outside of capitalism. You can move to a commune and never buy anything again or something like that, but that’s not exactly affecting much is it?

    I’m not calling for any sort of complacency. I just think some of the folks commenting here aren’t being realistic about how these things work, and I find it much more important to understand that there is a systematic logic present here. Nike ads like this aren’t an anomaly.


I’m not claiming to have any real answers here on how to “buck the system,” and the only reason I posted this lil’ exchange is not to illustrate that I won an argument or anything. But I do find that a lot of people respond adversely to my line of thinking that isn’t afraid to suggest that individual actions probably aren’t going to be enough to really “buck the system.” Surely, people are the ones that make-up the system, but any “solution” is going to be an extremely complicated one because we are all necessarily complicit in the system at all times. As far as I’m concerned, there truly is no space “outside” of capitalism and thus, any “solution,” that is based on finding a space “outside” is not a solution at all.

-e

2 Comments:

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Paz said...

I've not heard the phrasing "a space outside of capitalism" before. But, like you, I can't really conceive of such a space. I feel like capitalism is a natural 'default setting' of human interaction, and all the constructs intended to sidestep this setting have so far failed.

hmm - that's a lot to think about.

 
At 7:40 AM, Blogger David said...

I love Cassidy!!!

 

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